Duckworth, Van Es Lift Bears to Split at Drake on Saturday
April 5, 2014
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Missouri State softball team (21-13, 4-4) got a four-hit shutout from sophomore Jessie Van Es to split a doubleheader at Drake (9-23, 2-6) on Saturday afternoon. The Bears dropped game one, 9-6, before Van Es tossed her second complete game shutout in a 4-0 game two victory.
"Jessie (Van Es) did an extremely good job hitting her targets, moving the ball and changing speeds," said head coach Holly Hesse. "It was a big effort by her to come back and throw a shutout in game two. Brentz had a good day being a tough out at leadoff. Duckworth came through for us at the plate and in the field with that nice double play with the bases loaded."
Senior Heather Duckworth drove in all four runs in the game two win. She had two hits, including her third home run of the season, and a sac fly. She also walked and scored a run in game one.
Fellow senior Kerri Cunningham, junior Chelsea Jones and sophomore Bethany Sullinger contributed three hits apiece on the day. Jones drove in three runs and scored once in game one. Sullinger drove in two and scored a run in game one. Cunningham scored a run in each game.
Game 1 - Missouri State 6, Drake 9
Drake put two runs on the board in the bottom of the third to draw within a run of the Bears. The Bulldogs got two hits, a walk and a sacrifice fly in the inning.
In the Bears' fourth, McPherson doubled to left-center with one down. Elena Gambill followed and drew a walk to give MSU two runners. Braxton Coil lined to right and the fielder made a nice running catch to end the inning.
Cunningham tripled to right-center, her first of the year, with one out in the fifth. Two batters later, Sullinger drove in her 20th two-out run of the season with a single to left-center to push the lead to 4-2.
The Bulldogs rallied for five runs to overtake the lead in the bottom of the fifth with four hits. Drake added two more on a home run in the sixth.
The Bears weren't done though. Brentz walked with one out in the seventh, her 18th base on balls of the season. Duckworth and Sullinger each drew two-out walks to load the bases for Missouri State. Chelsea Jones roped a single past the third baseman to score two. The Bears rally was stopped there in a 9-6 game one defeat.
Freshman Erin Struemph started and threw her seventh complete game of the year. She struck out three, giving her 93 strikeouts on the year.
Game 2 - Missouri State 4, Drake 0
McPherson singled to center to begin the second inning. Three batters later, Brentz drew her second walk of the game, third of the day. But the Bulldogs were able to cut down Cunningham on the next play in a bang-bang play at first.
Duckworth homered to left to start the third inning. Sullinger continued the rally with a single to left. Chelsea Jones followed and ripped a single off the third baseman. Both runners advanced on a sac bunt by Boeckstiegel. On the next play, a missed bunt attempt caught both runners in limbo ending the inning.
The Bears' fifth began with Brentz singling up the middle. After Brentz stole second, Cunningham chopped a single over the pitcher to put runners on the corners. Cunningham promptly stole second on the next play. It was her 19th stolen base of the season, the seventh best single season in school history. Duckworth flew to right scoring Brentz and driving in her fourth run of the game.
Van Es scattered four hits in the shutout win. She struck out three and allowed just six base runners in the game.
The Bears and Bulldogs will wrap up the series on Sunday with a single game at 12:00 p.m. MSU will travel to Chicago for a 11:00 a.m. doubleheader against Loyola at Northwestern's Sharon Drysdale Field. Missouri State returns home on Saturday, April 12 and Sunday, April 13 with a three-game series against Indiana State. Games start at 12:00 p.m. both days. Sunday's series finale will be the Bears' Pink Game. Fans will get free admission with donations to the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks encouraged.