Hargrove's Walkoff Single Gives Softball Bears Comeback Win, Series over UNI
Sophomore Madison Hargrove went 2-for-4 including a walkoff single in the eighth inning as the Missouri State softball team (11-10, 2-1) took the final two games of the Valley series against UNI (14-13, 1-2) at Killian Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Bears scored a 6-5 win in the completion of Saturday's suspended game and rallied for a 3-2 extra-inning win in the series finale.
Freshman hurler Savannah Wiggins started the second game of yesterday's doubleheader and settled in after UNI scored a run in the first inning. She returned to the circle for the resumption of the game and cruised through the fifth inning allowing just the one run. After allowing three runs in the sixth, Natalie Rose came on to shut the door and secure the win.
Wiggins began the series finale as well. Again, she settled in after allowing two first inning runs. After six and a third innings, she was spelled by Rose who continued to shutdown the Panther offense. With the wins, Missouri State moves to 7-0 on the season in games that Wiggins has started.
In game two of yesterday's doubleheader, MSU evened the score in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Ashley Knehans. But inclement weather suspended the game in the top of the third inning with the teams tied at 1-1.
When the game resumed today, the Bears jumped ahead in the third inning. Leadoff hitter Christa Gammon singled to start the rally. Kirstin Cutter singled and Jenna Schwark walked to load the bases for the Bears. With Knehans at bat, UNI pitcher Jaye Hutcheson uncorked a wild pitch allowing Gammons to score the go-ahead run.
Missouri State tacked on another run in the fourth inning. Raeven Replogle drew a lead-off walk and Tyler Porter drove her in with a single later in the inning.
The Bears added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Cutter and Schwark each singled to start the inning. Caitlin Chapin plated the first run with an RBI groundout. Lauren Eisenreich singled and drove in the second run of the inning. Replogle stole home to give the Bears a three-run inning and 6-1 lead.
UNI rallied and got four runs in the top of the sixth inning, but Bears' hurler Rose came on to save the win for Wiggins.
In the series finale, MSU had to rally from an early two-run hole. In the second inning, Replogle reached and advanced to second on a double error by UNI. A two-out single by Hargrove scored Replogle from third and cut the Panthers' lead to 2-1.
In the third inning, Cutter began the Bears rally with a single. She moved to second on a Schwark sacrifice bunt and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Knehans laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached base as Cutter beat the throw to the plate as the Bears evened the score at 2-2.
The teams would battle into the eighth inning knotted at 2-2. After Rose squashed an attempted UNI rally in the top of the inning, Replogle got it started for MSU. She led off the inning grounding to third, but the ball trickled through Whitney Plein's legs allowing Replogle to reach base. Eisenreich advanced her to second with a sacrifice bunt and set the table for Hargrove. Hargrove lined an 0-1 pitch into left field to plate Replogle for the walkoff win.
The series win is the first for the Bears over UNI since a three-game sweep in Cedar Falls, Iowa, in 2006. Missouri State now leads the all-time series, 38-36.
The Bears next game will be against Oklahoma State on Tuesday, March 22, with a 5:00 p.m. tilt at Killian Stadium. The Bears will then travel to Indiana State for a three-game conference series next Saturday and Sunday in Terre Haute, Ind.