Bears dump top-seeded Shockers in MVC tourney opener, 5-2
Missouri State freshmen Buddy Baumann and Tim Clubb shut down the top-seeded Wichita State Shockers through six relief innings while the Bears’ offense lashed out a dozen hits to spark sixth-seeded MSU past the #14 Shockers 5-2 at Hammons Field in Wednesday evening’s first round of the Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Championship.
The Bears’ win snapped a string of 16 straight Missouri State losses to Wichita State, dating back to 2003, and moved MSU into Thursday’s 3 p.m. second round game against fourth-seeded Evansville. Evansville lost 8-4 to Bradley Wednesday. Regular season champ Wichita State faces Southern Illinois in an elimination game Thursday at 11 a.m. Creighton beat SIU 8-5 Wednesday and will meet Bradley Thursday at 7 p.m.
Missouri State, after losing 20 of its last 23 regular-season games, moved to 23-32 for the year while dropping Wichita State to 46-18. It marked the Bears’ first two-game winning streak since the first week in April. The Bears beat WSU for the first time in eight Hammons Field meetings since Missouri State moved into the new ballpark in 2004, and the overall MSU losing streak to WSU included 14 regular season games and two MVC tourney matchups stretched over five seasons.
The Bears spotted WSU a quick 2-0 lead but roared back through the middle of the game before a crowd of 2,069. The anticipated pitching matchup between staff aces Travis Banwart of Wichita State and Ross Detwiler of Missouri State never materialized as the Bears knocked out Banwart in the sixth after Detwiler had struggled in his brief outing.
Detwiler spotted the Shockers single runs in the first and second. A hit, a hit batsman and two walks plated a tally in the opening frame and WSU added a run in the second on another walk, a sacrifice and an RBI double by Derek Schermerhorn. Detwiler, an all-MVC second team pick with a 2.09 earned run averaged and the league’s second best strikeout total for the season, departed after throwing 75 pitchers over three innings, walking four and allowing four hits.
The Bears got onto the board in the third when Kyle Paul led off with a triple off the wall in right and scored on Ben Carlson’s ground single to right. Missouri State evened the game 2-2 in the fifth when Carlson was hit by a pitch, advanced on a bunt single by Ben Woodbury and a Tanner Mattson sacrifice, and scored on an RBI groundout by Nolan Keane.
Missouri State took charge with a three-run sixth. Josh Mazzola and Matt Lawson opened the inning with singles and both moved up on a Brayden Drake sacrifice. Paul singled in the Bears’ lead run, and, after a Woodbury infield hit loaded the bases, Mattson pounded a two-run single up the middle to make it 5-2 and end the scoring in the contest.
Baumann relieved to open the fourth and gave three hits and no runs while fanning four in four frames. After Bauman walked the leadoff hitter in the WSU eighth, Clubb came in and issued a walk before striking the Shockers’ 4, 5 and 6 hitters in order. Clubb walked the leadoff hitter in the ninth before retiring three in a row to collect his first save of the season. Baumann’s win was his first as a Bear after three losses. All-MVC first team starting pitcher Banwart suffered his fifth loss against nine wins for Wichita State.
Detwiler, Baumann and Clubb combined to strike out 11 WSU hitters while the nine walks issued by the MSU trio contributed to the Shockers’ tournament record 17 runners left on base. Lefthander Baumann’s four-inning stint was his third longest of the season while the righthanded Clubb relieved for only the fourth time after a dozen starting assignments.
Woodbury and Mazzola had three hits each for MSU while Lawson and Paul had two safeties apiece for the Bears. Missouri State, an MVC tourney finalist in 2006 at Wichita, qualified for this year’s tourney by being the host team after tying for eighth place in the nine-team Valley.