Softball Bears Drop 3-2 Contest at No. 15 Oklahoma State



STILLWATER, Okla. -- Chelsea Garcia’s lead-off home run in the bottom of the fifth inning broke up a scoreless pitcher’s duel and sparked a three-run rally that propelled 15th-ranked Oklahoma State past the Missouri State Bears, 3-2, Tuesday evening at Cowgirl Stadium. The Cowgirls got a standout performance in the circle from senior right-hander Anna Whiddon, who fanned 11 batters while limiting the Bears to just two hits.

Whiddon earned her 16th victory of the season after holding the Bears in check throughout the complete-game effort. After Tyler Porter drew a one-out walk in the top of the first, Whiddon retired 14 straight MSU hitters before Ashley Knehans led-off the sixth with her team-leading fifth homer of the season to break up the OSU pitcher’s no-hit bid.

MSU starting pitcher Lauren McGinley was nearly as effective as Whiddon, permitting just a pair of Alysia Hamilton base hits and a Mariah Gearhart bunt single through the first four innings of play.

But Garcia’s blast to left field ignited an Oklahoma State rally, as Breana Casaus followed with a walk and Gearhart added another bunt single to set up the Cowgirls decisive inning. After a Katelyn Bright sacrifice and another walk-this time to Hamilton-loaded the bases, McGinley was called for an illegal pitch, allowing Casaus to trot home with OSU’s second run of the frame. Julie Ward capped the scoring for the Cowgirls with a base hit to center that brought in Gearhart and handed the home team a three-run advantage.

Caitlin Chapin gave the Bears a glimmer of hope with one out in the top of the seventh, delivering her fourth home run of the season to draw MSU to within 3-2.

But Whiddon closed the door by striking out Alaina Burkhart and getting pinch-hitter Delayna Gary to ground to third to push OSU’s season mark to 30-7.

Gearhart went 2-for-3 for OSU, and Hamilton reached base in all three plate appearances to lead the Cowgirl offensive attack.

McGinley (3-7) was tagged with the loss after giving up all three OSU runs on six hits in 5.0 innings of work.

The loss marked the Bears’ ninth one-run setback of the season and their fifth straight in the series with the Cowgirls.

Up next, Missouri State (8-18, 3-3 MVC) will visit Creighton for a three-game MVC set, beginning with a 2 p.m., doubleheader Friday at Creighton Sports Complex in Omaha, Neb.


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