Bears Stifled in Home Finale Defeat to Illinois State
April 27, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Missouri State softball team (25-25, 8-15) was on the wrong end of a 3-0 outcome in the home finale against first-place Illinois State (24-24, 16-5) on Sunday morning at Killian Stadium. With the loss, the Bears remain a half game up for the eight-seed in the MVC Tournament, pending the outcome of today's Drake-Indiana State game.
Missouri State's offense was held to just four hits, due in large part to spectacular defensive plays by the Redbird outfielders. The Bears had a home run robbed and a couple other would-be hits taken away by diving catches.
The Bears had the best opportunity early in the game. Chelsea Jones reached second on a two-base error by the ISU centerfielder. Bethany Sullinger was pitched around with four straight balls to earn a walk. Both runners were stranded, however, as a line drive to left was reeled in.
Erin Duewel reached on an infield single with one away in the second. A pair of fielder's choice putouts ended the threat.
Freshman pitcher Erin Struemph cruised through the first two innings allowing just a two-out infield single in the second inning. She ran into trouble in the third inning, tagged with all three runs on three hits in the inning.
Kerri Cunningham reached on a splendid bunt single with one down in the Bears' third inning. With two away, Sullinger singled to left, but Cunningham was thrown out trying to reach third on the play, ending the inning.
Heather Duckworth led off the Bears fourth inning with a deep drive to right-center. The ISU right fielder drifted back and reached over the fence to snag the ball and rob a home run.
In the Bears' fifth inning, Rebecca McPherson looped a ball into shallow right-center, but the Redbird centerfielder made a diving catch taking a hit away. Ashley Brentz reached on an infield single with two outs. Cunningham followed and reached on an error by the ISU shortstop, but the rally ended on a nice running catch by the right fielder on the next play.
Sophomore pitcher Jessie Van Es pitched three solid innings of relief, scattering four hits and holding the deficit at 3-0. Van Es struck out one and did not walk a batter. Chelsea Jones entered and threw the final 1.2 innings. She also struck out a batter and not allowing a walk and giving up just one hit.
The Bears travel to Evansville to conclude the regular season next weekend with a Saturday doubleheader and Sunday single game beginning at noon both days against the Purple Aces.