Bears Split with Bradley on Final Day of Regular Season
May 5, 2013
PEORIA, Ill. - The Missouri State softball team (22-29, 13-12) split a regular season-ending doubleheader at Bradley (23-29, 8-17) in Peoria, Ill., on Sunday afternoon. The split puts the Bears as the No. 6 seed in next week's MVC Tournament where they will face Evansville in opening round action.
Sophomore pitcher Chelsea Jones continued an impressive stretch of conference outing to wrap up the regular season. In game one, she tossed another complete game, allowing just one run for her 15th victory of the season. She improved to 6-1 in her last seven conference decisions.
Senior Kirstin Cutter had a base hit in game one. It was her 35th hit in conference play, the most this season by any Valley player.
Game 1 - Missouri State 3, Bradley 1
MSU looked to up the lead in the second. Stevie Pierce singled to begin the frame. Stacia Boeckstiegel followed and was hit by a pitch. It was the 10th time this season Boeckstiegel was plunked, tying the school record for a season. Lauren Eisenreich successfully moved Pierce and pinch runner Ali Trickey into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. However, both runners remained on base as the inning came to an end.
The Bears again threatened in the fourth. Stephens started the inning with a single through the left side. Pinch runner Ciara Flau moved to second as Boeckstiegel scorched a single off the third baseman's glove. Both runners were stranded though to end the inning.
Missouri State did extend the lead in the fifth. Kirstin Cutter singled through the left side with one away in the inning. Brentz drew a walk. Then with two outs, Stephens singled to left after working the count full, driving home Cutter from second. Pierce followed and drew her 20th walk of the year to load the bases, but a foul out limited the Bears' inning to one run.
The Bears continued to add to the lead in the sixth. With one away, pinch hitter Rebecca McPherson doubled over the left fielder's head. Kerri Cunningham followed and tripled over the right fielder, pushing the Bears lead to 3-0.
Bradley was able to get a run back in the sixth, but Jones worked out of trouble in the final two innings to seal the victory. It was Jones' 15th win and 21st complete game of the year.
Game 2 - Missouri State 1, Bradley 3
In the third inning, freshman Braxton Coil singled to left with one away. Pinch runner Trickey moved to second on a sac bunt by Cunningham. However, the Bears were not able to pull even.
Brentz began the Bears' fourth inning with a solid single back up the middle. She moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Duckworth. A passed ball allowed Brentz to move to third and she scored on a single up the middle by Stephens. Pierce walked for the 84th time in her career to extend the inning, but the Bears stranded a couple runners to end the inning.
Bradley regained the lead in the bottom of the fourth on another solo home run. In the Bears' fifth, Coil drew a leadoff walk. She moved to second on a groundout and was replaced with pinch runner Bethany Sullinger. A sacrifice bunt by Cutter moved the runner to third, but the Bears were unable to get her home.
The Braves tacked on a run in the sixth and held on for a 3-1 win.
The Bears will travel to the MVC Tournament in Omaha, Neb., from May 9-11. Missouri State is the six-seed and will face Evansville at 1:35 p.m. on Thursday in the opening round. The winner will face No. 3-seed Illinois State at 6:35 p.m. Thursday.