Softball Bears Cruise to 10-1 Victory in Series Opener at Bradley



PEORIA, Ill. --  The Missouri State Bears used the combination of the big inning and solid pitching to run away with a 10-1 victory over the Bradley Braves Saturday afternoon at Laura Bradley Park. MSU struck for three runs in the first and third innings to seize control of the game, and Natalie Rose made the lead stand with a complete-game effort in the circle.

Rose matched a season high with nine strikeouts while allowing just one run on nine BU hits--all singles--to improve to 13-14 on the season.

Ashley Knehans two-run homer highlighted the Bears’ big first inning, as MSU got to Bradley starter Mackenzie Camp for three hits to take the early lead. With one out, Knehans lofted a long fly ball to left that cleared the fence just inches inside the foul pole to make it a 3-0 contest. That blast followed Jenna Schwark’s RBI single that brought home Kirstin Cutter, who started the rally with a lead-off base hit to left.

Bradley scratched out a run in its half of the first when Julie Sherman singled and swiped a pair of bases, including home, to pull the Braves to within two runs.

But the Bears broke things open in the third, as Cutter once again got the ball rolling with a lead-off hit before stealing a pair of bases and scoring MSU’s fourth run of the day. Tyler Porter reached base courtesy of a Bradley fielding error and came around on a Lauren Eisenreich single to right-center after stealing second. Christa Gammon capped the scoring with a fielder’s choice grounder that drove home Schwark to hike the Bears’ lead to 6-1.

MSU put the game away with four runs in the top of the seventh, recording four of its season-high seven steals in the frame while taking advantage of three BU errors. Both Gammon and Savannah Wiggins drove in runs with ground balls, and two Bears scored on a throwing error by Braves catcher Jackie Roth to extend the margin to nine runs.

Cutter led the Bears by going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a pair of steals, while Schwark reached base all four times she came to the plate, going 2-for-2 with a pair of walks and three runs scored. Knehans, meanwhile, moved into the Bears’ top five for career homers with her 16th long ball as a collegiate.

The Bears (18-17, 6-6 MVC) and Braves (8-32, 1-11 MVC) will wrap up their three-game series Sunday with a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m.





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