Softball Finishes Sweep of Shockers in Home Finale Victory, 5-3
April 30, 2013
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Missouri State softball team (20-27, 11-11) put up runs in each of the first four innings and didn't look back in a 5-3 win over Wichita State (18-30, 9-13) in the home finale at Killian Stadium on Tuesday. Senior shortstop Kirstin Cutter made her 200th career start and picked up three hits including a double to lead off the game. She also had her 600th at-bat as a Bear, third-most in school history.
"We always talk about scoring early and scoring first and that really paid off for us today," said head coach Holly Hesse. "It was good to lead from beginning to end. A huge win, to get to 20 wins and huge to get us back to .500 (in conference). I feel like the team is coming together at the right time. I think the senior class is playing really inspired right now. They know their window of opportunity to play is getting smaller and smaller with every game and they are going to make sure they are playing their best here at the end."
Cutter was 3-for-4 in the game sparking the Bears' offense. She scored the first run of the game and drove in a run in the second inning.
Pitcher Chelsea Jones kept the Shockers in check and picked up her third win of the season against Wichita State. She struck out one and did not allow a walk.
The Bears jumped out in front in the bottom of the first. Cutter led off with a double off the third baseman's glove. She easily scored as Ashley Brentz singled up the middle putting the Bears up 1-0. Heather Duckworth followed with a single through the left side, but the rally was thwarted with a fielder's choice and a foul out.
In the second, MSU added to the lead. Lauren Eisenreich started the inning with a single through the right side. Caitlin Chapin moved her to third with a single to right-center. Chapin then stole second, her seventh successful swipe of the season. Then with one away, Cutter reached on a bunt single, driving in the first run of the frame. Brentz grounded out to the right side and picked up a RBI as Chapin crossed the plate.
The Bears continued to add on in the third. Mary Stephens singled up the middle to begin the inning. Pinch runner Ciara Flau moved to second as Stacia Boeckstiegel drew a walk. With two outs, Chapin singled to left to load the bases. MSU sent up Jones to pinch hit and she was hit with an 0-2 pitch, pushing in another run.
After WSU got a run in the fourth, the Bears got back to work. Brentz was hit with a pitch to start the bottom of the fourth. She moved up on a groundout and took third on a fly ball to right. Pinch hitter Amber Dreher singled over the first base bag, driving home Brentz.
The Shockers were able to post single runs in the fifth and sixth, but Jones powered through to hold the lead and pick up the win.
The Bears now travel to Tulsa on Wednesday to play the Golden Hurricane (37-13-1). Tulsa is ranked No. 24 in this week's USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll. Missouri State will travel to Peoria, Ill., to close out the regular season with a three-game series against the Braves this weekend.
With the win, and a Bradley loss, Missouri State mathematically clinched a spot in next week's MVC Tournament. The victory helps the Bears leap-frog Evansville into sixth in the Valley with the top-8 teams getting into the MVC Tournament, which will be held in Omaha, Neb., from May 9-11.