Mizzou sweeps season series from Bears

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Fueled by an offensive attack that gashed Missouri State pitching for a season-best nine extra-base hits, Mizzou scored the final eight runs of the night to overcome an early deficit and hand the Bears a 5-2 setback Tuesday evening at Taylor Stadium.

Alex Samples and Chad McDaniel each doubled twice for Mizzou, and Trey Harris hammered an opposite-field, two-run homer to put the Tigers (28-13) on top for good in the fifth inning, before back-to-back run-producing hits hiked the MU lead to 5-2 in the sixth.

After the Bears recorded three of the game’s first four hits, Mizzou would answer with nine of the next 10 hits in building its three-run cushion. In all, the Tigers registered eight doubles—their best single-game total in 11 years—to help lock up their first season sweep of MSU since 2012.

MSU’s only offense occurred in the top of the first, as Hunter Steinmetz drew a leadoff walk and Jeremy Eierman roped a double into the left-field corner to set up the early scoring opportunity. After running into a 3-6-2 double play, Ben Whetstone turned on a Brian Sharp offering and launched his sixth home run of the season to right-center for a 2-0 Bears lead.

But that was all the Bears (25-12) managed against Sharp, who allowed just two more singles—an infield hit by John Privitera in the second and a Landan Ruff base hit in the fifth—over his 5.0 innings. The junior added a 2-for-4 night at the plate to aid his cause in improving to 4-0 on the mound this season.

Bears starting pitcher Ty Buckner (3-4) kept the Tigers in check through the first three innings, and preserved a one-run edge after back-to-back doubles by Chad McDaniel and Chase Bormet put the home club on the board in the fourth. But Sharp’s one-out single the following inning set the stage for Harris’s blast to right-center that flipped the scoreboard in favor of the Tigers.

The Mizzou offense would go back to work in the sixth, using two-baggers by McDaniel and Samples, followed by the first of Berler’s two run-scoring hits. MU added three eighth-inning runs to break the game wide open, as RBI doubles by Berler and Mark Vierling highlighted the rally.

Three MU relievers combined to blank the Bears on just two hits over the final eight innings, led by Bryce Montes de Oca’s 2.0 perfect frames.

Missouri State continues its road swing this weekend with a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series at Bradley at Dozer Park in Peoria, Ill., beginning with a 6 p.m., contest Friday (April 27).