Jones Shuts Out Bradley, 3-0, as Bears Take Series Opener
May 4, 2013
PEORIA, Ill. - Sophomore pitcher Chelsea Jones racked up her 20th complete game of the season and tied a season-high with six strikeouts, notching a 3-0 win for the Missouri State softball team (21-28, 12-11) at Bradley (22-28, 7-16) in the series opener on Saturday afternoon. Jones also drove in a run in the pivotal three-run fourth inning.
"We talk about playing championship caliber ball at this time of the year," said head coach Holly Hesse following the win. "I thought the Bears really did that today. Our players are confident right now and that's what we are looking for going into the conference tournament."
Senior first baseman Stevie Pierce etched her name in the Missouri State record books by tying the school record for home runs in a season. She belted her 10th of the year to lead off the fourth inning, moving up to fourth in school history with her 18th career long ball.
Bears' leadoff hitter Kirstin Cutter added two hits and drove in a run. She maintains the league lead for hits in conference games, now with 34.
In the Bears' first inning, Heather Duckworth drew a two-out walk. Pierce led off the second inning with a walk, the 82nd of her career. The Bears were unable to take the lead in either inning.
With one away in the third, Cutter reached on an infield single. She was replaced at first by Ashley Brentz on a fielder's choice. A Duckworth single up the middle pushed Brentz to second, but both runners were stranded to end the inning.
In the bottom of the third, Bradley threatened to take the lead. The Braves pieced together three singles, but Kerri Cunningham threw out the runner at the plate to end the inning and hold BU off the board.
The Bears broke the scoreless tie in the fourth inning. Pierce led off and sent a deep drive to centerfield. The ball cleared the fence for a home run, the 10th of the season for Pierce, tying the school record for home runs in a season. It was also the 18th of her career, tying her for fourth on the all-time MSU list.
Stacia Boeckstiegel continued the inning with a walk, the third of the game for the Bears. Pinch runner Ciara Flau moved to second on a single through the left side by Lauren Eisenreich. Caitlin Chapin sacrifice bunted both runners into scoring position. Jones was sent up to hit and flied deep enough to right to score Flau from third. Cutter beat out an infield single, scoring the third run of the inning.
That would be all the offense Jones would need. She cruised through the final three innings allowing no hits and just a single base runner.
Missouri State will close out the regular season with a doubleheader against the Braves at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Bears will then travel to the MVC Tournament in Omaha, Neb., from May 9-11.