Missouri State built a five-run lead, then held on for an 8-5 victory — its 22nd consecutive regular-season Missouri Valley Conference win — over Illinois State Thursday evening. The MVC champion Bears (37-14, 18-0 MVC) maintain their perfect Valley record.

The Bears’ first five hitters combined to reach base safely in 14-of-25 total plate appearances, scoring six times and recording all eight of the club’s RBIs. Blake Graham homered and drove in three runs, while Jeremy Eierman and Justin Paulsen each plated a pair of runs and Jake Burger led the Bears with three hits.

The Bears and Redbirds will continue their series with game two of the three-game set Friday (May 19) afternoon at 2 p.m.