Softball Bears Drop Heart Breaker to Arkansas, Fall to Sam Houston



DENTON, Texas -- The Missouri State softball team's early-season struggles continued Saturday at the Sleep Inn Classic, as the Bears dropped a 6-5 decision to Arkansas and a 9-2 contest to Sam Houston State. With the two losses, MSU dropped to 0-7 on the year and surpassed the previous Missouri State record for consecutive losses with its 12th straight setback.

The Bears, who closed the 2009 season with five straight losses, eclipsed the previous MSU record of 10 consecutive losses, which came during the 1989 season.

MSU lost its third one-run contest in-a-row in Saturday's opener with Arkansas, despite outhitting the Razorbacks by an 11-7 margin. The Razorbacks plated five runs in the bottom of the second inning, and three UA pitchers held off the Bears' comeback bid.

Arkansas' Jessica Bachkora belted a pair of home runs, including a three-run shot to highlight UA's five-run second inning. The senior outfielder set the tone for the game with a lead-off blast in the bottom of the first inning off MSU starter Lauren Supak. Bachkora went 3-for-4 with four RBIs on the afternoon.

The Razorbacks big inning came after MSU junior Ashley Knehans matched Bachkora's lead-off homer with a solo shot of her own in the top of the second to knot the score at 1-1.

MSU would also answer the Hogs' big second inning with a single tally in the third and two more runs in the fourth. Christa Gammon delivered an RBI-single that brought home Tyler Porter, who had single to start the third frame. The Bears scored twice on four hits the next inning, as Taylor Farley drove in a run with a base hit up the middle, and Porter came through with an RBI-grounder to make it a 6-4 contest.

After Jenna Schwark and Gammon both singled to kick-off the fifth, it appeared the MSU offense would continue to trim the Razorback lead. However, UA reliever Kim Jones retired the next three batters to work out of the jam.

MSU did strike again in the top of the sixth to pull to within one run. Knehans recorded her second hit of the day to start the inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch and moved to third on a Delayna Gary ground-out. Porter then drove in her second run of the day with a single to left.

Freshman Hope McLemore came on in the seventh to record the final out for her second save of the season. Stevie Pierce drew a two-out walk, but McLemore would fan Caitlin Chapin to preserve the victory.

Layne McGuirt (2-0) would pick up the win after striking out five and allowing four runs on seven hits in her four innings of work.

Supak (0-2) shouldered the loss, giving up six runs in just an inning and two-thirds.

In game two, Sam Houston State raced out to a 3-0 lead through three innings, then broke the game wide open with a four-run top of the seventh. Hailey Wiginton powered the Bearkats' offense with a 3-for-5 day at the plate, and the Bears were once again victimized by the long ball. Amy Brown and Brittany Gutierrez each went deep, as Sam Houston pounded out 13 hits against MSU's three pitchers.

The Bears would break into the scoring column until the bottom of the seventh, when Bubba Weiss and Alaina Burkhart posted back-to-back doubles to drive in a pair of runs.Lauren McGinley dropped her third straight decision to start the year, allowing three earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.

SHSU's Tomi Garrison picked up the win with a complete-game effort in which she gave up six hits and four walks.

Missouri State will wrap up its stay at the Sleep Inn Classic Sunday (Feb. 21) with a 2 p.m., contest against host North Texas.



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