Big Inning Propels Bears to Win over Sycamores in Series Finale
April 13, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - A one-hour rain delay couldn't deter the Missouri State softball team (23-17, 6-8) from putting on one of its most impressive offensive displays of the year in a 9-5 win over Indiana State (22-19, 4-10) in the series finale at Killian Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Bears pounded out 13 hits and scored a season-best six runs in one inning in the victory.
"The team is facing quite a bit of adversity right now," said head coach Holly Hesse. "I thought they did a good job of rising to the occasion both offensively and defensively today. I am really excited about what (Erin) Struemph did all weekend against a good hitting team."
Erin Duewel had a career day at the plate for the Bears. She was 3-for-3 with a home run and four runs batted in. The three hits and four RBI were both career highs for the shortstop. Duewel launched her second home run of the season. She also walked and drove in runs in three different plate appearances.
Sophomore Bethany Sullinger also had three hits in a 3-for-4 outing. She scored a run and drove in two, both coming with two outs to up her league-leading total to 23 two-out RBI.
Senior Ashley Brentz recorded two more hits to take over the team-lead with 40 base hits on the season. She scored twice and drove in a run.
Freshman Erin Struemph earned her first MVC win by tossing 5.1 innings in relief. She picked up two strikeouts giving her 97 for the year.
Indiana State took an early lead in the top of the first inning. A pair of singles sandwiched around two sacrifice bunts gave the Sycamores a 1-0 lead.
The Bears answered back in the bottom of the first. Brentz started the game with a single to left field. Ali Trickey moved her into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Brentz advanced to third on a groundout to the right side by Chelsea Jones. That brought Sullinger to the plate with two outs. She drilled a triple to right to even the game at 1-1. It was the Bears' 15th triple of the year, three shy of the school record for a season.
The Sycamores retook the lead in the second inning. ISU strung together five hits, including a three-run home run to take a 4-1 lead and chase MSU starting pitcher Jessie Van Es from the game.
For the second-straight inning, the Bears responded. Elena Gambill singled to left field to start the rally. Duewel followed and sailed a home run over the right field fence to pull the Bears within a run. Rebecca McPherson continued the inning with a double to the wall in left-center. She advanced to third on a sac bunt by Olivia Roark. Brentz followed and singled to center pushing McPherson home to tie the game. Trickey legged out an infield single. After a passed ball allowed both runners to move into scoring position, ISU starter Yvette Alvarez was lifted from the game. Chelsea Jones flew to right, a sacrifice fly, to give MSU the lead. Again Sullinger stepped to the plate with two outs and singled up the middle to drive in another run. Stacia Boeckstiegel singled to center and Gambill walked to load the bases. Duewel also walked driving home her third run of the inning, chasing the second Sycamores' pitcher of the inning. ISU's third pitcher of the day stranded all three runners, but the damage was done. The six runs in the inning were the most for the Bears since scoring seven in the top of the sixth at Memphis last season.
After neither team scored in the third, the Bears got back to work in the fourth. Chelsea Jones drew a four-pitch walk to begin the inning. Pinch runner Kerri Cunningham moved to second on a single to right by Sullinger. Boeckstiegel sacrificed both into scoring position with a nice bunt. Gambill drew her second walk of the game to load the bases. Duewel stepped in and singled through the left side to drive home her fourth run of the day.
In the fifth inning, MSU added to its lead. Chelsea Jones belted her second home run of the season into the teeth of the wind to left field.
Indiana State manufactured a run in the sixth inning on three hits. Duewel hit a double to left-center in the bottom of the sixth for her third hit of the day. The Sycamores got two aboard in the seventh, but the Bears held for the 9-5 win.
Missouri State handed Indiana State just its fifth loss in 25 times when the Sycamores scored first. Today's 13-hit output was the second-most this season for the Bears.
The Bears raised over $500 for the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks as part of Sunday's Pink Game to raise awareness for breast cancer. Janet Boeckstiegel, Stacia's mother and breast cancer survivor, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to her daughter in a touching moment prior to the start of the game.
MSU heads out on the Valley road for a single game at league-leading Wichita State on Wednesday. The Bears then travel to Cedar Falls, Iowa, for a three game series on Friday and Saturday against preseason MVC favorite UNI. Missouri State returns to Killian Stadium on Tuesday, April 22 for a 3:00 p.m. doubleheader against the Shockers.