Shockers End Dry Spell Against Softball Bears with Doubleheader Sweep
SPRINGFIELD -- Wichita State used the combination of timely hitting and standout pitching from sophomore Kasha Kolb to sweep Wednesday evening's doubleheader from the Missouri State Bears at Killian Stadium. The Shockers outhit the Bears by a 20-6 margin, with Kolb picking up her first save of the season in a 5-1 game one win before tossing six innings of three-hit relief to post a 5-3 victory in the nightcap.
With their win in the first game, the Shockers stopped a three-game losing streak in the series behind the combined pitching efforts of Kolb and Brianna Smet, who limited the Bears to a single unearned run on just three hits through four innings of work to earn her first victory of the season. The junior right-hander allowed only a pair of walks and a single over the first three innings to give the Shocker offense time to build a 4-0 lead.
Sammie Shook's two-out double in the second plated Hayley Temple with the game's first run, and the Shockers blew the game wide open in the third with a three-run rally. With one out, Lindsie Mitts started things off with an infield single off MSU starter Lauren Supak. Next, Kara L'Huillier gave the Shockers a two-run advantage with a line-drive double into the left-centerfield gap, and Heather Gerritse capped the scoring with a two-run homer to left to push the WSU lead to four runs.
Missouri State finally got on the board in the fourth courtesy of back-to-back singles by Bubba Weiss and Madison Hargrove and a pair of Wichita State throwing errors. After Weiss singled up the middle with one out, Hargrove laid down a bunt that Temple fielded and fired wildly past first base. First baseman Jamie Hull retrieved the ball and attempted to gun down Hargrove at second, but her throw was far enough off the mark to allow Weiss to come home with what would prove to be the Bears' lone run of the contest.
Kolb would take over in the fifth inning and promptly set down all nine hitters she faced to close out the win. The right-hander fanned five Bears, offering a preview of things to follow in game two.
Wichita State jumped on top with three early runs in the second game, benefitting from Gerritse's two-out, RBI single in the first, and Hull's lead-off homer in the second to take a 2-0 lead. Temple doubled to left-center on the very next pitch from Lauren McGinley, and Mitts drove her in with an infield single to make it a three-run contest.
The Bears would battle back, scratching out three runs over the next two innings to even the score, thanks in large part to a trio of WSU errors. Jenna Schwark drew a lead-off walk to open the bottom of the second and moved up to second on Alaina Burkhart's bunt. Temple's errant throw on the sacrifice and a subsequent throwing error by Kierstin Dixon in right brought home Schwark with MSU's first run. Raeven Replogle would drive home Burkhart with a sac bunt of her own to cut the Shocker lead to one run.
MSU knotted the score the following inning against Kolb when Christa Gammon tripled to deep center with one out and scored on Kirstin Cutter's single up the middle.
In the sixth, the Shockers would take advantage of a critical Missouri State fielding miscue to gain the upper hand for good. After Natalie Rose retired the first two batters of the frame, Danika Miller singled through the right side. Mitts followed with a base hit up the middle that got through centerfielder Tyler Porter and rolled just far enough to allow come home with the go-ahead run.
Kolb would retire the next nine batters she faced before Cutter's second hit of the game-a one-out single in the sixth-set up another MSU scoring opportunity. Schwark and Burkhart coaxed back-to-back walks from Kolb with two out, but the WSU ace would once again thwart the Bears' offense, getting pinch-hitter Delayna Gary on strikes to end the inning.
The visitors tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh on a Dixon RBI single, and Kolb would set down the Bears in order in the bottom of the inning to complete the sweep.
Rose (3-8) would suffer the tough-luck setback after turning in 6.0 innings of solid relief. The sophomore allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits while striking out a pair of Shockers.
Kolb (8-13) picked up her eighth victory with the win by allowing just one run in her 6.0 innings of work.
Next, the Bears (13-22, 8-6 MVC) will try to right the ship with a three-game series at Drake, beginning Saturday (April 17) with a noon doubleheader in Des Moines, Iowa.