Eight-run sixth inning propels Softball to 10-8 win over UNI
Missouri State sent 13 batters to the plate and scored eight times in the bottom of the sixth inning to rally from a four-run deficit and knock off Northern Iowa, 10-8, in Missouri Valley Conference softball action Saturday afternoon at the Missouri State Softball Field.
Trailing 6-2 entering the sixth, Missouri State got back-to-back singles from senior Katie Martin and junior Melissa Porsche to start the rally. With one out, sophomore Brooke Kempker tripled to center field to drive home two and draw the Bears to within one run, and then scored on a Lacie Ballard fielder’s choice to knot the score at 6-6. Freshman Dusti Foster followed with a run-scoring double down the left field line to put the home team on top for good. Sophomore Jessie Smith came through with an RBI triple, and junior Jana Shewmaker added a two-run single to cap a 2-for-4, three-RBI day and give MSU a 10-6 advantage and some much-needed breathing room.
Porsche started the ballgame for the Bears and allowed six runs on six hits over the first five innings before giving way to freshman Megan Ramsey after UNI struck for four runs in the top of the fifth inning. The Panthers plated their first run of the frame on a sacrifice fly by Mandy Kumamoto, then tacked on single tallies via run-scoring hits from Megan Machovec, Ashley Lepley and Stephanie Aguero to take a four-run lead.
Porsche would re-enter the game in the top of the seventh to close out the victory. It was the first save of the season for the Buena Park, Calif., native who led the nation with seven saves a year ago.
UNI’s fifth-inning rally broke a 2-2 tie and a string of three straight scoreless innings. The clubs started the contest by trading two-spots in the first inning, as Lepley brought home UNI’s first run of the game with an RBI double to right-center, then scored on a wild pitch from Porsche moments later. Missouri State answered with consecutive RBI doubles from Porsche and Shewmaker to even the score in the bottom of the frame.
Ramsey (5-6) picked up the win for the Bears, allowing a pair of runs on four hits in one inning of relief. Jen Larsen (8-9) retired just one of the seven batters she faced and gave up four runs in all to shoulder the defeat for UNI.
For the second straight day, game two of the scheduled doubleheader was called off due to cold weather. The final game of the three-game series will not be rescheduled.
With the win Missouri State improved to 6-7 in MVC play and upped its season mark to 17-21, while UNI fell to 2-6 in the Valley and 14-19 overall.
Following a six-day layoff, the Bears will travel to Carbondale, Ill., for a three-game set against the Southern Illinois Salukis, beginning with a doubleheader next Saturday (April 14).