Strong offense and stout pitching gave the Missouri State Bears a 12-2 victory over Miami Saturday afternoon in the NCAA Division I Championship at the Coral Gables Regional in Florida. The Bears scored seven runs in the first inning to give pitcher Pierce Johnson all the support he needed for MSU’s 40th win of the season and first post-season victory in nine years.

The 15-hit offense was led by Keenan Maddox with career highs of three hits and four RBIs, while Johnson set a new Missouri State record for strikeouts in a season with a lights out eight-inning performance

After leaving 12 runners on base Friday in a 2-1 loss to UCF, the Bears came out swinging Saturday, scoring seven times in the opening frame on six hits, sending Hurricanes starting pitcher Steven Ewing to the bench. Miami answered with a two-run third inning, accounting for their only runs of the day. MSU kept the heat on scoring an additional five runs in the following innings.

The Bears are now 40 & 21 and will face the loser of Saturday’s second game featuring Stony Brook and UCF at 1 o’clock this afternoon.