Stephens, Jones Propel MSU to Win over Boise State, Bears Split on Day One
Feb. 15, 2013
SAN ANTONIO, Texas - The Missouri State softball team (2-5) split games on day one of the UTSA Classic in San Antonio, Texas on Friday. The Bears shut out Boise State (3-4), 6-0, and came up short in a comeback attempt against host UTSA (2-2), 8-4.
"I just love that this team believes that they can come back on anybody," said head coach Holly Hesse. "To put together that many hits in the sixth, seventh innings, and to have the bases loaded, I just love the fight in this team. It is certainly her (Jones) best outing of the season and good to see her throw a shutout this early in the season."
The Bears got a big day out of birthday girl Mary Stephens who launched her first career home run as part of a five hit day. Kirstin Cutter had four hits and Heather Duckworth added three hits. Stevie Pierce and Caitlin Chapin both had a hit in each game. Ashley Brentz had four walks on the day.
Pitcher Chelsea Jones put together the best outing of her career in the win over Boise State. She tossed her first complete game shutout while allowing just three Bronco hits.
Game 1 - Missouri State 6, Boise State 0
Hurler Jones turned in easily her best outing of the season. She scattered three hits and struck out a batter in recording her first shutout of the year. It was Jones' third complete game of the season and first career complete-game shutout.
Missouri State's offense jumped on Boise State early. Leadoff hitter Cutter reached on an infield bunt single. She promptly stole second and then moved to third on a wild pitch. Stephens singled through the left side with two away for an RBI and an early lead.
Kerri Cunningham singled with two away in the second, but was stranded. In the third, Brentz drew a leadoff walk. She moved all the way to third when Chapin reached on Boise State error on her sacrifice bunt. But the Broncos hurler buckled down and got out of the jam without a Bears' run.
The Bears got back at it in the fifth. Cutter again reached on an infield bunt single and was sacrificed to second. Stephens stepped to the plate and hit the ball over the centerfield fence for a two-run homer, her first career dinger. Pierce singled to left, but was stranded to end the inning.
MSU didn't back off the gas in the sixth. Heather Duckworth dropped a single just inside the right field line. She was sacrificed to second by Lauren Eisenreich. Cunningham followed and reached on a bunt single to give the Bears runners at the corners. After Cunningham stole second, Cutter laced a single to left-center, plating two runs. Two batters later, Chapin doubled to left-center and MSU took a 6-0 lead to the seventh.
Game 2 - Missouri State 8, Texas-San Antonio 4 Again in game two, the Bears got early runners on base. Brentz drew her second walk of the day. The next batter, Chapin, reached on a fielder's choice and then stole second. But the UTSA pitcher worked out of the inning unscathed.
In the second inning, the Bears got back-to-back extra-base hits to lead off the inning. Pierce roped a double to right. She scored on Duckworth's own double to right-center giving MSU a 1-0 lead.
Vivian Tijerina took over for UTSA after that. In the Roadrunners' half of the second, she tied the game with a solo homer just over a leaping Eisenreich in left.
The Bears looked to retake the lead in the third. Cutter began the inning with a single to left-center. She stole second and Chapin was hit by a pitch to give MSU two aboard. Stephens singled to left, but Cutter was thrown out at the plate attempting to score.
Then in the fourth, Tijerina connected on a three-run shot to center. UTSA added four more in the fifth, but Jones struck out the final batter to strand the bases loaded and keep the Bears in the game.
Stephens singled up the middle to lead off the sixth. Two batters later, Duckworth walked, moving pinch runner Ciara Flau to second. The Bears sent pinch hitter Ali Trickey to the plate and she doubled down the left field line scoring Flau.
After a 1-2-3 sixth by Jones, the Bears got the sticks going again in the seventh. Brentz walked for the third time in the game. Chapin followed and blooped a single in behind the first baseman. Stephens continued her big day with a single up the middle, loading the bases. Pierce drew a bases loaded walk, forcing in a run. Eisenreich reached on a fielder's choice putout at home and the bases remained loaded. With the tying run at the plate in pinch hitter Amber Dreher, a runner left early was called to end the game.
Missouri State will continue play Saturday at the UTSA Classic in San Antonio, Texas. MSU will play Iowa State at 9:00 a.m. and Rutgers at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. The Bears will wrap up the trip to Texas when they play UTSA again at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.