The 2020 season is off to a good start for the baseball Bears, thanks in large part to the right arm of Logan Wiley.
Missouri State (1-0) earned a 1-0 opening day victory over Central Arkansas (0-1) on Friday afternoon in Conway, Arkansas.
Wiley, a Kickapoo product, was dominant on the mound while throwing seven scoreless innings before being relieved in the eighth. He struck out seven batters and only allowed three hits on 58 total pitches.
MSU scored the game’s lone run when reigning Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year Dakota Kotowski drove in senior Ben Whetstone with a two-out double to right-center field in the top of the fourth inning to take a 1-0 lead.
Wiley was pulled in the bottom of the eighth for juco transfer Trey Ziegenbein with the score still tied at one. He retired his first two batters before walking the next two. He was replaced by sophomore righty Hayden Juenger.
Juenger got down to a full-count when a walk would have loaded the bases, but he was able to force a groundout to short.
After MSU couldn’t get any insurance in the ninth, Central Arkansas started the bottom half with a pair of singles and a bunt to put two runners in scoring position with just one out. Juenger walked the following batter to load the bases.
Juenger forced a double play with the bases loaded to hold off Central Arkansas and come away with the victory.
Kotowski, Grant Wood, Drake Baldwin and John Privitera each ended the game with a pair of hits for MSU.
Missouri State will continue its opening series of the season at Central Arkansas with 1 p.m. games on Saturday and Sunday.
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the conversation on Twitter where his handle is @WyattWheeler_NL. You can also sign up for his free “Bears Beat” newsletter by subscribing on News-Leader.com.