Offense Erupts in Game 1 Win, Rally Falls Short in Split at EIU
March 22, 2012
The Missouri State softball team (11-9, 1-2) split a doubleheader against Eastern Illinois (12-12) at Williams Field in Charleston, Ill., on Thursday by scores of 8-3 and 4-5. The Bears set season highs with the eight runs, five runs in a single inning and the 11 hits tied a season high in game one.
"It was nice to see everybody contribute on offense," said head coach Holly Hesse. "We had a lot of quality at-bats and that helps with the run production we saw today. It was nice to see our team battle all the way to the end with that level of energy even with both games taking over two hours to play."
Game 1 (Missouri State 8, Eastern Illinois 3)
Kirstin Cutter, Ashley Brentz and Chelsea Jones had two hits apiece. Jones drove in three runs, a career high. The Bears offense erupted for its biggest inning of the season when five runs crossed the plate in the sixth inning.
The Bears jumped out in front in the top of the first inning. Ashley Brentz was hit by a pitch to get on base with one out. Rebecca McPherson lined a single to left and the Bears were in business. Chelsea Jones Followed and laced a single threw the pitcher's legs and into centerfield for an RBI single. Stevie Pierce grounded out, but drove in the second run of the inning. Caitlin Chapin then lined a single to left driving in the third run of the inning.
The Panthers got back in the game in the third inning. After a leadoff walk, EIU got three-straight one-out hits to score twice in the inning and close the gap to a 3-2 Bears' lead.
Missouri State threatened again in the fifth. Brentz blooped a one-out single over the third baseman's head. McPherson walked to give the Bears two aboard, but MSU was unsuccessful in upping the lead.
The Bears added to the lead in the sixth. Heather Duckworth, Lauren Eisenreich and pinch-hitter Stacia Boeckstiegel each had consecutive one-out doubles to plate two runs. Kirstin Cutter laid down a bunt single and Raeven Replogle scored from second on a throwing error by EIU. After a Brentz double put two aboard, Jones lined a single to right center scoring both runners and the Bears pushed the lead to 8-2. The five runs scored in the inning were more than the entire game total for MSU's seven previous games.
The Bears knocked out four doubles and scored eight runs, both season highs. Seven of the nine starters and eight MSU hitters total got hits in the game. The 11-hit output tied a season high set in the season opener against Sam Houston State (Feb. 17).
Game 2 (Missouri State 4, Eastern Illinois 5)
Eastern took the lead in the bottom of the third. With two outs, the Panthers got a single, double and triple, in succession to plate two runs as EIU grabbed a 2-0 lead.
Missouri State bounced back in the fourth inning. Rebecca McPherson singled to start the inning. Chelsea Jones then blasted a double over the right fielder's head that bounced up against the wall. With runners at second and third, the Bears attempted a doubled steal, but the EIU catcher threw the ball away to allow the lead runner to score. The Bears were only able to get one run across and trailed 2-1.
After EIU got two runs in the bottom of the fourth, MSU got them right back in the fifth. Stacia Boeckstiegel was hit by a pitch and Lauren Eisenreich drew a walk to give the Bears two on base. Ashley Brentz grounded to third, but the EIU third baseman's flip to the shortstop was wide, allowing pinch runner Ciara Flau to score from second. The next batter, Erin Duewel, lined an RBI single to center to plate Eisenreich with the second run of the inning.
MSU started a rally in the sixth. Back-to-back one-out walks by Boeckstiegel and Eisenreich gave the Bears a pair of runners. But consecutive infield pop outs thwarted the threat.
EIU got an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth and they would need it. In the top of the seventh, MSU got back-to-back infield singles from Duewel and McPherson. A pair of fielder's choices allowed Duewel to score, but the rally was halted at one run as EIU held on to win, 5-4.
Missouri State will return conference play with a three-game series at Evansville on Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25, with 12:00 p.m. starts scheduled for both days. The Bears are back at Killian Stadium to face the Kansas Jayhawks on Tuesday in a 4:00 p.m. doubleheader before setting back out on the road to play at Drake and at UMKC.