Panthers take down Bears again - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Panthers take down Bears again

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The University of Northern Iowa baseball team secured a Missouri Valley Conference series win over Missouri State with a 5-3 victory over the Bears Saturday afternoon at Hammons Field. UNI scored four runs in the top of the third to take the lead, and the Panthers (18-24, 5-14 MVC) added an insurance run in the seventh on the way to the victory.

Reggie Hochstedler (1-0) threw two scoreless innings of relief to earn his first win of the season. Ivan Lopez gave up just one hit through 2.2 innings, and Lucas O'Rear recorded the game's final out for his first save of the year. Brian de la Torriente made his second start for UNI, giving up three runs in four innings, matching his longest outing of the year.

Levi Ferguson was 2-of-4 with an RBI, a run scored and a double, and Grant Grgurich finished 2-of-4 with a pair of runs scored.

Buddy Baumann (8-1) gave up five runs through eight innings to be charged with his first loss of the year. Kevin Medrano led MSU (25-19,

11-5 MVC) with three hits. Brayden Drake was 2-of-4 with a pair of RBIs.

With a man on third in the bottom of the first, Brayden Drake laced a two-out double down the left field line to give the Bears an early 1-0 lead.

Gabe Schultz drew a leadoff walk in the top of the third. Grant Grgurich followed with a single into right field, and Schultz moved to third to give the Panthers runners on the corners. Levi Ferguson placed a bunt between Baumann and third base, and he beat the throw to first as Schultz scored, tying the game, 1-1. Brett Douglas put down a bunt to the pitcher, but Baumann's throw sailed over first baseman Tyler Ryun's head. Grgurich scored, Ferguson moved to third and Douglas advanced to second on the error. Travis Bennett doubled off the wall in left field to score Ferguson and move Douglas to third. Jason Summers hit a sacrifice fly into left, and Douglas tagged and scored on the play to give UNI a 4-1 lead. Baumann retired the next two Panthers to contain the damage to four runs.

Brian de la Torriente gave up a one-out single in the bottom half of the inning, but he got the next two batters to fly out to end the frame with the Panthers holding a 4-1 lead.

MSU used a hit batsman and a pair of singles to load the bases with nobody out in the bottom of the fifth. Reggie Hochstedler entered in relief, and he got Ben Carlson to strike out swinging to record the first out of the inning. Drake hit a sacrifice fly into right to score Trevor Rogers and move Aaron Conway to third, cutting the Panther lead to 4-2. With two out and runners on the corners, Dallas Hord hit a ground ball up the middle. Ege was able to snag the ball to keep it in the infield, but his throw to second was not in time, and Conway scored on the single. Chris Playter fouled out to first to end the inning with the Panthers protecting a 4-3 lead.

A bloop single and a walk gave the Bears runners on first and second with nobody out in the bottom of the sixth. A sacrifice bunt from Curt Courtwright put the tying run on third and the go-ahead run on second with one out. Hochstedler got Conway to strike out swinging for the second out, and Kevin Medrano grounded out to first to get out of the jam.

Grgurich dropped a single into center to lead off the top of the seventh. Ferguson followed with a double into left center, giving the Panthers runners on second and third with nobody out. Grgurich scored and Ferguson moved to third on a passed ball to give UNI a 5-3 edge.

Baumann got Douglas to fly out to shallow right, and Ferguson stayed at third. Bennett struck out, and Summers fouled out to the catcher to end the inning.

MSU put its first two batters on safely in the bottom half of the inning. Ivan Lopez entered in relief, and he got Hord to fly out and Playter to ground into a double play to end the inning.

Each team collected a single but came up empty-handed in the eighth inning, and MSU reliever Sean Toler sat the Panthers down in order in the top of the ninth.

Catcher Jeff Taliaferro fielded a bunt by Medrano to record the first out of the bottom of the ninth. Lopez struck out Carlson for out number two, but Drake drew a walk to keep the inning alive and bring the tying run to the plate. O'Rear took the mound for UNI, and he got Hord to fly out to end the game.

The Bears outhit UNI, 10-6. The Panthers took advantage of two MSU errors to score two unearned runs. The Panthers left six men on base, compared to 11 for the Bears.

The teams will conclude the three-game series on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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