Softball Bears split with Evansville
The Missouri State softball team split a Missouri Valley Conference doubleheader Saturday with Evansville, falling in game one, 6-0, before rebounding for a 9-1, five-inning victory in the nightcap at the Missouri State Softball Field. Starter Melissa Porche (10-12) was the pitcher of record in both contests for Missouri State, as the Bears move to 14-20 overall and 3-6 in the MVC. Evansville is now 20-11 and 4-6.
Evansville scored three fourth-inning runs to break a scoreless tie in the first game of the day, as the Purple Aces used an Ashley Warner single and back-to-back doubles from Elisabeth Mooney and pinch hitter Jacki Bradley to grab a 3-0 lead. The Purple Aces added two more runs in the sixth, on an RBI triple by Brittany Herald, and one in the seventh, on a Krista Price solo home run.
Evansville starter Ashley Hobbs kept the Bears’ hitters off balance, allowing only one hit in the first six innings, a Brooke Kempker single in the second. The Bears threatened with back-to-back doubles by Jessie Smith and Michelle Armentrout to start the bottom of the seventh, but came up empty handed when Kempker lined into a game-ending double play. Hobbs (7-3) struck out six in the complete game shutout. Porche gave up three runs on five hits in four innings to take the loss. Freshman Megan Ramsey allowed two earned runs on four hits in three innings of work.
The opening game was delayed nearly 20 minutes by rain in the middle of the third inning.
Missouri State busted out of their offensive slump early in game two, led by the sophomore Kempker. The Bears scored two first-inning runs as Kempker doubled to right-center field to score Porche, who singled, and Armentrout, who reached on a fielder’s choice. Missouri State then broke the game open in the second inning, scoring five runs. Katie Martin singled in between two errors by Purple Aces shortstop Amanda Ockomon. With the bases loaded, Porche drove in pinch runner Carrie Roberson on a fielder’s choice. Armentrout then laced an RBI single down the left field line to score Martin, making it 4-0. Kempker then stepped in and doubled down the right field line for her third and fourth RBIs of the game. Jana Shewmaker extended the lead to 7-0 on an RBI groundout. In the third inning, MSU’s Jessie Smith launched her team-leading fifth home run of the season to score Martin, who singled, concluding the Bears’ scoring.
Porche was effective on the mound in her second stint of action on the day, allowing only a fifth-inning run. Evansville recorded three hits in the fifth, but Porche got UE’s Price to pop up to end the game on account of the run-rule. The Bears’ hurler struck out five batters in the game to move her season total to 143, setting a new career high. With the victory, Porche reached the 10-win mark for the second consecutive season.
Kempker was the star offensively, going 2-for-3 with a career-high four RBIs. Armentrout and Martin joined Kempker with two-hit games as the Bears managed eight hits in the contest. Evansville starter Danny Murphy (7-4) suffered the loss, as she allowed two runs in 0.1 innings. The Purple Aces used four pitchers in the contest.
The teams will play the rubber match of the three-game series Sunday at 12:00 noon at the Missouri State Softball Field. The game can be heard on KBFL (AM 1060).