Bears pound 17 hits in 9-4 win at Saint Louis
The Missouri State baseball team tied a season-high with 17 hits and turned those into nine runs in a 9-4 non-conference victory at Saint Louis Wednesday afternoon in St. Louis.
MSU improved to 27-13 with the win, getting to 14 games over the .500 mark for the first time since the end of the 2003 season. SLU fell to 18-21.
In addition to the solid offensive output, reliever Jon Barnes pitched the longest outing of his career, tossing 4.1 scoreless innings in relief of J.C. Casey to improve to 1-1 on the season.
The Bears put runners on the corners with one out in the third after singles from Josh Mazzola and Aaron Conway and a Dallas Hord sacrifice. Ben Woodbury drove Mazzola home with a sac fly for the game’s first run, Brayden Drake hit an RBI single and Ben Carlson followed with a single down the right field line, advancing Drake to third before the MSU third baseman scored on an error by SLU’s right fielder, giving the Bears a 3-0 lead.
The Billikens cut the lead to a run in the bottom of the frame after Greg Rodgers smacked a two-run double, and took their first lead in the fourth on another two-run double, this time off the bat of Zach Outman to make the score 4-3.
The score shifted back in MSU’s favor for good in the top of the fifth. Carlson tied it with an RBI single that scored Dallas Hord, and Chris Playter singled home Drake for a 5-4 lead.
Ryan Mantle opened the sixth with a walk and Mazzola doubled to get two runners in scoring position with no outs. Hord drove in Mantle with a sacrifice fly and Woodbury singled in Mazzola with two outs to get the lead back to three runs at 7-4.
Carlson hammered the first pitch of the seventh inning over the right field wall for his 13th home run of the year. The long ball increased his season RBI total to 50 as well, making him the first 50-RBI player for Missouri State since Tony Piazza drove in 55 in 2003. Matt Welch followed that with a single, stole second and scored on a Mantle single to give the Bears a 9-4 lead.
Conway, Carlson, Mantle and Mazzola all recorded three-hit days for the offense.
Earlier on Wednesday, the league office selected Carlson as the Prairie Farms/Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Week. Carlson carries a 3.9 GPA in business and is the reigning MVC Player of the Week.
The Bears return home Friday at 7 p.m. to begin a three-game set with Illinois State.