Softball Bears Drop Doubleheader at No. 10 Oklahoma



NORMAN, Okla. -- The Missouri State softball team saw its four-game win streak come to an end Sunday, as the Bears fell twice at No. 10 Oklahoma Sunday, dropping a 1-0 decision in game one before suffering a 9-1 defeat in the nightcap.  Bears junior right-hander Natalie Rose turned in another standout performance in the afternoon's first contest, holding the Sooners to a single run on three hits in a complete-game effort.

The Bears suffered the one-run setback in game one despite out-hitting the Sooners by a 5-3 margin. But OU's Keilani Ricketts was too much for MSU, as the sophomore lefty fanned 12 hitters while walking just two to pick up her 11th win of the season.

Rose was nearly as dominant for Missouri State, striking out nine OU batters in the loss. But Jessica Shults delivered the game's deciding blow with a one-out home run in the bottom of the fourth to give Ricketts all the support she would need.

MSU had scoring opportunities in both the third and fifth innings, but Ricketts escaped damage each time. MSU drew a pair of walks and got a Christa Gammon infield single in the third, only to have a runner leave early before Ricketts struck-out Stevie Pierce to end the inning. The Bears' best opportunity to pull even came in the fifth, when Kirstin Cutter doubled with two out. Ricketts, however, got Taylor Farley to swing and miss at a third strike to squash the threat.

After failing to break through against Ricketts in the first contest, the Bears wasted little time in denting the scoreboard in the second game. Pierce drove a Michelle Gascoigne pitch over the wall in left field with one out in the top of the first to hand MSU what would prove to be its only run of the afternoon.

OU evened things up in the third, as the Sooners loaded the bases with one out courtesy of two walks and a Destinee Martinez single. Haley Nix then drove home the tying run with a fielder's choice grounder, but Rose avoided further damage when Nix was gunned down at second attempting to take an extra base.

The Sooners took control of the game in the fourth when Shults homered for the second time on the afternoon to lead-off the inning. OU tacked on three more runs, as a Bear fielding error and RBI-singles from Cierra Hughes and Martinez continued the rally.

In the bottom of the sixth, Oklahoma loaded the bases via a pair of walks and another Hughes single to set the table for Nix's game-clinching grand slam off freshman pitcher Savannah Wiggins.

Gascoigne (5-3) worked the complete game, giving up just one tally on three hits while punching-out seven Bear hitters.

Rose (4-6) was tagged with the loss after surrendering four runs (three earned) on three hits and three walks over 3 1/3 innings.

Up next, the Bears (7-8) return to Killian Stadium Tuesday (March 15) to begin a seven-game home stand when they take on North Dakota State at 4:30 p.m. MSU will also square off against Minnesota on Wednesday (March 16) and Thursday (March 17), before opening Missouri Valley Conference play Saturday (March 19) with a noon doubleheader against UNI.




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