Bears use 11-run fourth to beat Indiana State, 15-6
The Missouri State baseball team sent 17 men to the plate and scored 11 runs in the fourth inning and got two home runs from Josh Mazzola to win its Missouri Valley Conference series opener with Indiana State by a 15-6 score Friday evening at Sycamore Field in Terre Haute, Ind.
Aaron Conway and Ben Woodbury opened the game with back-to-back singles for the Bears to set up Brayden Drake’s RBI single three batters into the game. Indiana State’s Michael Manus retired the next two batters on foul outs before walking Nolan Keane to load the bases, but got the final out only trailing 1-0 after four Bears reached base in the first.
The Sycamores scored four unanswered runs after that, getting a three-run homer from Nick Ciolli in the first and turning a leadoff triple into a run in the third.
Manus retired eight Bears in a row until one out in the fourth when Keane and Ryan Mantle smacked consecutive doubles to push a run across. Mazzola and Chris Playter drew back-to-back walks to load the bases when the skies opened up with a 1-0 count on Conway.
When play resumed 20 minutes later, Manus completed a walk to Conway to force Mantle home and get the score to 4-3, and Woodbury got the lead back with a two-run single to right-center. Drake singled up the middle to bring Conway home, Carlson was hit by a pitch to load the bases again and end Manus’ day after 3.1 innings. Reliever Clay Kovac hit Kyle Paul with his first pitch to force Woodbury home, a wild pitch let Drake score and Keane walked to reload the bases.
Kovac struck out Mantle and got a 2-2 count on Mazzola to get one strike away from ending the frame, but the MSU first baseman hammered a grand slam to left. A hit batter and two walks loaded the bases yet again before the inning ended, but not before the Bears scored 11 runs and sent 17 men to the plate to gain a 12-4 lead. All nine members of the starting lineup scored at least one run in the fourth.
Starter Tim Clubb sat for nearly an hour after the rain delay and MSU’s 11-run inning and showed some rust, allowing three hits and a run to the Sycamores in the fourth make the score 12-5.
Mazzola struck again in the eighth, slugging his second homer of the game and eighth of the season over the trees beyond the left field wall for a 13-5 lead. Indiana State got that run back in the bottom of frame after opening with a single and a double.
The Bears got two more runs on a Keane double in the ninth. With Kyle Paul on first, Keane lined a ball to the wall in right that Ciolli fielded and threw into the MSU dugout, letting both runners score.
Clubb completed eight innings for the Bears, throwing at least seven innings for the seventh consecutive start and moving his record to 8-0 on the season.
MSU improved to 31-14 overall and 14-5 in the league, while ISU fell to 13-27 and 6-10 in MVC play.
Game two of the series is Saturday at noon (CT).