Gambill's Walk-Off Caps Exhilarating Comeback in Split with Shockers
April 22, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Freshman Elena Gambill had RBI hits in the bottom of the seventh inning in both games as the Missouri State softball team (25-21, 8-12) split a doubleheader against the first-place Wichita State Shockers (30-18, 17-4) at Killian Stadium on Tuesday. Gambill's walk-off single capped a 6-5 comeback win in game one and her RBI double in game two gave the Bears a chance in a 2-1 loss.
"All three pitchers were great in the circle today," said head coach Holly Hesse. "We did a lot of good things on the field today. I feel like we are better having faced the adversity we have gone through lately.
Freshman pitcher Erin Struemph continued to dazzle in the circle tossing five solid innings for the win in game one. She pitched a perfect 1.1 innings of relief in game two and struck out 11 Shockers on the day.
Junior Chelsea Jones tossed 5.2 innings in a game two start. She took the tough loss on a two run single in the sixth inning. At the plate, Jones had two hits, including a two-run home run in game one. She scored two runs as well.
Sophomore Jessie Van Es also was solid in the circle. She pitched two scoreless innings of relief in game one, picking up a strikeout along the way.
Senior Heather Duckworth was 3-for-5 on the day and drew a walk in both games. She crossed the plate with the winning run in game one and again in the seventh inning of game two.
Game 1 - Missouri State 6, Wichita State 5
The Shockers got on the board in the fourth with a three-run home run by Liz Broyles. MSU answered back in the bottom of the inning. Chelsea Jones reached and advanced to second on an error by the WSU centerfielder. Sullinger walked and Duckworth lined a single off the pitcher to load the bases, sending pinch runner Olivia Roark to third. Duewel followed and drilled a ball to the gap in left-center. The Shockers' left fielder made a diving catch going toward the wall for a sacrifice fly.
WSU upped the lead to 5-1 in the top of the fifth. That was the deficit when the Bears came to bat in the bottom of the sixth. Cunningham started the frame with a bunt single. The Bears got a two-run home run off the bat of Chelsea Jones to chase Wichita State starter Katie Malone and close the gap to 5-3.
Sullinger continued the sixth by being hit by a pitch. Duckworth walked and both runners moved into scoring position on a sac bunt by Duewel. Gambill walked to load the bases and Stacia Boeckstiegel reached on a fielder's choice and Sullinger beat the throw home to get the Bears' within a run.
Struemph re-entered inducing an infield fly and striking out the final Shocker of the game to keep the deficit at one.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Chelsea Jones singled to left. Two batters later, Duckworth kept the game alive with a single to right. Duewel singled to right scoring Jones to tie the game and moved into scoring position on the throw. Gambill stepped in and down to her last strike, singled to center for a walk-off win.
Game 2 - Missouri State 1, Wichita State 2
Missouri State had the first real threat in the second inning. Duckworth singled into right-center with one away. Duewel followed and lasered a triple over the right fielder, but Duckworth was tagged out at the plate on the play.
Boeckstiegel singled to right to begin the third inning. A sac bunt by McPherson moved her into scoring position, but Boeckstiegel only made it as far as third base before the inning ended.
The Shockers loaded the bases in the top of the sixth inning on a pair of singles and a hit by pitch. A two-out single through the left side scored two runs.
Struemph entered and induced a pop out on just two pitches to end the rally. Struemph dominated the seventh inning, striking out all three hitters to step to the plate.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Bears looked to spoil the Shockers day again. With one out, Duckworth walked on four pitches. Two batters later, Gambill worked an eight pitch at-bat into a double into the left field corner, plating Duckworth. Boeckstiegel followed and drove the ball into the left field gap, but the defensive substitute tracked it down to end the game.
The Bears travel to Columbia, Mo., to face No. 15/17 Missouri (35-12) on Wednesday at 5:00 p.m., a game that can be seen live on MC22. MSU will wrap up the home slate on Senior Weekend April 26 and 27 against Illinois State with 12:00 p.m. starts both days at Killian Stadium.