SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –
Missouri State continued its power surge in Missouri Valley Conference play Sunday, using a trio of home runs and seven quality innings from starting pitcher Doug Still
to extend its perfect league start with a 7-3 victory over Dallas Baptist at Hammons Field.
With the win, MSU secured its first 6-0 MVC start since 2001. The Bears (21-10, 6-0 MVC), who powered up to hit seven homers in the first two games of the series, clubbed three more long balls in the finale to post the first three-game sweep of the Patriots (18-13, 0-3 MVC) by a Valley club in DBU's 23 regular-season league series since joining the conference in 2014.
set the tone early in the contest, staking Still and the Bears to a 2-0 lead in the first with a mammoth two-run clout to straight-way center for his league-leading 12th homer of the season. The junior All-American would add a run-scoring grounder in the seventh, hiking his MVC-leading RBI total to 34 on the season.
The Patriots cut their deficit in half in the fourth on back-to-back, one-out singles by Tim Millard and Garrett Wolforth, but that would be their only offense against Still (4-1). The MSU junior avoided further damage by inducing a fly ball to right and an infield pop-up to strand runners on the corners to preserve the one-run lead.
In the home half of the fourth, Drew Millas
negated the DBU tally with a two-out, RBI single after Jeremy Eierman
walked and swiped second for his seventh steal of the season against DBU starter Jordan Martinson (3-3). The MSU shortstop would factor prominently in a three-run sixth inning for the Bears as well, stretching the Bears' lead to four runs with a towering two-run homer, moments before Aaron Meyer
went deep for the second time in as many days with a solo shot that landed on top of the Bill Rowe Training Facility in right-center field.
led off the seventh with a ringing double into the right field corner, and Justin Paulsen
single to extend his career-best hit streak to 14 games. Burger then chopper a grounder off the pitcher's glove to bring home Steinmetz for a 7-1 MSU bulge.
A pair of freshmen would combine to close out the victory, as Hunter Dame
made his MSU debut to open the eighth, before Alex Moore
took over and worked the final 1 2/3 innings.
Still handcuffed DBU over his 7.0 innings, scattering six hits while matching his career high for strikeouts with eight en route to his fourth mound victory as a Bear.
Eierman capped a memorable weekend by reaching safely in three of his four trips to the plate, going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks and two runs scored while matching Burger's MVC-leading home run total with his sixth-inning bomb. The sophomore went 5-for-9 with a pair of homers in the series and has been arguably the Valley's hottest hitter in MVC play with a .526 batting mark and league-leading totals for homers (5) and RBIs (11).
Missouri State concludes its nine-game home stand Tuesday (April 11) evening with a 6:30 p.m. non-conference tilt against nationally-ranked Arkansas.