The Missouri State baseball team’s offense has either been feast or famine through 14 games so far this season.
And the Bears bats went silent on Saturday. Three Maine pitchers combined to hold Missouri State’s offense in check. The Black Bears held on and evened the three-game series with a 4-2 win.
It was Maine’s first win of the 2020 season.
Maine’s Trevor Delaite struck out six batters over four one-hit innings. Right-hander Andrew Ruggiero then followed in relief for the Black Bears, permitting just one run over the next three frames as the duo combined to retire 12 Missouri State hitters from the third through the seventh innings.
Cody Pasic’s two-out, two-run single off Missouri State freshman starter Hayden Minton opened the scoring in the top of the fourth and was the game’s key hit. The Maine catcher also worked a bases-loaded walk to force home another run as part of the Black Bears’ two-run sixth.
Missouri State’s on-again, off-again offense struggled to cash in on several scoring opportunities against Delaite before the senior left-hander ended his day by retiring the last four hitters in a row.
After junior Grant Wood drew a one-out walk in the first, Delaite induced back-to-back ground balls to first to get out of the inning. A walk to sophomore Mason Hull and a double from senior Logan Geha sparked another threat in the second, but Delaite fanned senior John Privitera and retired freshman Mason Auer on a pop-up to keep the Bears scoreless.
Ruggiero faced little resistance from Missouri State after taking over in the fifth. He dispatched the first eight Bears until Geha’s two-out solo shot to left to put the Bears on the board in the seventh.
Missouri State mounted another rally in the eighth, using base hits by Wood and senior Ben Whetstone to set up sophomore Dakota Kotowski’s two-out, RBI double down the left-field line.
But Maine’s Matt Geoffrion caught Hull looking on a called strike three for the final out, stranding the potential tying run at second base. Geoffrion worked around a leadoff single by Geha in the ninth by sitting down the final three Bears to wrap up the win.
Geha paced Missouri State’s offense with his second straight three-hit game. Sophomore Peyton Carson combined for 3.2 innings of scoreless relief.
The two clubs will square off in the rubber game match of the series on Sunday at noon.