Softball Bears Outlast Kansas 13-8 for Fourth Straight Win



LAWRENCE, Kan. -- The Missouri State Bears busted loose with their best offensive showing of the 2009 season Tuesday (March 24) afternoon to defeat Kansas 13-8 at Arrocha Ballpark. MSU took advantage of a pair of KU errors to score three early runs, then blew the game open with an eight-run fifth inning to notch their fourth straight win.


Leading 4-1 entering the fifth, the Bears registered their biggest offensive inning of the season, plating eight runs on six hits and two Jayhawk errors. Raeven Replogle’s one-out single to left produced her second RBI of the afternoon, and Bubba Weiss’s three-run double highlighted an inning that saw MSU send 13 batters to the plate.


Held to just one run on one hit through four innings by MSU junior pitcher Lauren McGinley, KU finally broke through in the bottom of the fifth, getting to McGinley and reliever Natalie Rose for five runs on six hits to close the gap to 12-6. McGinley re-entered the game and shut-down the rally with a pair of strikeouts with the bases loaded to preserve the six run advantage, however.


The Bears’ junior right-hander appeared to have regained control of the contest the following inning after retiring the first two KU batters of the inning. But Val Chapple’s single up the middle kept the inning alive for KU, and Liz Kocon made Missouri State pay by blasting a two-run homer off McGinley to cut the MSU lead to four runs.


However, Missouri State senior shortstop Jessie Smith came through with her fourth hit of the game, a double to left-center that drove home Jenna Schwark with one out in the top of the seventh to give the Bears some additional breathing room. McGinley (8-3) would then close the door on the Jayhawks in the bottom half of the seventh to wrap up her third victory on the Bears’ current four-game win streak.


The victory marked the Bears’ first over the Jayhawks since March 9, 2004, ending a streak of a nine straight losses in the series. Missouri State’s 13 runs and 14 hits represented season highs, and the win upped the Bears’ overall record to 13-12 on the season.


The Bears grabbed control of the contest by scoring three times in the first two innings of the contest, thanks in large part to two errors by Kansas shortstop Stevie Crisosto. Schwark crossed the plate with the first Missouri State run in the top of the first after drawing a leadoff walk, advancing to second on Christa Gammon’s sacrifice bunt, then coming all the way around on Crisosto’s throwing error on a Smith grounder.


Missouri State added two more tallies in the second to build a 3-0 advantage, sparked by Brooke Kempker’s one-out double to right and Crisosto’s second error in as many innings. Replogle was the beneficiary this time, reaching on the KU muff that allowed Kempker to move to third. That set up a double steal by the Bears, with Kempker coming home and Replogle advancing to second. Ashley Arbon followed with an RBI-ground-out to drive in Replogle and push the MSU margin to three runs.


Kansas put a single run on the board in the bottom of the second, as Allie Clark doubled to lead-off the inning and came home on a Brittany Hile sacrifice fly to snap McGinley’s 17-inning scoreless streak.


Replogle answered KU’s run in the fourth, belting a Sarah Vertelka (3-4) offering over the center field fence for her first home run as a Bear. The freshman outfielder would finish the day 2-for-4 with three runs scored, while Jen Carr and Jana Shewmaker also chipped in two hits apiece for the Bears. 


Chapple led the way for KU, going 2-for-3 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored, and Kocon added two hits and three RBIs to the Jayhawks (10-17) attack.


The Bears will continue their tour of the Sunflower State Thursday (March 26), when they travel to Wichita for a Missouri Valley Conference doubleheader with the Wichita State Shockers. Game one at Wilkins Stadium is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m.



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