Big Second Inning Enough for Softball Bears in 3-1 Win over SLU
March 2, 2012
The Missouri State softball team (7-2) got another complete game performance in the circle from senior Natalie Rose in a 3-1 win over the Saint Louis Billikens (10-8) at the Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in Kansas City, Mo., on Friday night.
"Nat(alie) was fabulous under these conditions," said head coach Holly Hesse. "The weather made it tough for everybody in the field and at the plate. Brentz continues to be on fire at the plate and McPherson had a big hit to put us ahead."
Rose fired her fourth complete game of the season to improve to 4-0 on the 2012 campaign. Despite a season-high eight hits, Rose held the Billikens to just one run. She registered four strikeouts to move to within four strikeouts of 500 for her career.
The Bears batted around in what would prove to be a pivotal second inning. Heather Duckworth led off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Stevie Pierce followed with an infield single that advanced Duckworth to third. Rebecca McPherson lined a single off the third base bag to drive in the first run of the game. Raeven Replogle drew a walk to load the bases. After a force out at the plate, Kirstin Cutter and Ashley Brentz drew back-to-back bases loaded walks to plate a pair of runs.
Saint Louis inched back in the top of the fifth inning. A couple of walks and a pair of singles plated a run for the Billikens.
The Bears threatened again in the bottom of the fifth. Duckworth drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a bloop single to right by Pierce. But an inning-ending double play kept the Bears off the board in the inning.
Pierce and Brentz led the way for the Bears' offense. Pierce went 2-for-2 and Brentz was 1-for-1 with two walks and an RBI. Despite getting just four hits in the win, the Bears were extremely patient at the plate. MSU drew seven walks in the game and Kerri Cunningham reached after being hit by a pitch.
The Bears will return to action at the Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament on Saturday. MSU will play host UMKC at 5:00 p.m. The Bears will play Southeast Missouri State and No. 13 Missouri on Sunday at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m., respectively. Following this weekend's tournament, the Bears will return to Killian Stadium for the home opener, a double header against Iowa State at 12:00 p.m. on March 10.