Missouri State Starts Busy Week with Win over UNC
March 18, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Missouri State softball team (16-8) picked up its third home victory of the season and started a stretch of four games in three days with a 4-1 win over visiting Northern Colorado (7-23) at Killian Stadium on Tuesday. MVC Pitcher of the Week Chelsea Jones earned her eighth win of the season win four solid innings of work. With the win, MSU is now 5-1 all-time against Northern Colorado, including a win in 1974 to win the AIAW National Championship.
"We have a lot of games this week and our goal was to get a little momentum with a win today," said head coach Holly Hesse. "We played really well on defense and came up with some big plays. We scored early, scored in the first inning, which is a key for our offense. Chelsea (Jones) did a nice job against a good hitting team holding them to just one run and (Erin) Struemph came in a closed the door."
Sophomore Bethany Sullinger led the MSU offense with a 2-for-3 outing at the plate. She drove in two runs, including the eventual game-winner.
Freshman pitcher Erin Struemph tossed three no-hit innings and recorded three strikeouts for her third save of the season. In the process, Struemph lowered her league-best ERA to 2.13.
MSU jumped into the lead in the bottom of the first. Ashley Brentz drew a leadoff walk, her team-best 13th of the year. Kerri Cunningham followed and beat out a bunt single. Brentz advanced to third as the throw got away from the UNC fielder covering first. After Cunningham stole second, Chelsea Jones flew to deep center field to drive in the first run of the game. Sullinger doubled the lead with a single to right, her 22nd RBI of the year.
Northern Colorado trimmed the lead to one in the top of the second. Back-to-back two-out hits put UNC on the board.
Missouri State got back on the offensive in the fourth. Heather Duckworth drilled a leadoff double to right-center to spark the rally. Stacia Boeckstiegel then singled to left getting Duckworth over to third. After Boeckstiegel stole second, Erin Duewel reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases. Another fielder's choice at home kept the bases loaded. Boeckstiegel would score on the next play after a passed ball got away from the UNC catcher.
In the fifth inning, MSU tacked on another run. Brentz singled to center to begin the inning. Cunningham sacrificed her to second with a successful bunt. Two batters later, Sullinger picked up her 23rd RBI of the year with a double to right-center.
Struemph entered the game in the top of the fifth after a leadoff double. She shut down the UNC offense, not allowing a hit and just three base runners over the final three innings.
Missouri State will travel to Kansas City on Wednesday for a 2:00 p.m. doubleheader against UMKC (9-14). MSU will return to Killian for the series finale against Bradley on Thursday with a 4:00 p.m. first pitch.