Missouri State Softball Drops Series Finale to SIU, 9-5
March 30, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Missouri State softball team (20-11, 3-3) couldn't hold a first-inning lead in a 9-5 loss in the series finale with Southern Illinois (15-15, 4-4) on Sunday afternoon at Killian Stadium.
Ashley Brentz continued her impressive weekend with two more hits against the Salukis, giving her six hits in the three-game series. She also scored twice in Sunday's finale.
Kerri Cunningham also added two hits, her fourth and fifth of the weekend. She scored as well in today's game.
The Bears got on the board in the first inning, the 14th time on the season that MSU tallied a run in the first frame. Brentz began the game with a single to left field. Cunningham followed with a bunt single. Two batters later, Bethany Sullinger was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Then with two away, Stacia Boeckstiegel was also hit, pushing home the first run of the game. It was the 19th time in her career, four shy of the school record.
SIU got on the board in the third inning. With two outs, a single, stolen base and an MSU fielding error allowed the tying run to cross the plate.
The Salukis took over the lead in the fourth. A leadoff triple sparked SIU to a two-run inning and a 3-1 lead. SIU tacked on three more runs in the fifth to push the advantage to 6-1.
The Bears rallied in the bottom of the fifth. With one away, Brentz and Cunningham singled back-to-back. Chelsea Jones stepped in and drilled a double off the third base bag into the left field corner driving in the first run of the inning. Sullinger flew to left, deep enough to score Cunningham from third. Heather Duckworth continued the inning with a double just over the first baseman to score another run. Boeckstiegel roped a single up the middle to keep the rally going, driving home Duckworth. Rebecca McPherson hit the Bears' third double of the inning to right, but Boeckstiegel was held at third. SIU was able to get out of the inning, though, with the tying run still at third.
MSU's momentum would soon be quashed as the Salukis tacked on three more runs in top of the sixth to win the game going away, 9-5.
All four Missouri State pitchers saw action in the game. Erin Struemph began the game and fired four solid innings, striking out three and not allowing a walk. Jessie Van Es pitched one inning of relief and Rachel Brisker made her season debut in the fifth. Chelsea Jones pitched the final 1.2 innings recording a strikeout and not allowing a walk.
Missouri State now embarks on a six-game road trip with a single game at Arkansas on Tuesday followed by three games at Drake next weekend and a make-up doubleheader at Loyola on April 7. The Bears are back home on April 12 and 13 with a three-game series against Indiana State.