Bears Click on All Cylinders in 6-0 Win Over Drake
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Sophomore Natalie Rose’s three-hit shutout propelled the Missouri State softball team to a 6-0 victory over Drake Sunday afternoon at Buel Field. Missouri State (14-24, 9-8 MVC) broke out of a week-long batting slump with nine hits, as three Bears posted multi-hit games to help MSU salvage the final contest of their three-game Missouri Valley Conference series with the Bulldogs (28-12, 9-5 MVC) and snap a four-game losing streak.
Rose needed just 88 pitches to complete her second career shutout and retired 20 of the final 22 Drake batters in the hour-and-23-minute contest.
Tyler Porter led the Missouri State hit parade with a career-high three hits in three at-bats, while tallying two runs scored. She keyed MSU scoring chances with hits in both the second and seventh innings, and fellow juniors Christa Gammon and Jenna Schwark also came through with big days at the plate for the Bears, each going 2-for-4.
Sparked by Porter’s one-out double, the Bears mounted a second-inning rally to seize their first lead of the three-game series. After Porter delivered MSU’s first hit of the afternoon with a two-bagger to leftfield, Gammon reached base on an infield single to shortstop, and Kirstin Cutter laid down a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. Schwark then beat out a slow roller to short to bring Porter home with the game’s first run. Elena Leon’s throw skipped past Molly McClelland at first on the same play, allowing Gammon to trot home for a 2-0 MSU lead.
Rose took over from there, setting down 12 consecutive Drake hitters from the first through the fifth innings. She would strike-out five Bulldogs in all and allow just two hits over the final six innings to improve to 4-8 on the season.
MSU broke the game open with a four-run seventh inning to erase any doubt about the outcome of the contest. With one out, pinch-hitter Alaina Burkhart started the rally with an infield single deep in the hole at short, and Porter followed with a bunt-single for her third hit of the afternoon. Next, Gammon lined a long single to right-center to load the bases, before Cutter would hit a one-hopper to McClelland at first, who attempted to record the force out at the plate, but threw wildly to allow both Burkhart and Porter to score. Caitlin Chapin then put an exclamation point on the inning with a two-run double to right to chase Gammon and Cutter to the plate, stretching the MSU lead to six runs.
Missouri State’s offensive breakthrough came after a string of five straight games in which they recorded no more than four hits. The nine hits on the day for the Bears also represented their best single-game output since March 27, when they pounded out 11 hits in a 6-2 win at Evansville.
Up next, the Bears return to Killian Stadium to begin an eight-game home stand Wednesday (April 21) with a single contest against Tulsa at 5 p.m.