OZARK, Mo. –
Missouri State scored four unanswered runs over a three-inning span and rode a combined one-hit effort from its pitching staff to a 4-1 victory over Drury in the second installment of the 'Battle for Bell' Saturday evening at U.S. Baseball Park.
For the second time in five years, the Bears and Panthers joined forces on the diamond to honor former Bear Howard Bell and continue their ongoing quest to help find a cure for ALS – commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease – with a nine-inning exhibition game. A crowd of 2,650 witnessed shutdown performance by five Missouri State hurlers who combined to hold the Panthers hitless over the game's first 6 2/3 innings. In all, the Bears struck out 11 Panthers and limited DU to just four baserunners on the night.
After scratching out a fifth-inning run to erase a 1-0 deficit, the Bears plated two runs on a two-out wild pitch in the sixth, then extended their lead to three runs on a Drew Millas
home run in the seventh. From there Ty Buckner, Jake Lochner
and Alex Moore
teamed up to retire the final seven DU hitters in succession following Ryan Kayhill's two-out double that accounted for the Panthers' lone hit.
Bucker turned in a dominant effort in his debut as a Bear, striking out five of the seven hitters he faced over 2.0 scoreless frames. The only blemish on the MSU mound performance came courtesy of an unearned run in the fourth that handed the Panthers a brief one-run lead.
Bears starter Dylan Coleman
set the tone for the MSU pitching staff with three perfect innings, including back-to-back strikeouts to end his evening. After Coleman used just 31 pitches to get the game into the fourth, Drury took advantage of a one-out walk from Jake Fromson
and a pair of errors to plate the first run of the night.
Missouri State wasted no time in answering the Panthers' tally, as Ben Whetstone
registered the first of his two hits with a line drive into right-center for the Bears' first safety of the game. The sophomore first baseman swiped second for one of MSU's four steals in the game, then came around on Ryan Skalnik
's sharp single up the middle off DU's Spencer Witherspoon.
The following inning the Bears loaded the bases against DU reliever Tom Tewes via two walks and a hit batsman, before both Hunter Steinmetz
and Jeremy Eierman
came around to score on a two-out wild pitch to give MSU a two-run cushion.
Millas connected for a long solo blast to right-center with one out in the seventh to account for the final margin.
Whetstone finished 2-for-3 with a run scored, while Landan Ruff
drew three walks and scored a run to pace the MSU offense.
The Bears will be back in action Monday (Sept. 25) for a 3 p.m. exhibition contest against the Ontario Blue Jays at Hammons Field.