Softball Wins Big Over Toledo, Takes Hard-Luck Loss to Tennessee Tech
Feb. 23, 2013
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. - The Missouri State softball team (6-8) put on an offensive display in a 9-1 thrashing on Toledo (1-2) in the first game of day two at the Frost Classic. In game two, MSU took a tough 2-0 loss to Tennessee Tech (7-5). With the Bears' win in game one, head coach Holly Hesse moved into a tie for third all-time in wins by Missouri Valley Conference coaches (630).
"Pitching was a real bright spot for us today," said Hesse, "both starting and in relief. It was exciting to see us add to our league-leading home run total. We got great contributions at the plate from a number of different players."
Mary Stephens continues to impress at the plate after a 5-for-7 day that included three runs batted in. Kirstin Cutter had three hits on the day and scored twice in the win against Toledo. Bethany Sullinger got her first career starts and took advantage with a perfect squeeze bunt, her first career home run and another hit in the nightcap.
Chelsea Jones was once again stellar in the circle for MSU. She allowed a first-inning run, but settled in for her sixth-consecutive victory. She struck out two Rocket batters and did not allow a walk as she moved to 6-2 on the season.
Game 1 - Missouri State 9, Toledo 1 (5 innings)
The Bears rallied after allowing a run in the top of the first. Kirstin Cutter reached on a bunt single. She advanced safely to second on a fielder's choice by Caitlin Chapin. Mary Stephens stepped in and singled through the right side for an RBI to tie the game.
In the third inning, the Bears got back to work. Stephens, Stevie Pierce and Stacia Boeckstiegel drew three consecutive walks to load the bases with one out. Lauren Eisenreich flew to right field, but two Toledo errors on the play scored two runs. Bethany Sullinger came up with runners in scoring position and dropped a perfect squeeze bunt, plating pinch runner Suzanne Allen from third to boost the Bears' lead to 4-1.
The Bears added to their lead in the fourth. Cutter had another infield single to start the inning. She moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Ashley Brentz. Two batters later, Stephens singled through the left side to plate Cutter. Pierce stepped up and drilled a two-run bomb to left giving MSU a 7-1 advantage.
MSU didn't stop in the fifth. Sullinger led off and blasted the first pitch over the leftfield fence for her first career hit and home run. Rebecca McPherson followed and reached on a single to right. Erin Duewel reached on a fielder's choice, replacing McPherson at first. The next batter, pinch hitter Amber Dreher, roped a single to left and both runners moved into scoring position on an errant throw by the Rockets' outfielder. Stephens then picked up her third RBI single of the game, this one to right field, scoring the walk-off run for Missouri State.
Game 2 - Missouri State 0, Tennessee Tech 2 Missouri State got another good performance out of freshman pitcher Jessie Van Es. She pitched five solid innings, giving up just the two runs and walking a pair of Golden Eagles.
The Bears got runners on in six of the seven innings, but were unable to push across a run. In the first, Chapin reached on an infield single with two outs.
The second inning saw TTU get a lead with a solo home run to begin the inning. Van Es then retired the next three batters to limit the damage. In the Bear's half of the frame, Pierce drew a lead-off walk. Two batters later, Sullinger singled to right giving the Bears two on with one out. But the TTU pitcher induced a pop up and a groundout to end the inning.
The Golden Eagles added a run in the fourth. Stephens continued to swing a hot stick as she led off the Bears' half of the inning with a sharp single through the right side. Three long, loud fly balls and the Bears were retired without a run.
In the sixth, pinch hitter Ali Trickey lined a single to right and was sacrificed to second by Kerri Cunningham. Cutter laid down a bunt and reached, moving Trickey to third, but again TTU got out of the inning.
MSU put on yet another valiant effort in the seventh. Boeckstiegel singled up the middle to start the inning. Cunningham reached on a fielding error and Cutter walked, loading the bases. But Tennessee Tech cut down the lead runner at the plate on back-to-back plays and a ground out ended the game.
The Bears will finish the season-opening road trip with a game against host Chattanooga on Sunday (11:15 a.m. CT) to wrap up the Frost Classic. The Bears open the home slate against Wright State on Thursday, February 28 with a 4:00 p.m. first pitch at Killian Stadium.