Softball Bears Drop Home Opener to SIU Edwardsville, 5-1



The Missouri State softball team (2-4) dropped its home opener, 5-1, to visiting SIU Edwardsville (6-9) at Killian Stadium this afternoon.  Cougars' pitcher Erika Taylor held the Bears to just two hits and helped SIUE to its first-ever win in Springfield.

Missouri State junior hurler Natalie Rose cruised through the first inning needing just five pitches to retire the side.  But she ran into trouble in the second inning.  The Cougars posted three runs after a two-run home run by Taylor Tooley and a solo shot by Brianna Fulginiti.

The Bears responded in the bottom half of the frame.  Senior infielder Ashley Knehans led off by drawing a walk.  Pinch runner Kerri Cunningham stole second base, the first steal of her career.  After a flyout, sophomore catcher Madison Hargrove drove Cunningham in with an RBI single.

SIUE would get the run back in the top of the third.  Two straight singles to begin the inning saw the Cougars with runners at second and third with no outs.  Whitney Davis flew out to center field, but it was deep enough to drive in the run.  MSU's Rose limited the damage and was able to escape the inning only giving up the one run.

Freshman pitcher Savannah Wiggins spelled Rose on the mound to begin the fourth inning.  She held the Cougars to just four hit and one run over the final four innings.

Missouri State threatened again in the fourth inning.  The Bears loaded the bases on walks by Knehans, Raeven Replogle and pinch hitter Stevie Pierce.  But a fielder's choice groundout by Ashley Brentz ended the scoring threat and kept the Bears scoreless in the inning.

The Bears registered a fourth-straight errorless game as the defense continues to be the best in the league.  MSU's .988 fielding percentage is tops in the Valley and the two errors on the season is the fewest among league schools.

Missouri State will travel to Saint Louis to play in the Saint Louis Breast Cancer Awareness Tournament this weekend.  The Bears will face Southeast Missouri State at 3:30 p.m. and host-school Saint Louis at 5:30 p.m. Friday.  MSU plays UMKC at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday and round out the tournament with an 11:00 a.m. tilt with No. 17 Missouri on Sunday.



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