Softball Drops Extra-Inning Affair in Opening Round of MVC Tournament
May 9, 2013
OMAHA, Neb. - The Missouri State softball team (22-30) saw its season come to an end with a 4-2 extra inning setback to Evansville (21-29) in the opening round of the MVC Softball Championship in Omaha, Neb., on Thursday afternoon.
"I thought our team did a great job of playing hard, played well, played a heck of a game," said head coach Holly Hesse. "You know, it didn't go our way, but I couldn't ask for a better effort and leadership from our seniors. I'm just really proud of how they represented our University and themselves."
Missouri State pitcher Chelsea Jones threw all eight innings, her 22nd complete game of the season. She struck out two Purple Aces and worked out of a couple jams to keep the Bears in the game. It was Jones' 47th appearance, tied for the second most in a season in Bears' history.
Mary Stephens led off the Bears' second inning with a deep drive to right-center. But it hung up long enough for the UE rightfielder to get back to the wall and rob her of a home run.
In the Bears' third inning, senior Caitlin Chapin picked up the first MSU hit of the game. Two batters later, she stole second, her eighth successful steal in as many attempts this season. But a questionable call on an appeal stranded Chapin to end the inning.
Evansville got a leadoff double in the fourth and converted it into the first run of the game. MSU pitcher Jones limited the UE inning to just the one run with a pair of short fly balls to strand two runners.
Stephens continued to make solid contact in her second at-bat. She singled up the middle with two away in the fourth inning. Stevie Pierce followed and sent a deep fly to left, but the wind held the ball in play and it was caught in front of the wall in foul territory ending the inning.
Stacia Boeckstiegel led off the fifth for MSU. She left no doubt with a deep drive to left, easily clearing the fence for her fourth home run of the year.
The Purple Aces regained the lead in the sixth. A leadoff walk and wild pitch moved the runner into scoring position. A two-out RBI single by UE's Alicia Betancur, the second of the game for her, put UE ahead, 2-1.
The Bears battled back in the bottom of the inning. Kirstin Cutter singled through the right side to start the frame. She moved to second when Heather Duckworth drew her 18th walk of the year. Stephens flew deep to right, but a slow throw back to the infield allowed Cutter to score all the way from second. Stephens was credited with a sac fly and an RBI on the play.
Evansville got back-to-back doubles to start the eighth inning, scoring the first run of the frame. A single and a walk loaded the bases and it appeared that Jones would work out of the inning without further damage. However, a looping spinner fell behind the circle plating another run, but Cutter threw out the next runner at the plate ending the inning.
In the Bears' eighth, Kerri Cunningham led off with a bunt single. Two batters later, Ashley Brentz singled to centerfield giving the Bears a pair of runners. A foul pop up and fly ball to right ended the threat and the Bears' season.
The Bears conclude the season with a .284 batting average, the third best single season in program history. MSU's 386 hits, 227 runs scored and 28 home runs are all top-4 single season totals.