Bears battle back but fall to Mizzou

A pair of two-out, three-run Mizzou rallies came home to haunt Missouri State Tuesday evening, as the Tigers halted the Bears’ 10-game home win streak with an 8-6 decision at Hammons Field.

After the Bears mounted back-to-back two-run rallies in the fifth and sixth frames to take a 6-5 lead, the Tigers scored three times in the seventh after MSU reliever Jake Fromson retired the first two hitters of the inning. Chad McDaniel’s liner to left brought in both the tying and go-ahead runs, before a pinch double from Cade Bormet plated a third run in the inning.

From there, Mizzou reliever Jordan Gubelman (1-0) stifled the Missouri State offense, retiring the first nine Bears he faced after taking over in the sixth. The right-hander shut down MSU’s rally in that inning, recording the first of his four strikeouts—and one of a season-high 14 strikeouts by Bears hitters—to strand runners on the corners. He then breezed through seventh and eighth innings and set down the first two MSU hitters in the ninth before issuing a walk to Matt Brown, the only Bear to reach against the junior.

The Tigers (24-9) withstood a valiant comeback effort that saw the Bears erase an early four-run deficit behind scoring rallies in fourth consecutive innings. Jeremy Eierman‘s two-out double put the Bears on the board in the third, before another two-out hit—this one from Jack Duffy—plated another run in the fourth.

MSU (22-8), which dropped its first game at Hammons Field since March 10, fought back with two more tallies in the fifth on Brown’s chopper through the left side. Duffy singled again to lead off the sixth, moved into scoring position on a wild pitch, then raced home with the equalizing run when Hunter Steinmetz beat a two-out routine ground ball to the right side. Eierman followed with his second hit of the night to put runners on the corners, and Drew Millas laced the first pitch he saw into right for the go-ahead RBI single.

But Fromson (2-1) ran into trouble in the seventh, plunking Zach Hanna with a two-strike offering to give the Tigers new life. Alex Samples came through with his second hit of the game, before McDaniel’s key double put MU on top to stay.

The second three-run rally of the night for the visitors followed a big first inning that saw the Tigers grab a three-run lead after MSU starter Austin Knight quickly dispatched the first two MU hitters of the game. The senior right-hander narrowly missed on a full-count offering to Brian Sharp, setting off a string of six consecutive Tiger batters reaching safely. Brett Bond followed with a double down the left field line, and Hanna put MU on the board with a two-run single through the right side of the Bears’ infield. Samples followed suit, lifting a soft liner to left-center that fell in for an RBI double and a 3-0 Tiger advantage.

MU starting pitcher Tyler LaPlante was in control early, allowing just a one-out single to Ben Whetstone in the second the first time through the MSU lineup. The junior fanned four of the first nine Bears he faced before Steinmetz drew a two-out walk to set up Eierman’s run-scoring double in the third.

Fromson turned in his longest outing of the season, holding the Tigers scoreless for 4 1/3 innings before MU posted its decisive charge in the seventh.

Steinmetz led MSU’s 10-hit attack, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored and an RBI, while Eierman, Whetstone and Duffy each finished with two-hit efforts as well.

Hanna was one of four MU hitters powering the Tiger lineup with two-hit games, going 2-for-3 with three runs scored and three RBIs.

Up next, the Bears will wrap up their seven-game home stand with a three-game series against another ranked foe, the Oregon State Beavers. MSU and OSU will open the weekend with an 11 a.m., doubleheader on Friday (April 13), before squaring off in a 6:30 p.m. contest Saturday evening at Hammons Field.