Struemph Pitches Bears to Split at Georgia Tech on Opening Day
Feb. 8, 2014
ATLANTA, Ga. - The Missouri State softball team (1-1) got a solid relief outing from freshman Erin Struemph and the Bears erupted for six runs in game two to split a doubleheader at Georgia Tech (1-1) on Saturday in Atlanta. After a 3-0 setback in game one, the Bears rebounded for a 6-3 win in game two at Mewborn Field.
"I thought we played really well in game one and I was excited to see us carry that over to game two," said head coach Holly Hesse. "Our pitch selection was very good all day and it was exciting to see Erin Duewel put one out of the park. It is nice to see us get double-digit hits on opening day. She (Erin Struemph) showed how good she can be with runners at two and three and follow that up with three straight strikeouts. That's pretty amazing for a freshman and she did exactly what we needed her to do."
Struemph appeared in relief in both games, recording a strikeout in 0.2 innings in game one. In game two, she entered in the bottom of the fourth inning and pitched the final four innings for the win. She struck out six in game two, including three straight with runners in scoring position and no outs to begin the fourth.
Heather Duckworth paced the Bears' offense with three hits on the day, all in game two, including a run scored and an RBI. Kerri Cunningham also had three hits on the day, scoring twice and driving in another in game two. Mary Stephens had a single in each game, extending her active hitting streak to eight games.
Game 1 - Missouri State 0, Georgia Tech 3
The teams headed to the sixth inning still scoreless and again the looked to break through first. An infield single by Cunningham began the inning. Two batters later, Stacia Boeckstiegel also reached on an infield single. Mary Stephens followed and dropped a single into shallow left-center to load the bases for MSU. But GT would end the threat with an inning-ending double play to keep the Bears off the board.
The Yellow Jackets seized that momentum as leadoff hitter Ashley Thomas drove the first pitch over the left-center field fence for a solo home run. Two batters later, a Bears' throwing error opened the door and the Yellow Jackets added two hits and a walk to put three runs on the board in the inning.
The Bears were retired in order in the seventh to drop the opener, 3-0.
Game 2 - Missouri State 6, Georgia Tech 3
In the third inning, MSU broke through. Suzanne Allen reached on a GT error. Pinch runner Ciara Flau advanced to second on a wild pitch. Erin Duewel advanced Flau to third with a sacrifice bunt. Cunningham followed and lined a single off the pitcher to plate the first run of the inning. Cunningham promptly stole second and, two batters later, scored on an RBI single to right by Duckworth. A Mary Stephens single to right sent Duckworth to third. Duckworth scored on an attempted double steal as Stephens returned to first safely. Bethany Sullinger followed and drove the ball deep to right for and RBI double off the top of the fence to give MSU a 4-0 advantage.
Georgia Tech responded with three runs in the bottom half of the frame on a pair of home runs.
The Bears added to the lead in the fifth. Cunningham reached on a bunt single and stole second base. Ashley Brentz walked and, two batters later, Stephens reached on a GT error to load the bases. With two outs, Boeckstiegel pinch hit and drew a four-pitch walk to push across a run for the Bears. Allie Alvstad pinch hit with the bases still loaded and a liner to right that would have cleared the bases was ruled foul. Tech would get out of the inning allowing just the single run.
Missouri State kept on the offensive pressure in the sixth. With one away, Erin Duewel hit a no-doubter to left field, her first career home run. Brentz and Duckworth each got two out singles in the frame but were left aboard as the inning ended.
Madison Jones recorded her first career hit in the seventh inning, a solid single to right.
The Bears and Yellow Jackets will wrap up the series with a single game beginning at 10:00 a.m. Central on Sunday. Next weekend, MSU will play in the UTA Maverick Invitational in Arlington, Texas on February 14-16. Missouri State's home opener will be March 12 versus SIU Edwardsville.