April 4, 2015
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Daniel Salters' 13th-inning home run and a shutdown relief performance from Chance Adams propelled Dallas Baptist to a 5-4 victory over Missouri State in the final game of the two clubs' Missouri Valley Conference series at Hammons Field Saturday afternoon.
Salters' solo shot--the Patriots' third of the afternoon--with one out off MSU reliever Andy Cheray (3-3) snapped a string of six straight scoreless innings by the Bears' bullpen and provided Adams all the support he would need to lock down the win for DBU in a contest that took four hours and 35 minutes to complete. Adams (4-0) struck out the first six Bears he faced, then closed out the win by stranding the potential tying and winning runs in scoring position.
The third-straight one-run affair in the series--and the eighth in the 12 meetings of the two teams over the last two seasons--stopped the Bears' (20-8, 4-2 MVC) longest win streak in three years at eight games, marking just their second defeat in 13 games since March 14. MSU, which left a season-high 18 runners on base, had several chances to pull out the victory, but left the bases loaded on three different occasions, including the decisive 13th inning after back-to-back two-out hits by Aaron Meyer and Spencer Johnson put the Bears in a position to sweep the series.
But Adams induced a slow roller to second on the first pitch he threw to Justin Paulsen for the final out of the game, which represented the longest for Missouri State since a 13-inning contest vs. Bradley at the 2012 MVC Championship.
The loss overshadowed a career-best 5 1/3-scorless relief outing from sophomore Alex Jefferson, who entered the contest with the Bears trailing 4-3 two out in the seventh and held a potent DBU lineup to just four hits to give MSU a chance for a comeback win. Tate Matheny's two-out single in the bottom of the eighth helped the cause as well, driving in Joey Hawkins from second after a two-out walk and a wild pitch moved the MSU shortstop into scoring position.
MSU put the potential winning run in scoring position in both the ninth and 10th innings, only to see DBU reliever Brandon Koch squash the scoring threats each time. In the ninth, Jake Burger's two-out double down the right-field line put runners at second and third, but Koch got Matt Fultz to ground out to third to send the game to extra innings. After Dylan Becker drew a leadoff walk and Hawkins moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt, Salters shifted the momentum back in the direction of DBU by gunning down the lead runner at third on a double-steal attempt. Koch escaped the inning moments later by retiring Cory Kay on a liner to right.
From there, Adams seized control by striking out the first six batters he faced before Salters hammered the first offering he saw from Cheray over the right-field wall to give DBU the lead for good. In all, Adams struck out a career-best seven Bears over his 3.0 innings of work.
On the offensive side, Drew Turbin powered the Patriots' 15-hit attack with five hits and a pair of runs scored, coming up just a home run shy of hitting for the cycle only one day after going hitless with five strikeouts. Trooper Reynolds added three hits, including a key sixth-inning homer that gave DBU a 4-2 lead, moments after the Bears plated two runs to slice their deficit to one run.
After holding a lead for a total of just two innings over the first two games of the series, the Patriots jumped on top courtesy of a one-out homer by Tagg Duce in the second. Turbin's second hit of the contest--a triple down the line in right--led to a second DBU tally in the third, as Camden Duzenack brought the runner home with a bouncer to third.
Starting with a bunt single by Turbin, a string of three consecutive two-out hits produced another DBU run in the fifth. Duzenack lined a base hit into left before Justin Wall's single to right plated Turbin for a 3-0 Patriot lead.
While the visitors made the most of their early offensive opportunities, the Bears struggled to take advantage of a touch of wildness displayed by DBU starter Drew Smith, leaving six runners in scoring position and 10 men on base overall through the first four innings. Smith walked the bases loaded in the first only to escape unharmed by coaxing an inning-ending ground ball to second off the bat of Johnson. MSU left two more runners on in the second, then used a leadoff walk to Matheny and a Blake Graham base hit to stage another threat in the third. That chance would dry up as well, thanks to a strikeout and two pop ups on the infield.
The Bears finally broke through against reliever Jay Calhoun in the fifth, using singles by Meyer and Johnson to set up a two-run rally. Meyer scored the Bears' first run on a passed ball, before Burger's RBI grounder to short made it a 3-2 game.
Following Reynolds' second homer of the series in the sixth, Kay unloaded on a Sean Stutzman offering for his first long ball as a Bear in the seventh to draw MSU to within one run once again. Matheny evened the score with his laser-beam into center off Koch in the eighth, and Jefferson kept the Patriots off the board by stranding runners in scoring position in three different innings, including the 12th when Matheny threw out Trevin Sonnier at the plate attempting to score on Chane Lynch's two-out single to center.
Matheny finished 2-for-5 with two walks and an RBI to lead the Bears, while Meyer added two hits and drew a pair of walks. Jefferson's performance, which included three strikeouts, capped a banner week for the MSU bullpen, which allowed just two runs over 15.1 combined innings spanning four games.
Up next, the Bears wrap up their four-game home stand with a 6:35 p.m. game against SEMO Tuesday (April 7) evening at Hammons Field.