April 4, 2012
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - On the strength of their best offensive performance of the season, the Missouri State Bears completed a two-game sweep of Arkansas State with a 12-5 victory Wednesday afternoon at Hammons Field. Trey Massenberg led MSU's season-best 16-hit attack with a career day at the plate, as the Bears put runs on the board in all but two innings to claim their eighth-straight home win.
Massenberg finished the day 4-for-5 with four runs batted-in, surpassing previous career highs in both categories in leading MSU's offensive onslaught. Keenen Maddox and Luke Voit both delivered their second-consecutive three-hit efforts to finish the series a combined 12-for-17 (.706) with nine runs scored and seven RBIs.
The Bears, who scored in each of the first four innings and all but the fifth and eighth frames overall, overcame early deficits of 1-0 and 2-1 to seize control with six unanswered runs from the second through the fourth innings.
Jake Powers (1-0) made the lead stand, striking out a career-high nine hitters while allowing four runs on eight hits over six innings of work to earn his first win of the season. Freshman Zach Merciez and junior Danny McMurtrey teamed up to close things out, allowing just one run on three hits over the final three frames.
After being held scoreless for the first seven innings of Tuesday's series opener, Arkansas State started quickly Wednesday, plating runs in each of the first two innings. Michael Faulkner led off the game with a single, before moving over to third on a stolen base and a wild pitch and scoring on Ryan Emery's sacrifice fly to right field. Missouri State responded with a run of its own in the home half of the first on Voit's single to center, but ASU took advantage of a lead-off double from Claude Johnson and a bunt single by Alex Potts to reclaim a one-run lead in the second.
Once again, however, the Bears answered back to even the score in the bottom half of the inning, this time courtesy of an Eric Cheray lead-off triple and a Brett Marshall sac fly. The Missouri State offense took off from that point, striking for two runs in the third thanks to singles by Maddox and Massenberg and three consecutive walks--the last two coming with the bases loaded. The Bears got three more in the fourth via a one-out walk to Voit and back-to-back-to-back doubles by Maddox, Massenberg and Brock Chaffin, then scored twice in the sixth to answer the Red Wolves two-run rally in the top half of the inning.
MSU broke the contest wide open in the seventh, as Brent Seifert's two-out walk ignited a three-run rally that pushed the lead to 12-4. Voit singled ahead of run-scoring hits by Maddox and Massenberg that put the game on ice.
In addition to 10 combined hits from Voit, Maddox and Massenberg, the Bears received two-hit games from Cheray (2-for-3), Chaffin (2-for-4) and Kevin Medrano (2-for-5), as well as a season-high two RBIs from Marshall.
Levi Shordon (2-1) took the loss for the Red Wolves after allowing four runs on seven hits over 2 2/3 innings.
Faulkner provided one of the few bright spots for ASU, leading the Red Wolves' 11-hit afternoon with a 3-for-4 effort and a school-record-tying four stolen bases.
For Missouri State (23-8), the win upped their season mark to 11-2 at home, which includes victories in all eight games at Hammons Field since March 17.
Up next, the Bears hit the road for a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series against Bradley this weekend in Peoria. Game time for Friday's series opener at O'Brien Field is set for 6 p.m.