Missouri State lost its series with Indiana State, dropping three of the four games.
MSU was able to pick up its fourth walk-off victory of the season but was outslugged by the ISU offense in the other three contests.
The Bears have been struggling to put consistent offense together over recent weeks.
“Sometimes it just takes one or two hits at the right time,” head coach Keith Guttin said. “I think one or two clutch hits could get them going and get the guys to relax a little bit.”
The Bears record drops to 16-19 (6-10 MVC) after the series and they have fallen to seventh place in the Missouri Valley Conference.
MSU is now 1-8 in the nine games since coming back from the cancellations due to positive COVID-19 tests within its tier-one personnel. The team is crediting its struggles due to the shutdown.
“I am not going to use that as an excuse,” Guttin said. “The COVID pause is now two or three weeks old so it’s time to rock and roll here.”
Missouri State will be back in action on May 14 to start a four-game series at Illinois State.
Game One Friday
Indiana State struck first with a RBI single to left field in the top of the second inning. MSU quickly answered with two runs in the bottom half after a pair of home runs from junior second baseman Mason Hull and junior outfielder Jaden Rolffs.
ISU quickly took the lead back in the third inning with a two-RBI double to take a 3-2 lead. The Sycamores did not falter and led the rest of the way.
ISU added to its lead with a run in the sixth and three runs in the ninth to coast to the 7-2 victory.
Graduate senior pitcher Logan Wiley got the loss on the mound for the Bears and moved his record to 4-3 on the season.
Game Two Friday
Junior pitcher Matt Russell got the start on the mound and was able to hold the Sycamores off the board for the first three innings.
Then Russell allowed three ISU runs to cross the plate in the fourth inning and MSU saw itself down 3-0 heading into the fifth inning.
Hull hit his second home run of the day in the bottom of the fifth inning with a two-run shot that cut the ISU lead to 3-2.
The Bears were facing their final three outs heading into the last half-inning of the seven-inning contest but tied the game with a sacrifice fly from Rolffs.
The game then got suspended for the day due to scheduling issues with a Springfield Cardinals game later in the day. The game picked back up at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.
The game resumed in the top half of the extra-inning game with Indiana State at the plate. With runners on the corners with two outs, graduate senior center fielder Jack Duffy made a full extension diving grab for the final out to keep a runner from scoring.
“It was huge,” Duffy said. “I was fired up and everyone else was too.”
This sent the Bears to the dugout with a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the eighth inning. Senior shortstop Walker Jenkins led off the inning with a single and moved the winning-run up to third base with nobody out.
Hull delivered again for MSU with one out and drove in the winning-run from third base with a single into left field.
Junior pitcher Trey Ziegenbein went down as the winning pitcher in the 4-3 game and moved his record to a team-best 6-0 this season.
Emotions were running high to start this one with both teams jawing back-and-forth from the dugouts.
A runner’s interference ended the top of the first inning and kept the Sycamores off the board. ISU was not pleased with the call and its third base coach got ejected for arguing the decision.
The Sycamores were not held off the board in the second inning and took a 1-0 lead with a two-out RBI single up the middle.
The game was blown open in the fourth inning with ISU plating seven runs, aided by a pair of three-run home runs, to take a 8-0 lead.
MSU chipped away with a run in the fifth and sixth innings but were unable to ever make it a close game again.
ISU added to its lead and ended up winning the game with a 13-2 final.
Sophomore pitcher Hayden Minton picked up the loss on the mound and dropped his record to 0-4 on the season.
Indiana State struck quickly with a two-RBI single with two outs in the top of the first inning.
ISU carried the 2-0 lead all the way into the seventh inning due in large part to senior starting pitcher Javin Drake’s efforts on the mound.
The Sycamores extended its lead up to 5-0 with a pair of runs in the seventh inning and another insurance run added in the ninth.
The Missouri State offense woke up in the bottom of the ninth inning with a two-run home run hit by graduate senior first baseman Ben Whetstone, his fifth of the season.
MSU was able to load up the bases with two outs after the home run, but did not receive the big hit it needed to get back into the ballgame.
Junior pitcher Jared Viertel picked up the loss on the mound and moved his record to 0-5 after the 5-2 defeat.
Missouri State will have a few days off before its next game on May 14 at Illinois State. This will be the start of a four-game conference series with the Redbirds.
Follow Trevor Hahn on Twitter, @TrevHahn3
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