May 15, 2016
DALLAS -- Missouri State built an early four-run lead, then relied on a career-best performance from Jake Fromson to a stop its five-game losing streak with a 5-3 victory in the final bout of its three-game series with Dallas Baptist Sunday at Horner Ballpark.
In just his second start as a Bear, Fromson (5-1) matched a career high with eight strikeouts, while holding DBU to a single run on five hits over his seven innings of work. Bryan Young extinguished a Patriots rally in the eighth, then wrapped up his ninth save of the season--and the 25th of his MSU career--with a perfect ninth inning.
On the offensive side of the ledger, Justin Paulsen went 2-for-4 and drove in the Bears' fourth and fifth runs of the game, and Hunter Steinmetz matched a personal best with a three-hit performance to lead the MSU attack.
With the victory, the Bears (30-19, 4-13) reached the 30-win mark for the 31st time in the last 37 seasons, while also snapping their nine-game Valley losing streak.
For the third-straight game in the series, Missouri State jumped ahead with a first-inning score, this time using Spencer Johnson's 17th home run of the season to gain the upper hand. After Alex Jefferson drew a one-out walk, Johnson belted the first pitch he saw from DBU starter Jordan Martinson over the wall in left field for a 2-0 Bears lead.
MSU added to its advantage in the second, as Blake Graham powered up to launch his fourth homer of the year to lead off the inning. The Bears then cashed in on three consecutive walks to open the fourth, getting an RBI single to right off the bat of Paulsen to push the margin to four runs.
Fromson would hold the Patriots in check throughout his afternoon, limiting DBU to just two hits through the first six innings. DBU threatened to cut into the Bears' lead in the fourth, as Fromson hit Darick Hall with a one-out offering, then yielded a two-out double to Trooper Reynolds. But the sophomore right-hander rebounded to strike out Matt Duce to escape the inning.
The MVC-leading Patriots (34-16, 13-4 MVC) would engineer their first scoring rally of the game in the seventh, using the first of Jameson Hannah's two singles to get its offense in gear. Duce lined a one-out double to left, and Camden Duzenack put the home club on the board with a base hit through the left side of the MSU infield.
But Fromson would come through in a pinch one final time, striking out pinch hitter Austin Listi for the second out, then inducing a come-backer from Daniel Sweet to preserve a 4-1 cushion.
After Paulsen's RBI double pushed the lead back to four runs in the top half of the eight, DBU took advantage of back-to-back one-out walks in the home half of the inning to mount another rally. Another Hannah single loaded the bases against reliever Sam Perez, before Reynolds coaxed a walk to force home a run.
Young retired Duce on a fly to left that brought home a second DBU run in the inning, but got Duzenack to ground out to first for the final out of the eighth. The junior then breezed through a 1-2-3 ninth, getting Luke Stratman to foul out, before striking out Sweet and retiring David Martinelli on a slow roller to second.
Martinson (2-2) suffered the loss for DBU after allowing four runs on four hits and three walks over his 3.1 innings. Sean Stutzman provided 4 1/3 innings of relief, holding the Bears to one run on three hits.
Up next, Missouri State will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., Tuesday (May 17) for its final non-conference contest of the season against Arkansas. First pitch from Baum Stadium is slated for 6:35 p.m.