Bears knocked out of NCAA regionals in late night pitchers duel

Tennessee Tech rode the left arm of Alex Hursey to a 2-1 victory over Missouri State Sunday evening at Swayze Field, ending the Bears’ NCAA postseason run at the Oxford Regional.

Hursey (8-4) worked a complete-game victory, scattering just three hits and allowing the lone MSU run of the contest on a Hunter Steinmetz solo shot in the sixth inning—the only extra-base hit of the night for either club.

MSU, which entered the game with a 13-1 season mark in one-run affairs, received a lift from its starting pitcher as well. Logan Wiley (7-6) matched a career high with 7.1 innings, over which he allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits, while fanning three and walking three TTU hitters.

Tennessee Tech’s 50th victory of the 2018 season followed a similar pattern to its regional-opening win over the Bears on Saturday, as the second-seeded Golden Eagles (50-10) jumped out to an early two-run advantage, scoring single runs in the second and third frames. TTU cashed in on a leadoff walk to Chase Chambers in the second when back-to-back two-out singles from Collin Harris and Brennon Kaleiwahea produced the first run of the night.

In the third, a two-out error on a ground ball to third came home to roost when Chambers’ fly ball to left-center fell just beyond the reach of a diving Landan Ruff to bring in Kevin Strohschein for a 2-0 TTU advantage.

From there, Hursey locked into a groove, allowing just one MSU baserunner through the first three innings and only one more on a fielding miscue before Steinmetz blasted a one-out drive into the right-field bullpen to cut the Bears’ deficit in half.

MSU threatened again in the seventh on Matt Brown’s leadoff single, but Hursey promptly induced a momentum-swinging 6-4-3 double play. The junior hurler went on to retire the next seven Bears in order to close out his second complete game of the season.

Chambers paced the Golden Eagles by going 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and an RBI.

With its second loss in two days to Tennessee Tech, the Bears concluded their season with a 40-17 overall mark. MSU, which defeated Saint Louis earlier in the day Sunday to stave off elimination, extended its streak of recording at least one victory in NCAA play to nine consecutive regional appearances dating back to 1996.

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