Bears Split on Day One of North Texas Sleep Inn Classic



DENTON, Texas -- The Missouri State softball team fell behind early and never recovered in a 6-1 loss to Iowa State, but bounced back to earn a 2-1 victory in eight innings against North Texas on the opening day of the Sleep Inn Classic at Lovelace Stadium. Ashley KnehansRBI-single scored Tyler Porter with the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to send the Bears their third victory of the season.


Knehans’ hit made a winner out of starting pitcher Lauren McGinley (2-1), who turned in a complete-game effort against the Mean Green in which she allowed just one run on five hits. Porter, meanwhile, was the star at the plate for the Bears, going 2-for-4 and scoring both MSU runs.


In game two, the Bears jumped on top of North Texas after four scoreless innings with a single run in the top of the fifth. After Ashley Arbon popped out to start the frame, Christa Gammon singled to right to start the Missouri State rally. Porter followed with a double, but Gammon was thrown out at the plate on the play for the first out of the inning. Jessie Smith came through with a double that plated Porter for a 1-0 MSU lead.


McGinley was solid for the Bears throughout the contest, working five scoreless innings before allowing a Mean Green run in the top of the sixth. North Texas evened the score on a Mallory Cantler RBI-double to right with two out in the inning. The Bears’ junior pitcher then worked out of a one-out jam in the top of the eighth to set up the Bears’ game-winning rally.


In the day’s first contest, Iowa State grabbed the lead with a three-run second inning, then put the game away on the strength of Jacquelyn Beatty’s three-run homer in the bottom of the sixth.


Iowa State’s Rachel Zabriskie earned her sixth victory of the season after limiting the Bears to just one unearned run and four hits in a complete-game effort. The sophomore fanned five MSU hitters and allowed just one extra-base hit on the day.


ISU’s Carleigh Berry struck the biggest blow of the contest, delivering a two-out, two-run single off Missouri State starting pitcher Natalie Rose in the second inning. The Cyclones took advantage of a touch of wildness from Rose, who hit two batters in the inning and walked in the first run of the game with one out in the frame. The freshman pitcher was one out away from working out of the jam with only one run scored before Berry’s single plated Heidi Kidwell and Anna Bortz to stake ISU to a 3-0 lead.


MSU got on the board in the top of the fourth courtesy of ISU’s only error of the game. Gammon led-off the inning and was hit by a Zabriskie offering. The sophomore advanced to second on a Jenna Schwark sacrifice, and went to third on an infield single by Smith. Zabriskie retired Knehans on a pop-up to shortstop, but an error by ISU catcher Alex Johnson allowed Gammon to come around with the Bears’ lone tally.


The Cyclones tacked on three big runs on Beatty’s blast with one out in the sixth.


Berry keyed the ISU offense, going 3-for-3, while Sydni Jones added a pair of hits for the Cyclones, who improved to 10-1 on the season.


Elysha Swider went 2-for-3 with a fifth-inning double to lead the Bears in game one.


The Bears (3-4) will be back in action Saturday (Feb. 21) at 10 a.m. against Butler. MSU will also square off against MVC foe Wichita State at 12:30 p.m. on day two of the tournament.



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