Softball Bears? Come up Just Short as UMKC Sweeps Twin Bill



SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- UMKC came up with a pair of two-out rallies just when it needed them most to pull out a pair of victories over the Missouri State softball team Wednesday (April 8) evening at Killian Softball Stadium. The Kangaroos got four RBIs from Amanda Evans--including three on a two-out home run in the ninth inning of a tie game--to claim a 4-3 victory in game one, and then scored three times in the sixth inning of a scoreless game two to earn a 3-2 win and the doubleheader sweep of the Bears.


The Roos game two win came on the heels of a scoreless pitcher’s duel over the first five innings turned in by MSU’s Lauren McGinley and UMKC’s Taya Upkes. UMKC finally broke on top when, with two out in the top of the sixth, first baseman Danielle Bennefeld swung and missed at a third strike that skipped past catcher Jen Carr, allowing Carli Slagle to score from third with the game’s first run. Carr’s throw to second was dislodged from second baseman Christa Gammon’s glove, allowing Nicole Chalstrom to come all the way around for the second UMKC run of the inning.


The next batter, Rhiannon Mendez, lined a single to center to drive home Bennefeld and give the Kangaroos a 3-0 advantage.


The Bears broke through in the bottom half of the sixth on Ashley Knehans’ two-run home run to straight-away center field.


That would be as close as Missouri State would get, however, as junior Nicholle Ellis came on in relief of Upkes to retire the final four hitters of the contest for her first save of the year.


Evans provided all the offense UMKC (11-26) would need to capture the nine-inning win in game one. Evans two-out, three-run homer to right field broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the ninth inning. That followed her one-out solo shot in the fifth that broke up Lauren Supak’s string of 13 straight retired hitters and staked UMKC starter Anna Sokolik to a 1-0 lead.


Sokolik would hold the Bears to just three hits through the first six innings before Gammon led-off the seventh with a triple into the left-center field gap. Jessie Smith greeted reliever Samantha Hurst by skying a sacrifice fly to left to bring in Gammon with the tying run.


Sparked by Smith’s two-out, RBI-double to right-center, the Bears rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth. Jenna Schwark added a run-scoring single, and Jana Shewmaker’s base hit through the left side put the go-ahead run on base. But Hurst coaxed a grounder to third off the bat of Knehans to close out the victory for UMKC.


McGinley (9-7) shouldered both defeats, despite allowing just three runs on nine hits in a complete-game effort in the nightcap. Shewmaker turned in a solid effort at the plate for the Bears, recording two hits in each game.


Missouri State, which fell to 15-16 on the season, will be back in action Friday (April 10) with a 3 p.m. doubleheader to open a three-game series with the 24th-ranked Southern Illinois Salukis in Carbondale, Ill. The Bears and Salukis will also square off Saturday at Charlotte West Stadium in a single game set to begin at Noon.



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