SPRINGFIELD, Mo–The Missouri State Bears started last week on a losing streak and one of the lower seeds in the Missouri Valley baseball tournament.
They had to compete in a play in game.
But Sunday night Keith Guttin’s bashing Bears are not only tournament champions but NCAA tournament bound.
The day started early for Missouri State facing Southern Illinois for the title.
But the Salukis jumped on the Bears early, top of the third Nick Hagedorn takes this deep to center, over the Bud sign, it’s 2-0.
Still in the third, Southern Illinois’s Pier Oliver Bouchet takes this deep to center, off the Coke sign, a three run homer, and the Salukis beat the Bears 9-6.
But since it was the Bears first loss in the tournament, they played a second game.
And Missouri State bounced back, it was 2-nothing in the bottom of the first when Mason Greer up with two on lines this to center, past the diving outfielder and to the wall, Spencer Nivens and Drake Baldwin both score it’s 2-2.
It was 5-2 in the second when Walker Jenkins takes this deep to center, another home run for the Bears and it’s 6-2.
Then in the seventh Will Duff takes this deep to left, up and over the bullpen, a three run homer, Missouri State with 20 homers in the tournament.
And the Bears win 13-3, take the Valley tournament championship and advance to the NCAA’s for the 12th time in school history.
Despite the first game loss, the Bears never stopped believing they could win it all.
“After the game we went in, Hawk was like we earned the right to play two games. We won out. It’s a double elimination series. We set our pitching up right. So we had a lot of confidence coming in. We knew it would be tough to beat our offense twice. Especially the way we were rolling,” said Bears catcher Drake Baldwin.
Dan Lucy:”How do you feel inside?”
“Pretty damn good. Since 2018 it hasn’t been beautiful, it feels really good to get back,” said Bears coach Keith Guttin.
Reporter:”I haven’t seen you smile yet today.”
(Guttin smiles)…I smile on the inside.”
Missouri State will find out where it will go in the NCAA tournament on Monday.