Softball Bears Post 3-2 Win Over Creighton to Earn Doubleheader Split
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Jenna Schwark’s one-out squeeze in the bottom of the seventh inning plated the game-winning run, as the Missouri State softball team pulled out a 3-2 victory over visiting Creighton to salvage a split of the two teams’ series-opening doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Killian Stadium. Natalie Rose once again paved the way for MSU in the circle with a complete-game effort in which she struck-out nine Bluejays en route to her 10th victory of the year.
Schwark laid down a suicide squeeze on an 0-1 count against CU’s Becca Changstrom to bring in Ashley Brentz with the go-ahead run. Bluejay third baseman Liz McKewon fielded the ball and fired home to catcher Amy Baker in what appeared to be plenty of time to nab the baserunner. However, Brentz was able to dislodge the ball with a hard slide into home, handing the Bears the win in dramatic fashion.
That effort made a winner of Rose (10-13), who scattered seven hits and issued just one walk in completing her 14th game of the season. With the victory, the Bears improved to 15-16 overall and 5-5 in Valley play, while Creighton dropped to 15-17 on the year and 5-3 in MVC action.
MSU’s game two win followed a slow start that saw the Bears drop the first game of the day by a 4-1 score behind the pitching of Changstrom. Creighton broke up a scoreless pitcher’s duel in the top of the third, striking for a single unearned run against Rose.
Changstrom helped her own cause at the plate by delivering the first of three Bluejay hits in the inning with a lead-off single to center. She would move over to third on an Ellen Homan bunt single and a Schwark throwing error, then come home on Baker’s bunt that fell in between Rose and second baseman Christa Gammon.
Rose avoided further damage by getting Christa Ruf to chase a third strike and retiring Emily Perry and Ashley Frutos on pop-ups.
Missouri State would miss out on its best scoring chance in the bottom half of the third, as a walk, a fielder’s choice and a pair of singles loaded the bases with two out. But Changstrom got Ashley Knehans to pop-up to short to end the threat and keep the Bears hitless this season in 20 chances with the bases loaded.
The Jays would tack on two more tallies in the fifth, capitalizing on hits from Homan and Baker once again. Ruf brought home the first run of the frame with a grounder to second, and Perry drove in Baker with a sacrifice fly to right to stretch the CU lead to 3-0. The visitors would add a fourth run in the top of the seventh when Frutos squeezed home Ruf.
Changstrom held the Bears scoreless until the seventh, when Lauren Eisenreich deposited the first pitch she saw over the wall in left field for her first home run of the season.
But that would be all the freshman right-hander would give MSU. Changstrom went the distance, allowing only four hits while fanning five to earn her 11th victory of the season.
In the nightcap, the Bears got on the board right off the bat, taking advantage of a pair of CU miscues. Kirstin Cutter beat out an infield single and advanced to second when McKewon’s throw sailed wide of the bag.Tyler Porter moved the runner to third with a sacrifice before a passed ball allowed Cutter to come home with the game’s first run.
MSU would add to its lead in the third when Schwark drove in a run with a sacrifice foul-out down the left field line to make it a 2-0 contest.
The Jays would rally to tie the score in the fifth, getting RBI singles from Frutos and Homan to pull even at 2-2.
But Rose held CU in check just long enough, as MSU got a lead-off single from Brentz, followed by a costly error by Frutos at second on a sharp grounder from Cutter. Porter moved both runners up a station with a ground ball to third, before Schwark delivered the victory with the squeeze.
Brentz led the Bears with two hits, a walk and two runs scored in the second game, while Cutter went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Eisenreich enjoyed a big afternoon as well, going a combined 3-for-5 with a walk to go along with her game one homer.
Up next, the two clubs will wrap up the series with a single game Sunday at noon.