Softball Bears Fall to Buffalo, Colorado State at Sleep Inn Classic
DENTON, Texas -- The Missouri State softball team came up on the short end of a pair of one-run decisions Friday (Feb. 19) on the first day of action at the Sleep Inn Classic. Buffalo plated the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning to score a 1-0 victory in the Bears' tourney opener, and Colorado State scored a pair of fourth-inning runs to rally for a 3-2 win in the nightcap, sending MSU to its fifth loss in as many contests in 2010.
With the two setbacks the Bears have now lost 10 straight contests dating back to last season, matching the longest losing streak on record at Missouri State.
For the second straight weekend, senior right-hander Lauren McGinley turned in a standout performance in the circle to give the Bears a shot at their first victory in game one. Just as she did in last Saturday's season-opener against Michigan State, McGinley worked a complete-game, holding Buffalo to just six hits in 6 1/3 innings.
The Bulls scored the decisive run with one out in the seventh on McGinley's throwing error, the Bears' lone miscue of the day. Jessica Griffin led-off the frame with a single up the middle, before Alexandra Bejarano moved pinch-runner Dominique Carcone to second with a sacrifice bunt. McGinley then coaxed a grounder from Candice Sheehan, but threw wide of the bag at third to allow Carcone to come all the way around with the winning tally.
McGinley (0-2), who worked around UB scoring opportunities in the first and fourth innings, was charged with the hard-luck loss, while Sharon Barr was (1-0) credited with the victory after blanking MSU on four hits in a complete-game effort. Barr recorded 12 straight outs from the first through the fourth innings as part of a stretch in which she sat down 16 of 17 Bear hitters.
Game two saw Missouri State snap a string of 15 straight scoreless innings, as freshman Caitlin Chapin belted her first collegiate home run in the second inning to give the Bears a 2-1 advantage. Chapin unloaded on a Kelsey Jo O'Brien offering and deposited the ball over the center field fence after Stevie Pierce had started the inning with a single to right.
Chapin's blast followed a lead-off, solo shot from the Rams' Rebecca Penland in the top half of the second that put CSU on top, 1-0.
Penland was right in the middle of the Rams' critical two-run rally in the fourth, reaching base with a single to right off Natalie Rose with one out to get the ball rolling. Allison Majam followed with a double to right-center to move Penland to third, and Ashley Munoz drove home the two CSU baserunners with what would prove to be the game-winning double.
MSU threatened to even the score in the fifth, as Christa Gammon reached via an infield single to lead-off the inning, and Ashley Knehans drew a two-out walk.
But CSU reliever Kelli Eubanks got Pierce to go down swinging to end the threat, then retired the final six MSU hitters of the contest in order to close out the win for the 3-4 Rams and earn her first save of the season.
Rose (0-2) was tagged with her second straight loss, despite allowing just six hits in a complete-game effort.
In addition to Chapin's homer, Jenna Schwark sparked the MSU offense with a 2-for-3 day against the Rams to extend her current hitting streak to six games.
Missouri State will be back in action Saturday (Feb. 20) morning with a pair of games at the Sleep Inn Classic, beginning with a 10 a.m., match-up against Arkansas. The Bears' second game of the day verrsus Sam Houston State is slated for a 3 p.m., start.