SPRINGFIELD -- The Missouri State Bears made the most of their three hits against Bradley Sunday (April 11) afternoon to pull out a 2-1 victory at Killian Stadium. MSU’s two-out, two-run rally in the bottom of the third proved to be the difference, as sophomore right-hander Natalie Rose shut-down the Braves with 3 1/3 scoreless innings of relief to power the Bears to their third straight Missouri Valley Conference series victory.
Rose (3-7) allowed just one hit in relief of senior Lauren Supak to help MSU overcome a season-high four errors in the field and earn the victory. The win represented the Bears’ eighth in their last 10 MVC games and improved their record to 13-20 overall and 8-4 in conference play.
With two out and the bases loaded in the third, Jenna Schwark drew the Bears’ third walk of the inning to force home Raeven Replogle with the contest’s first run. Bubba Weiss followed with a pinch-single to left field to drove home Christa Gammon with what would prove to be the decisive run. Bradley avoided further damage when Schwark was thrown out a thrid base on the same play before Caitlin Chapin could cross home plate with MSU’s third run of the inning.
Replogle was responsible for setting the table for the Bears’ big inning, coaxing a lead-off walk from BU starter Brandi Ore (2-7). Gammon then came through with the Bears’ first hit of the game off reliever Mackenzie Camp after a failed bunt attempt by Tyler Porter. Following a Kirstin Cutter foul-out, Chapin was dealt her sixth base-on-balls of the three-game series to set up Schwark’s critical at-bat.
BU responded to the Bears’ third-inning rally with a run of its own in the top of the fourth to cut the Missouri State lead in half. Jackie Roth kicked off the frame with a single to left and moved up to second when Replogle’s return throw was errant. Supak nearly worked out of the jam, getting Lauren Meister on a grounder to short and Denise Jilka on strikes. But pinch hitter Alison Kresl came up with a bloop infield single that allowed Roth to come home with the Braves’ first run of the game.
Rose then entered the scene and promptly got Janay Mitchell to ground to first base to end the BU threat. Rose would work around MSU errors in the ensuing two innings, benefitting from a key play from Schwark in right field to record the final out of the sixth. Jilka reached base via a Gammon error with one out in the inning and attempted to move over to third on a two-out single to right by Taylor Cox. Schwark however, threw a perfect strike to Weiss at third to nail Jilka and squash the Braves’ last real scoring opportunity of the afternoon.
The victory for Rose capped a week that saw the Henryetta, Okla., native give up just one earned run in 8.1 innings over three relief outings to extend a streak in which she has allowed one run or less to eight straight appearances.
Up next, the Bears will conclude their six-game home stand at Killian with a doubleheader against Wichita State, Wednesday (April 14) evening at 5 p.m.