Bears Hung Tough in Narrow Defeat to Host Georgia Tech
Feb. 9, 2013
ATLANTA, Ga. - The Missouri State softball team (0-3) took an early lead and fought back a couple times in a narrow 8-7 loss at the hands of host Georgia Tech (3-0) in the opening game of day two at the Georgia Tech-Kennesaw State Invitational.
"I am really pleased with what I am seeing at the plate today," said head coach Holly Hesse. "We are continuing to put massive runs on the board. Even our outs are quality at-bats, one through nine is really doing a nice job. Chelsea was definitely more composed today and pitched with more confidence. The goal right now is to get better each day and she accomplished that. She gave us an opportunity to win and that's what we are looking for."
The Bears offense again put up big numbers in game one. Led by Stacia Boeckstiegel's first career multi-hit game, a 3-for-3 performance, and Heather Duckworth's 2-for-2, 3 RBI game, the Bears tied the sixth-best runs output over the first three games on the season since 1975.
In the circle, sophomore Chelsea Jones fired her second complete game of the season. She held the Yellow Jackets to 11 hits while recording a strikeout in a tough bases loaded situation.
The Bears jumped out to an early lead against the Yellow Jackets. Senior Caitlin Chapin cleared the centerfield fence with her 15th career home run, giving the Bears a 1-0 advantage in the top of the first.
After GT tied the game in the bottom of the first, Missouri State went on the attack again. With one away in the second, Lauren Eisenreich drew her team-leading fourth walk of the season. Stacia Boeckstiegel followed and bounced a base hit over the third baseman. The next batter, Heather Duckworth, laced a double into the left-centerfield gap, scoring Eisenreich and pinch runner Ciara Flau. Duckworth advanced to third on the throw home and scored when Rebecca McPherson grounded out to second base.
The Bears got the offense going again in the fourth inning. Eisenreich drew another free pass and Boeckstiegel again single to left field giving MSU two aboard. Duckworth advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. But the Georgia Tech defense buckled down, getting Eisenreich at the plate trying to score on a wild pitch. McPherson drove the ball deep into left-center, but Jackets' centerfield made the catch crashing into the fence to end the Bears' inning.
Georgia Tech took its first lead in the bottom of the fifth, plating a pair of runs to go ahead 6-4. Once more the Bears battled back. In its half of the sixth, Missouri State got a leadoff walk from Stevie Pierce. Pinch runner Kerri Cunningham stole second and moved to third on a flyout to right. Boeckstiegel stepped to the plate and drilled the ball off the left field wall, scoring Cunningham. The next batter, Duckworth, singled to right scoring pinch runner Ali Trickey, who made a great slide to score the tying run.
The Yellow Jackets scored twice more in the sixth and the Bears were down heading to the last at-bat. Kirstin Cutter led the inning off with a bunt single. Two batters later, Chapin drove the ball to the wall in the left-center gap and MSU had two in scoring position with just one away. Pierce grounded out, but drove home Cutter to get the Bears within one with a runner at third. Tech induced a game-ending ground ball and ended yet another Bears' comeback.
The Bears have a rematch with Coastal Carolina later this afternoon before wrapping up the weekend in Georgia with a game against Butler at 10:00 a.m. Central on Sunday. Missouri State will travel to San Antonio, Texas next weekend for five games at the UTSA Tournament.