Seventh Innings Key as Bears Beat SEMO, Test No. 13 Missouri
March 4, 2012
The Missouri State softball team (8-4) got rallies in the seventh innings of both games in the final day of the Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in Kansas City, Mo., on Sunday afternoon. In the first game, Missouri State scored three times to come-from-behind and defeat Southeast Missouri State (4-11) for the second time this season, 5-4. In the second game of the day, the Bears held No. 13 Missouri (9-3) to just three runs and plated one while stranding the tying runs on base in a 3-1 loss.
"I was really proud of how we battled back today after the uncharacteristic outing against UMKC last night," said head coach Holly Hesse. "For us to battle back in that fashion, scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh, gave the team a lot of confidence going into the MU game. I was really pleased with what Chelsea Jones did for us on the mound and the defense was great as well. I think we hit better against Missouri than we did all weekend, so that was exciting to see."
Game 1 vs. Southeast Missouri State
Missouri State would rally in the second. Stacia Boeckstiegel walked and Heather Duckworth legged out an infield single. A throwing error on the SEMO shortstop put runners on second and third with one out. With two outs, Lauren Eisenreich laced a single to centerfield that plated both runners as MSU drew within one run.
After SEMO added a run in the fourth inning, the Bears would rally when it counted. Rebecca McPherson led off the bottom of the seventh with an infield single. Two batters later, pinch hitter Caitlin Chapin drew a base on balls. With two aboard, leadoff hitter Ashley Brentz lined a single to center to score the first run of the inning. The next batter, Kirstin Cutter, singled to left to plate the tying run.
Stevie Pierce stepped to the plate with the winning run at third base. She sent a slow roller to third base. The runner on third, Brentz, broke for the plate and the SEMO fielder threw to first allowing the winning run to cross the plate.
Chelsea Jones (3-2) fired three relief innings of one-hit ball to hold SEMO in check as the Bears proceeded to rally from behind.
Game 2 vs. No. 13 Missouri
Caitlin Chapin lined a single to centerfield in the third inning for the Bears first hit off of Tiger pitcher Bailey Erwin. In the next inning, Stevie Pierce dropped a double inside the right field line, but got thrown out when trying to stretch the hit to a triple. Then Lauren Eisenreich slammed a double that one-hopped the centerfield wall. But the Bears were unable to piece together multiple hits in an inning.
That all changed in the seventh inning. Pierce led off the inning and dropped a spinning bunt in front of the plate for an infield single. Kerri Cunningham pinch ran and moved to second when Jones reached on a Missouri fielding error. With one out, Heather Duckworth doubled to left-center to plate Cunningham from second and put the tying runs on second and third. But a flyout and a controversial called third strike ended the Bears threat and the game.
The three runs given up to Missouri is the second-fewest runs allowed to the Tigers in the first 12 games of the season.
The Bears will open the home slate with a three-game series against Iowa State at Killian Stadium next weekend. The home opener will be a double header on Saturday, March 10 with the series finale scheduled for Sunday, March 11. Both days, games will begin at 12:00 p.m.