Rose Shines Again in Bears' 2-1 Win Over Minnesota
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Junior Natalie Rose turned in yet another dominant performance in the circle to lift the Missouri State softball team past Minnesota, 2-1, Wednesday afternoon at Killian Stadium. The right-hander struck-out seven batters and held the Golden Gophers to just three hits to pitch the Bears to their third win over a Big Ten foe this season.
The Bears took advantage of a two-out Minnesota error in the bottom of the fourth inning to snap a string of 15 consecutive scoreless innings and tally their only two runs of the afternoon against Gopher starter Sara Moulton.
From there, Rose took care of the rest, allowing just a two-out homer to Sara DuPaul in the top of the seventh en route to her fifth victory of the season.
Jenna Schwark scored what would prove to be the game-winning run and paced the Missouri State offense with two of the Bears' five hits on the day.
Both starting pitchers were on their respective games early, as neither club could muster any offense through the first three innings. Rose fanned the last two batters of the first inning and the lead-off hitter in the second before she plunked Dannie Skrove to give the Golden Gophers their first baserunner of the day. But Rose would avoid any damage by getting DuPaul to hit a soft liner to second, which Christa Gammon tossed to first to complete the inning-ending double play.
Moulton was equally impressive for Minnesota, striking out four of the first six Missouri State batters of the contest. She retired the first two batters in the third before Tyler Porter beat out a slow roller to short for the first hit of the game for either club.
The Bears finally got the ball rolling in the fourth when Kirstin Cutter lined a one-out single to left to spark MSU's game-changing rally. Schwark followed by dropping a base hit of her own into left, but Stevie Pierce took a called third strike for the second out of the frame. Ashley Knehans then delivered the key blow, lofting a towering fly ball to deep left-center that Aubrey Davis could not quite reel in, allowing Cutter and Schwark to come all the way around for a 2-0 MSU lead.
Rose wouldn't allow a hit until a two-out single by Allie Siu in the fifth. She would work around a one-out hit and an error on Porter in center the following inning by striking-out Jessie Hathaway and coaxing a ground ball off the bat of Alex Davis. She quickly retired the first two hitters in the seventh before DuPaul deposited her first career home run over the wall in left to slice the lead in half.
But on her very next pitch, Rose fielded a bunt attempt from Siu and fired it to Knehans at first to close out her eighth complete-game of the season and stop MSU's three-game skid.
Moulton (14-7) was saddled with the loss after striking-out eight and giving up just the two unearned runs on five hits in a complete-game effort.
Next, Missouri State (8-9) continues its home stand with a 2:30 game Thursday (March 17) against the same Minnesota (15-11) squad at Killian Stadium.