Jake Fromson’s throwing error on a squeeze play led to Missouri State’s demise Saturday in the NCAA Oxford Regional, propelling Tennessee Tech to a 6-4 win.
The Bears trailed 4-0 after the Golden Eagles pounced on pitcher Dylan Coleman early. MSU rallied with four runs of their own in the sixth inning. Drew Millas drew a bases loaded walk, then Ben Whetstone brought two home on a soft single to center. Millas scored on a wild pitch to tie the game.
But with the game tied in the bottom of the eight inning, Tennessee Tech put runners on second and third with one out. Brennon Kaleiwahea bunted back to Fromson, who looked the runner back to third. However, with Whetstone charging the bunt, second baseman John Privitera had too much ground to cover to get to first base in rhythm with Fromson’s throw. The senior bounced the ball into right field, allowing the go-ahead runs to cross the plate.
“John [Privitera] did the best he could to get there. That’s not normally where he’d be playing in any kind of bunting situation,” head coach Keith Guttin said. “He got there a hair late because of where he had to be positioned with the infield in.”
Regional host Ole Miss beat Saint Louis 9-2 in the second game of the day, sending SLU into an elimination game against the Bears. It is now an uphill battle for MSU to advance, but the Bears welcome the challenge in the double-elimination format.
“We all still believe we can make it through this regional, even after how we played today,” Whetstone said. “We didn’t really play our best game today. If we play well tomorrow, we should be alright.”
Freshamn Ty Buckner will start Sunday against the Billikens.
“We’ve battled all year, we’ve come a long way, we’ve played really well at times, we got here,” Guttin said. “We need to play our best game.”