Minton Pitches Bears to Valley Tourney Shutout

TERRE HAUTE — Missouri State (32-22) got a stellar pitching effort from starter Hayden Minton and plenty of offensive support from Zack Stewart and Jake McCutcheon to take down UIC, 5-0, here Thursday afternoon in an MVC Tournament elimination game.

Minton (6-2) surrendered just three hits in 7.0 innings, striking out seven and walking three before giving way to Scott Youngbrandt. Youngbrandt pitched a 1-2-3 eighth and finished things off in short order in the ninth to secure MSU’s first Valley Tournament shutout since 2018.

Stewart’s two-run homer in the top of the third gave the Bears an early 2-0 lead. The freshman’s 12th dinger of the season came with two outs and pushed him to the 60-RBI milestone for the season. 

Stewart’s sacrifice fly in the fifth added to MSU’s lead, and the Bears threatened again in the sixth, loading the bases before Spencer Nivens’ deep line drive to right was hauled in by the Flames (28-25).

McCutcheon gave Missouri State a needed insurance run in the eighth with a triple to right center, plating pinch runner Will Duff. Later in the same inning, Izzy Lopez capitalized on a bases-loaded throwing error by UIC to make it 5-0.

Both McCutheon and Stewart finished 2-for-4 with McCutcheon posting a double and a triple and Stewart driving in three. MoState out-hit UIC by an 8-4 margin.

It marked MSU’s second shutout this season and first since March 10.

Missouri State will advance to play Friday at 10 a.m. (Central) against the loser of Thursday’s late game between Murray State and Evansville. A Missouri State victory in Friday’s early elimination game would push the Bears into a second game Friday evening at 5 p.m.

This article is provided by Missouri State
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