Softball Bears Top SEMO for First Victory of Season



COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The Missouri State softball team snapped a 12-game losing streak Saturday with a 7-3 victory over Southeast Missouri State in its first game of the day at the Missouri Breast Cancer Awareness Tournament, then dropped an 8-0 decision to fourth-ranked Missouri in its nightcap.

MSU scored three times in the first three innings of its contest with SEMO before getting a fifth-inning grand slam from freshman Stevie Pierce to put the game out of reach. Senior right-hander Lauren McGinley worked her fourth complete game of the season, allowing just three runs on five hits to earn the victory. 

The Bears got on the board with a single tally in the second inning, courtesy of a Jenna Schwark two-out single that plate Lauren Eisenreich, who led off the frame with a base hit off SEMO starting pitcher Whitney Dupuis.

MSU struck again the following inning after the Redhawks knotted the score in the top of the third on a Renee Kertz RBI-single. After Alaina Burkhart walked to start the the MSU third, Ashley Knehans belted her second home run of the season to stake the Bears to a 3-0 lead.

Burkhart started another MSU rally in the fifth, drawing the first of two straight walks issued by releiver Stefanie Barnes to lead off the inning. Taylor Farley followed a walk to Knehans with a single to left to load the bases for Pierce, who delivered a grand slam for her first collegiate homer.

McGinley (1-3) made the 7-1 margin stand, allowing a pair of SEMO runs in the sixth before closing out the win.

Burkhart enjoyed her best day as a Bear to date, reaching base in all four of her plate appearances. The junior transfer went 2-for-2 with a pair of runs scored in addition to her two key walks.

In the Bears second game of the day, Mizzou plated three runs in both the first and third innings to eliminate all doubts about the outcome. Kristin Nottelmann pitched a complete-game one-hitter for the 11-2 Tigers. Nottelmann faced just one batter over the minimum in the five-inning affair, striking out seven Bears to improve to 2-1 on the year.

MU got run-scoring hits from a pair of freshmen in the first inning, as Nicole Hudson came through with an RBI-double to center that plated Rhea Taylor to open open the scoring, and Jenna Marston drove in a pair of baserunners with a two-out single off MSU starter Natalie Rose.

The Tigers scored three times with two out in the third, as Marston delivered another run-scoring single before being chased home on Gina Schneider's two-run double to left.

Missouri added a single tally in the fourth on Hudson's second RBI-hit of the game, then ended the game the following inning when Abby Vock came around on a passed ball to enact the eight-run rule.

Rose fell to 0-3 on the season after allowing seven runs on nine hits in 4.0 innings of work.

Missouri State (1-8) will wrap up play in Columbia with two more games Sunday. The Bears will face Saint Louis at 11:30 a.m., then take on UMKC at 3:30 to close the tournament.



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