News From Terre Haute, Indiana

College

May 22, 2014

MVC Tournament: Surprise contributor lifts Bears past Braves

Missouri State to play Dallas Baptist Friday

TERRE HAUTE — The beauty of baseball is that sometimes you just never know who's going to contribute. Missouri State coach Keith Guttin believes that as he liberally goes to his bench to find contributors.

He found a surprising gem in an elimination game against Bradley on Thursday during the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.

Outfielder Trey Massenberg was 4-for-32 entering the contest, but he was pivotal in a 7-2 win as the Bears advanced to a win-or-go-home contest against Dallas Baptist at 12:30 p.m. on Friday at Bob Warn Field.

Missouri State scored all seven of its runs in two innings and Massenberg lit the fuse in both frames. His single led off a two-run fifth and his double kick-started a five-run seventh.

"Nothing was going through my head other than to hit the ball. Everyday could be my last day playing forever. I had to do the best I could to help the team win," Massenberg said.

Massenberg is Exhibit A as to why Missouri State coach Keith Guttin likes to use his entire bench. Guttin used 14 everyday players in Thursday's victory.

"It was painful struggling [offensively] during the year, but a lot of guys had opportunities to come off the bench and pinch-hit. Every one of those guys has been in these situations before and they're comfortable there," Guttin said.

Still, Massenberg carried a .125 batting average into the game. That's not the stuff that clutch performances are usually born from.

"I told him in the ninth that he was the player of the game. You have to give him credit. He hasn't played much and Trey, when you put him in, he'll compete for you," Guttin said.

Guttin also lifted starting pitcher Matt Hall just 1 1/3 innings into his start after he struggled with command and conceded Bradley an early 1-0 lead. Zach Merciez stepped in and gave the Bears four innings of effective relief, allowing just one run in the fifth inning as the Braves led 2-0.

 The Bears grabbed a foothold in their half of the fifth thanks to Massenberg. He led off with a single and scored on a single by Tate Matheny to left. Matheny advanced to third later in the inning, and when Bradley's Matt Dennis threw a pitch in the dirt that got away from Bradley catcher Austin Jarvis, Matheny was running all the way and scored the game-tying run.

Massenberg's double in the seventh was the impetus for the five-run seventh inning that broke Bradley's back. Massenberg scored on a sacrifice fly, but after a pair of walks and a single by Eric Cheray, another bench contributor, Alex Jefferson, hit a two-run single to make it 5-2.

One batter later, Dylan Becker's two-run double off the right field wall made it 7-2. Missouri State reliever Jake Powers struck out the last six Braves he faced to preserve the win.

"We ran out of gas in the seventh inning. You have to give [Missouri State] credit. They earned it," Bradley coach Elvis Dominguez said.

Missouri State (25-30) will play Dallas Baptist for the eighth time on Friday and the teams would pair up again on Friday if the Bears prevail. Guttin said Jon Harris would get the starting nod.

DBU has been a thorn in the Bears' side throughout the season. Missouri State has lost five games to the Patriots by a single run, including a 3-2 win in 10 innings on Tuesday.

Bradley concluded its season with a 24-27 mark.

BRADLEY (AB-R-H-BI) -- Godinez 2b 4-0-1-0, Gaa 3b 4-1-1-0, Murphy rf 4-1-2-0, Partyka dh 4-0-2-1, Leffler ss 4-0-101, Carlile 1b 3-0-0-0, Gruener lf 3-0-1-0, Jarvis c 3-0-0-0, Smith cf 2-0-0-0. TOTALS 31-2-8-2.

MISSOURI STATE (AB-R-H-BI) -- Dezort lf 1-0-0-0, Massenberg ph-lf 2-2-2-0, Kay ph 1-0-0-0, Hawkins ss 2-0-0-0, Matheny cf 3-2-2-1, Drake rf 3-0-0-1, Cheray 2b 4-1-2-0, Johnson 1b 3-1-0-0, Smith dh 1-0-1-0, Graham dh 2-0-0-0, Jefferson ph 1-1-1-2, Becker 3b 3-0-2-2, Fultz c 2-0-0-0, Meyer 2b 2-0-0-0. TOTALS 30-7-0-6.

Bradley=100=010=000=--=2

Missouri State=000=020=50X=--=7


DP -- MSU 1. LOB -- BU 6, MSU 8. 2B -- Massenberg (1), Becker (12); S -- Gruener (4), Hawkins 3 (17). SF -- Drake (3). SB -- Gaa (15); Dezort (6), Matheny 2 (6), Becker (13). CS -- Godinez (6), Carlilie (2).

Bradley

=IP=H=R=ER=BB=SO


Roegner=3=3=0=0=2=3

Dennis (L, 4-3)=3 2/3=5=6=6=3=4

Koll=1 1/3=2=1=1=0=1

Missouri State

=IP=H=R=ER=BB=SO


Hall=1 1/3=4=1=1=2=2

Merciez=4=4=1=1=1=3

Powers (W, 3-5)=3 2/3=0=0=0=0=8

WP -- Dennis (4). PB -- Fultz (5). T -- 2:40.

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