The Missouri State baseball team used a three-run third to go ahead of Southern Illinois for good Thursday at Eck Stadium in Wichita, Kan., going on to grab its ninth straight win by an 8-4 final in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
The Bears (34-19) scored in the top of the first when Kevin Medrano singled and got to third on two wild pitches to set up Ben Carlson’s two-out RBI single, and SIU (23-28) tied it in the bottom half when Scott Elmendorf’s one-out walk turned into a run with Michael Stalter’s sac fly.
Buddy Baumann (11-1) put zeros on the board after the first before leaving the game after seven. He scattered seven singles and a double, walked one and struck out seven to give him 101 on the season, good for fifth in school history.
Baumann’s 11 victories tie him with teammate Tim Clubb for second all-time behind Brad Ziegler’s 12 wins in 2003.
Missouri State loaded the bases three separate times in the second and came away with three runs. Brett Marshall plated the first with a fly ball to center that fell in between three fielders, Tyler Ryun scored on a wild pitch and Brayden Drake lifted a sac fly to the warning track in center before the Bears left the bases loaded with a 4-1 lead.
The Bears loaded the bases again in the third, this time with two outs, but reliever Daniel Etienne came in to retire Medrano for the first time in his three trips to the plate to keep the score at 4-1. Drake led off the fourth with a single and scored on Playter’s two-out RBI hit for a 5-1 lead.
Trevor Rogers drove in Medrano with a one-out, pinch-hit single in the sixth and Drake scored on a two-out throwing error by the SIU shortstop to push the lead to 7-1.
Aaron Conway swatted a solo homer in the ninth for Missouri State’s final run. The Salukis scored a run in the eighth and Stalter hit a two-run homer in the ninth. The Bears play fourth-seeded Creighton (29-24) at 3 p.m. Friday, with the winner advancing to Saturday’s 7 p.m. championship game.
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