Jones' Gem, Duckworth's RBIs Give Bears Split at UMKC
April 3, 2012
The Missouri State softball team (16-14, 4-5) got a pitching gem from Chelsea Jones and clutch RBI from Heather Duckworth to rally for a split at UMKC (15-19) in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday. After the Bears dropped game one, 7-3, MSU rallied for a 4-2 win in the second game.
"This was a great effort to rebound after the first game," said head coach Holly Hesse. "We got some clutch hits to lead off innings and drive in runs when we needed it most. And Chelsea was phenomenal in the circle taking a no-hitter to the seventh inning."
Duckworth led the Bears' offense with a 3-for-6 day that included four runs batted in and another run scored. She now has a team-leading 13 RBI this season. Caitlin Chapin went 3-for-5 with a walk and all four times that she reached base were to lead off an inning. Stevie Pierce had an RBI, a run scored and walked twice.
Freshman pitcher Chelsea Jones was dealing in game two. After a leadoff walk came around to score, she retired 18 of the next 19 hitters (fielding error) to take a no-hitter into the seventh inning. She scattered two hits in the final inning before Natalie Rose nailed down the win with her third save of the season.
Game 1 (Missouri State 3, UMKC 7)
UMKC forged ahead in their half of the third. Singles by three of the first four batters of the inning brought around the first run of the game. Rose struck out the final batter to limit the damage to just one run.
Missouri State continued to get base runners on in the fourth. Chelsea Jones legged out a one-out infield single. Stevie Pierce followed with her team-leading 17th walk. But the UMKC quashed the rally without allowing the Bears to score.
After UMKC scored six in the bottom of the fifth, the Bears rallied in the sixth. Ashley Brentz reached on an infield single with one out. Two batters later, Pierce walked again to get the two-out rally going. Heather Duckworth ripped a double to the left-center gap to plate the first run of the inning. Eisenreich then drew her second free pass of the game to load the bases. A wild pitch and throwing error on the same play allowed two more runs to score, bringing the deficit to 7-3.
The Bears kept battling in the seventh inning. Chapin lead off with a walk. Kerri Cunningham followed and reached on a push bunt single to the vacated second base position. A walk by pinch hitter Stacia Boeckstiegel loaded the bases, but UMKC held and didn't allow a run to score in the inning.
Game 2 (Missouri State 4, UMKC 2)
Missouri State jumped in front in the top of the first. Ashley Brentz reached on an infield single. She came all the way around to score when Heather Duckworth dropped a double past the right fielder.
UMKC tied the game in the bottom of the first without a hit. The leadoff hitter drew a walk and came around to score on two groundouts with a wild pitch sandwiched in between.
In the fifth inning, the Bears got the first base runners since the first inning by either team. Caitlin Chapin singled up the middle to begin the frame. She advanced to second on a bunt single by Kirstin Cutter, but the Bears were unable to produce the go-ahead run.
Missouri State forged ahead in the top of the seventh. Chapin singled to left to lead off the inning, her fourth time on base to lead off an inning on the day. After a sacrifice bunt and infield groundout moved her to third, Stevie Pierce lined a single to left plating the go-ahead run. The inning continued when Brentz singled up the middle. Jones walked to load the bases bringing Duckworth to the plate. Down to her last strike, Duckworth dropped a single into right center scoring two additional runs to give MSU a 4-1 lead.
The Kangaroos broke up the no-hitter in the seventh inning with a leadoff single. Another single and a throwing error allowed the `Roos second run to score, but Natalie Rose came on the retire the final two hitters to preserve the win for Jones.
Missouri State now returns to Killian Stadium for a nine-game home stand beginning on Friday, April 6 with a 12:00 p.m. doubleheader against Bradley. The Bears will play three games against Bradley (April 6 & 7), one against Tulsa (April 11), three against Southern Illinois (April 14 & 15) and two versus Wichita State (April 18) during the home stand. Rally towels will be given out at the April 6 game and t-shirts at the April 11 game. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket window at Killian Stadium on game days.