Missouri State’s offense broke out of its rut with a TD Ameritrade Park-record 14 hits Tuesday in a 6-4 victory over fifth-seeded Southern Illinois at the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in Omaha, Neb.
All nine Missouri State (32-21) starters recorded a hit, led byAaron Conway’s 2-for-4, two-run effort, a 3-for-5 and two runs scored from Luke Voit and a key two-run homer out of Tyler Paxson.
The Bears knocked first-team all-MVC selection Cody Forsythe for four runs on nine hits in four innings before his day ended on the final play of the fourth inning with a line drive off his pitching arm.
The Salukis (22-33) took the lead on a Chris Murphy sacrifice fly in the third, but Conway’s leadoff double set up a three-run bottom half for the Bears. Conway scored on Brent Seifert’s one-out single and Seifert was caught stealing before Voit singled and Paxson swatted a two-run homer to left for a 3-1 lead.
Conway then banged a two-out solo homer into the left field bullpen in the fourth before Kevin Medrano’s line drive off Forsythe resulted in a 1-5-3 out but ended the SIU southpaw’s day.
The Salukis took advantage of two passed balls after Nick Johnson singled in the fifth with a Brian Bajer RBI single to pull within 4-2, and the Bears escaped a strange top of the sixth with a 4-3 lead.
A double, an error and 6-4-2 double play turned by the Bears in the sixth left a runner on first with two outs before Johnson hit an RBI double, and Blake Pinnon’s bid for a go-ahead homer died on the warning track in left to keep the score 4-3.
The Bears loaded the bases with one out and scored on a Medrano sacrifice fly in the sixth, and usedLuke Voit’s leadoff single and a sacrifice bunt to set up Brock Chaffin’s RBI double in the seventh for a 6-3 advantage.
MVC Freshman of the Year Nick Petree (9-2) allowed one earned run in seven innings for the win, handing the game over to Pierce Johnson in the eighth.
Johnson encountered little trouble in the eighth and the Salukis opened the ninth with three singles to load the bases. A comebacker to the mound forced a run at the plate, but Voit’s throw to first sailed down the right field line, allowing a run to score and putting the tying run on second. Johnson then got a strikeout and a ground out for his second save.
The Bears are scheduled to play the winner of No. 1 seed Creighton and eighth-seeded Bradley at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, though that game Tuesday evening has been postponed due to rain and will be played at 9 a.m. Wednesday, resulting in the rest of Wednesday’s schedule being one game behind.