Knehans' Slam Powers Bears to 8-4 Win, Sunday Split at All-Missouri Classic
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Ashley Knehans’ two-out grand slam in the top of the seventh inning was the difference in the Missouri State softball team’s 8-4, come-from-behind victory over Saint Louis Sunday afternoon at Killian Softball Stadium. The Bears scored six unanswered runs--all on home runs--to overcome a two-run deficit against the Billikens and salvage their final game at the All-Missouri Classic.
Knehans’ second home run of the season came after the Bears loaded the bases on singles by Jenna Schwark, Jessie Smith and Jana Shewmaker. Knehans unloaded on a Stacy Gillette (1-6) offering, launching a no-doubter over the left field wall to put a punctuation mark on a memorable weekend for the Bears.
The comeback for the Bears started in the fifth inning with Missouri State trailing 4-2. Smith kept MSU’s inning alive with a two-out single through the right side, allowing senior catcher Jen Carr the opportunity to deliver a two-run, game-tying shot over the left-centerfield wall for Missouri State’s first home run in its new park.
Freshman Natalie Rose played a key role in the comeback from the circle, holding the Billikens just two hits in four shutout innings of relief work. The Henryetta, Okla., native fanned six SLU hitters and gave up just one walk to earn her third victory as a Bear. Knehans’ slam capped a three-hit game for the sophomore, while Smith was a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate and 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts against SLU.
The win pushed MSU’s season record to 9-7, allowing the Bears to finish the Classic with a 2-2 mark after a 5-0 setback to #12 Missouri earlier in the day.
Missouri freshman pitcher Chelsea Thomas stole the show in that contest, turning in her second consecutive no-hitter to clinch the tournament title for the Tigers. Thomas, who pitched her first career no-hitter in an 8-0 win over SEMO Saturday, allowed just three baserunners against MSU in improving to 8-2 on the year.
After Schwark reached base via an error with two out in the third, Thomas retired the final 13 batters of the game in order. She gave up just a pair of second-inning walks while striking-out five Bears on the afternoon.
Missouri State starting pitcher Lauren Supak (1-3) started the contest with a flurry, working around a one-out double by Andee Allen to strike-out the side in the bottom of the first. The junior right-hander allowed just one hit while holding MU scoreless through the first two innings, but the Tigers’ offense came alive to score five runs on five hits over the next three frames.
Mizzou, which won its four tournament games by a combined 26-3 margin, got on the board in the bottom of the third on an RBI-double by Rhea Taylor, who finished with two hits in the game.
The Tigers (18-3) broke the game open in the fifth after putting their first three batters on base. Kathryn Poet drew a one-out, bases-loaded walk to plate MU’s first run of the inning, and Julie Silver and Gina Schneider delivered RBI-groundouts to make it a four-run contest. Poet then came home on a fielder’s choice after Schneider got caught in a run-down between first and second base that ultimately ended the inning.
All-Missouri Classic - Day Three