Patriots stop Bears’ streak to even series

DALLAS – Behind a 13-hit barrage that included an eight-run, fifth-inning rally, DBU turned the tables on Missouri State for a 12-2 run-rule victory that evened the two clubs’ Missouri Valley Conference series at one game apiece Friday night at Horner Ballpark.

After the Bears (34-15, 17-3 MVC) gashed the Patriots for 13 hits and four home runs in a 9-5 decision that secured a share of the MVC regular-season title in the series opener Thursday, it would be DBU’s turn to crank up its high-powered offense in game two. Led by three-hit performances from Devlin Granberg and Jimmy Glowenke, the Patriots scored three in the third, then broke the game open with the first eight-run rally by a Bears opponent in over four years in the fifth.

Granberg finished the night 3-for-3 with a walk, three runs scored and four RBIs, including three on his critical three-run homer that punctuated DBU’s big fifth inning. In all, the top three hitters in the DBU batting order—Granberg, Jameson Hannah and Glowenke—combined to go 8-for-11 with seven runs scored and eight RBIs in stopping the Bears’ seven-game win streak.

The seven-inning victory for DBU sets up a 2 p.m., series finale Saturday (May 19) that will determine the top seed for next week’s MVC Baseball Championship, which will also be staged at Horner Ballpark. With another win, the Patriots (36-16, 16-4 MVC) would pull even with the Bears in the final Valley standings and earn the No. 1 seed by virtue of a tie-breaker. Conversely, the Bears would clinch the MVC title outright with their 18th conference victory.

Friday’s contest came down to a pair of big Patriot rallies, starting with a three-run burst in the third. Luke Bandy’s leadoff double to left sparked the home club’s first threat of the night, as DBU strung together four hits against MSU starter Logan Wiley (6-5) to seize control of the contest. Granberg’s one-out single plated the game’s first run, before Hannah delivered a double to put two Patriots in scoring position. Next, Glowenke drove in Granberg with an infield single, before Matt Duce’s RBI fielder’s choice grounder to third made it a 3-0 game.

MSU put men on base in each of the first three innings, only to watch DBU starter MD Johnson (7-2) work his way out of trouble each time. The first of John Privitera’s two singles started the game, but Johnson picked Jeremy Eierman off of first, then induced a come-backer to end the inning. Johnson worked around a one-out error with back-to-back strikeouts in the second, then got Eierman on a ground ball to short to end the third.

The Bears broke through in the fourth, as Ben Whetstone singled after Drew Millas was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Jack Duffy’s bouncer to second moved both runners into scoring position, and a walk to Matt Brown loaded the bases. Brooks Zimmerman brought in Millas with a slow roller to short for the first MSU tally of the night.

Logan Geha’s single to start the fifth ultimately led to another Bears’ score, after a Johnson wild pitch and a two-out Millas single to right.

But DBU erupted for eight runs on five hits in the home half of the fifth to put the game on ice. Granberg coaxed a walk to set the wheels in motion, before back-to-back homers by Hannah and Glowenke turned the one-run DBU lead into a 6-2 advantage. After Davis Schwab relieved Wiley and retired the first hitter he faced, a walk to Tim Millard and singles from Cody Funderburk and Garrett Wolforth added another run to DBU’s total. With two out, a balk brought home Funderburk, before Blayne Jones drew a walk and Granberg launched the third Patriot home run of the inning—a three-run shot to right that stretched the margin to nine runs.

A two-out infield single by Bandy plated the 12th DBU run of the night in the sixth, after Glowenke came through with his third consecutive hit to start the inning.

Privitera paced MSU’s offense with two of the Bears’ five hits on the night. Wiley suffered the mound defeat after surrendering six runs on eight hits in his 4.0 innings.