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Missouri State Athletics | May 3, 2015

Paulsen lifts Missouri St. to win in 10

  Missouri State picked up its second sweep in conference play this year.

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Justin Paulsen's one-out single in the bottom of the 10th inning handed No. 19 Missouri State a 3-2 walk-off victory against Wichita State on Sunday at Hammons Field, capping a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series sweep for the Bears.

With the bases loaded and the score knotted at 2-2, Paulsen lined a 1-0 offering from WSU reliever Reagan Biechler into right field to bring home pinch runner Landan Ruff with the game-winning run. The go-ahead hit -- Paulsen's third knock of the game -- gave the Bears (34-10, 12-3 MVC) their second conference series sweep of the season and their fifth extra-innings victory of the year.

Paulsen, who also drove in the Bears' first run of the day with a single in the second, finished the three-game set 7-for-12 with five RBIs and four runs scored to power the MSU offense, which posted a .300 team batting mark and outscored the Shockers by a 20-6 margin in the series.

To get to the decisive rally, the Bears rode the right arm of closer Bryan Young (7-0), who added 3.1 innings of no-hit relief. Young took over with the potential go-ahead run in scoring position in the top of the seventh, just moments after Daniel Kihle's two-run homer erased a 2-0 deficit for the Shockers.

Young squashed the seventh-inning threat with a strikeout of Chase Rader, then worked out of another jam the following frame after WSU put their first two batters on via walks. Young got a lift from catcher Eduardo Castro, who picked Tanner Kirk off third for the second out in the eighth, then escaped the inning by getting Kihle on a fielder's choice grounder to shortstop. 

The final two innings proved to be less eventful for Missouri State, as Young retired six of the final seven Shockers he faced before the Bears mounted their game-winning rally.

Wichita State reliever John Hayes was able to extend the game for the Shockers (18-29, 6-9 MVC) with some clutch pitching of his own after Kihle's game-tying home run. Hayes, a righthander who entered the game to start the seventh, stranded the potential go-ahead run in scoring position in each of his first two innings before working a 1-2-3 ninth.

Eric Cheray's third single of the game got the ball rolling for MSU in the 10th, and Hayes beaned Spencer Johnson, who was attempting to sacrifice Ruff into scoring position. Jake Burger's chopper to short resulted in a force out at second, but moved the lead runner to third with just one out.

A walk to pinch hitter Blake Graham loaded the bases for Paulsen, who jumped on Biechler's second pitch and sent a screamer beyond the reach of first baseman Ryan Tinkham to plate Ruff with the deciding tally.

MSU, which wrapped up just its third regular-season sweep of the Shockers in 25 Valley seasons, improved its 2015 home mark to 13-3 with its 25th victory in 29 games since March 15. 

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