Bears split with 20th/22nd-ranked Southern Illinois



The Missouri State softball team used strong pitching from Melissa Porche and timely hitting to take a 4-3 victory over 20th/22nd-ranked Southern Illinois in game one of a Missouri Valley Conference doubleheader, but fell in the nightcap, 8-0, in five innings Sunday in Carbondale, Ill. The Bears’ victory in game one was the first defeat suffered at home this season by the conference-leading Salukis. Missouri State moves to 18-22 overall and 7-8 in the MVC. SIU is now 31-9 and 12-3.


Junior Michelle Armentrout scored the game’s first run when she launched a solo homer to right-center field to begin the fourth inning. The Bears added three more runs in the fifth, as sophomore Jessie Smith led off the inning with a double to right field. Senior Katie Martin then ripped a double of her own to right-center field, scoring Smith. Porche followed with a single down the left field line to score Martin and give the Bears a 3-0 lead. After advancing to second on a passed ball and to third on a Jana Shewmaker sacrifice, Porche scored on an RBI bunt by Armentrout.


Southern Illinois got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI double by Katie Wilson. The Salukis added two unearned runs in the sixth to pull within a run. After recording back-to-back hits to lead off the inning, SIU scored on an error to make it 4-2. With no outs, Porche then retired the Salukis’ third through fifth-place hitters to end the threat. The Salukis did score on a groundout by cleanup hitter Amanda Clifton to pull within 4-3, but Porche struck out Jayme Wamsley to conclude the inning.


Porche set down the Salukis in order in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the victory. The junior righthander evened her record at 13-13, as she allowed only four hits and one earned run in the complete game effort. Porche struck out seven in the contest. Reigning MVC Pitcher of the Year Cassidy Scoggins took the loss for SIU, allowing three earned runs on six hits, to drop to 16-6 on the season.


Five of the Bears’ six hits in the game came from the first three batters in the lineup, including three from the leadoff hitter Smith. The shortstop was 3-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored and picked up her league-leading 14th stolen base. Martin and Porche, the Bears’ second and third hitters, were both 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored.


Game two was dominated by the Salukis, as the home team scored four first-inning runs and never looked back. The big blow of the inning was a three-run home run by SIU’s Wamsley. The Salukis added three more runs in the third inning, with Katie Wagner’s two run double and run scored accounting for the SIU tallies. Tiffanie Dismore’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fifth ended the contest on account of the run rule.


SIU’s Ashley Hamby (13-3) threw five no-hit innings and allowed no walks. An error in the first inning on a groundball by MSU’s Porche was the only baserunner surrendered by Hamby.


Porche had a rough outing in her second stint of action on the mound, allowing four first-inning runs on three hits in her only inning of work to take the defeat, falling to 13-14. Freshman Megan Ramsey surrendered three runs on four hits in two innings of relief and Lauren McGinley pitched the final 1.2 innings, allowing a run on two hits.


Missouri State will travel to Indiana State next weekend, April 21 and 22, to take on the Sycamores in a three-game MVC series. Game one of a doubleheader Saturday will begin at 12 noon and a single game Sunday will start at the same time.



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