Softball suffers one-run losses at Tulsa Festival
The Missouri State softball team made seventh-inning rallies in both of their games Sunday at the Holiday Inn Select Tulsa Festival, but fell a run short in each contest as the Bears lost 3-2 to Eastern Illinois and 6-5 to Tulsa in eight innings, at the Donna J. Hardesty Sports Complex in Tulsa, Okla. The Bears fell to 7-8 on the season with the two losses.
In the first game of the day, Eastern Illinois jumped out to a 1-0 first inning lead when Sandyn Short doubled to drive in Sarah Coppert, who had singled. The Panthers added another run in the top of the fifth, as Angela Danca laced an RBI single to give EIU a 2-0 lead. Missouri State answered with a run in the bottom of the frame, as the Bears turned a walk and hit batsman into a run as junior Lacie Ballard was driven in by freshman Dusti Foster, who reached on an error.
Eastern Illinois collected three hits in the top of the seventh to score a run and take a 3-1 lead. Missouri State rallied in the bottom of the seventh, as Foster led off the inning with a double. After a lineout and flyout, freshman Jodie Shead got the Bears within a run with an RBI double to left field. Shead would advance no farther, however, as sophomore Jessie Smith grounded out to end the game.
Freshman Megan Ramsey suffered the loss on the mound, surrendering two runs on four hits. Ramsey struck out one and walked one as she dropped to 2-2 on the season. Junior Melissa Porche pitched 2.2 innings in relief, allowing four hits and one run. EIU’s Karyn Mackie (2-1) went the distance for the Panthers, allowing three hits and one earned run.
In the final game of the tournament, host Tulsa took a 2-0 third-inning lead when Sara Dyer tripled to drive in two Golden Hurricane runners. Tulsa added two more in the fifth inning, as Lauren Lindsay hit an RBI double and Dyer picked up an RBI single to make it 4-0. Missouri State fought back in the top of the sixth, as the Bears used a walk, a single by Porche, and a Tulsa fielding error to cut the lead to 4-1 with runners at second and third. Junior Jana Shewmaker then doubled down the right field line to score Porche and pinch-runner Carrie Roberson and pull the Bears within one run at 4-3.
Needing a run to extend the game in the top of the seventh, senior Katie Martin reached on a fielding error with one out. Following a Shead strikeout, Smith kept the Bears alive with a double to left field to score Martin and even the score at 4-4. After a one-two-three bottom of the seventh, the Bears took a 5-4 lead in the top of the eighth, as Shewmaker picked up her ninth RBI of the tournament on a groundout to score Porche. Tulsa responded in the bottom of the eighth, as Lindsay scored the tying run on a fielder’s choice. Vanessa Vice then hit a walk-off double down the right field line to give the Golden Hurricane a 6-5 win.
Porche (5-4) suffered the loss on the mound in relief, allowing four runs, only one earned, on four hits in four innings. Ramsey started and allowed two runs, none earned, and four hits in three innings. Jackie Lawrence (3-2) pitched all eight innings for Tulsa, allowing two earned runs on four hits.
With the victory, Tulsa claimed the tournament championship. Missouri State's Porche and Shewmaker were named to the 13-player all-tournament team.
Missouri State will play its home opener on Wednesday, Feb. 28, as the Bears take on Oklahoma State in doubleheader action, with game one starting at 3 p.m. at the Missouri State Softball Field.