Bears Fall in Extra Innings at SIU in Controversial Series Finale
April 14, 2013
CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Missouri State softball team (15-24, 6-8) rallied from behind twice and held an extra-inning lead before dropping the series finale to Southern Illinois (19-20, 7-6), with a little help from the crew in blue, 5-4, in nine innings in Carbondale, Ill, on Sunday afternoon.
"I am proud of the way this team battled today," said head coach Holly Hesse. "We came up with big hits, clutch hits. We were two pitches away from a series win."
Kerri Cunningham reached base in all four plate appearances on the day. She had two hits and walked twice.
Sophomore hurler Chelsea Jones was solid in relief tossing seven innings. She got out of numerous jams, including stranding the bases loaded in three different innings. Both of Jones' strikeouts in the game ending innings with the bases loaded.
After SIU took a 1-0 lead in the first, Stacia Boeckstiegel began the top of the second with her fourth double of the season, a shot to left-center. Pinch runner Ciara Flau moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Stevie Pierce. Lauren Eisenreich picked up the RBI on a ground out to short.
The Salukis regained the lead in the bottom of the second, 2-1. MSU looked to tie it again in the third. Kerri Cunningham singled to left and reached second safely on a fielder's choice grounder by Kirstin Cutter. The runners, however, were stranded.
In the Bears' sixth, Ashley Brentz singled to left to start the frame. Heather Duckworth replaced her at first on a fielder's choice. Boeckstiegel was drilled with the first pitch, pushing Duckworth into scoring position. Eisenreich stepped up and lined a single up the middle scoring Duckworth to knot the game at 2-2.
Jones worked out of jams in the fifth and sixth to keep the Bears in the game. In both frames, she recorded an inning-ending strikeout leaving the bases loaded in both innings.
In the top of the eighth, Pierce singled through the left side with one out. Ali Trickey pinch ran and moved to third on an infield single by Caitlin Chapin. After Chapin stole second, Mary Stephens singled up the middle driving in both runners.
In the bottom of the inning, SIU would tie the game in a crazy half inning that included the umpires reversing an out call. For the third time in four innings though, Jones stranded three SIU runners on base.
Missouri State looked to regain the lead in the ninth. With one out, Duckworth singled to right. Boeckstiegel followed, dropping a single into left field. Pierce came up and sent a high fly ball to left-center, but confusion by the SIU fielders allowed the ball to drop, loading the bases. With two outs, Chapin lined a ball to right-center, but the SIU centerfielder made a running catch to keep the Bears off the board.
SIU would get three singles in the bottom of the inning to take the game.
MSU will conclude the road trip with a doubleheader at Wichita State on Wednesday, April 17. The Bears then begin a seven-game home stand on Saturday, April 20 against Evansville. Special events surrounding the doubleheader on the 20th include Barb Gaines' jersey retirement and a celebration of Holly Hesse's 25 years at Missouri State.