Bears close home stand with comeback victory over ORU

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –  Missouri State rallied in the ninth inning to record its second-straight walkoff victory Tuesday afternoon, as Jeremy Eierman trotted home from third with the deciding run on a one-out wild pitch to give the Bears a 6-5 comeback win over Oral Roberts at Hammons Field.

After erasing a 3-0 deficit with a four-run eighth inning, the Bears (9-5) rallied for a second time in the deciding inning, getting a leadoff hit from Brooks Zimmerman to spark the charge. A Sam Faith sacrifice moved the potential tying run into scoring position, before Eierman’s bloop single to center put runners on the corners. Next, Drew Millas came through with his second lead-changing hit of the day, driving an RBI single to left-center to bring in Zimmerman with the equalizing tally.

Ben Whetstone followed by working a walk from ORU closer Kyler Stout (1-1), who misfired on ball four to give Eierman time to scamper home with the deciding run.

The Bears’ sixth come-from-behind victory in 14 games this season was made possible to a four-run seventh that was fueled by a hit batsman and a pinch single from Jordan Fitzpatrick. A two-out walk to Eierman kept the rally alive, allowing Millas to deliver the key blow of the game with his first home run of the season—a screaming three-run laser that cleared the wall in right to turn a two-run deficit into a 4-3 MSU advantage.

ORU would have an answer in the eighth, however, using a pair of walks and Noah Cummings’s two-out, two-run double to leapfrog the Bears and take the lead once again. Connor Sechler (2-1) extinguished another ORU threat in the top of the ninth, striking out a pair of Golden Eagles to keep the Bears within striking distance.

Millas carried the MSU offense with his two clutch hits late in the game, finishing the day 2-for-4 with four RBIs after striking out in his first three trips to the plate. Eierman also registered a pair of hits to go along with runs in each of the Bears’ two scoring rallies and a pair of stolen bases.

ORU (8-6) starter Taylor Varnell dominated the MSU lineup for 4 2/3 innings, striking out eight Bears while allowing just three hits and a pair of walks. In all, the first four ORU hurlers combined to strike out 14 Bears—a season high for a Missouri State opponent.

The Golden Eagles built their three-run lead courtesy of single runs in the first, fourth and fifth innings, led by four different two-hit performances. Both Cummings and Riley Keizor went 2-for-3 with a pair of walks, while Spencer Hanson and Jared Montoya also added two-hit games for ORU.

The Bears will travel to Kansas City Wednesday (March 14) to meet the Iowa Hawkeyes in a 4 p.m. neutral-site contest at the Kansas City Urban Youth Academy.