Bears Sweep Shockers to Run Win Streak to Seven Games
WICHITA, Kan. - Christa Gammon's one-out single in the top of the seventh inning plated the game-winning run, as the Missouri State Bears rallied for a 2-1 victory over Wichita State Wednesday at Wilkins Stadium that completed a doubleheader sweep of the Shockers and ran MSU's win streak to seven games. The Bears scored four times in the first two innings of game one to give Natalie Rose just enough offense for a 5-3 win, then got 6 1/3 solid innings from freshman Savannah Wiggins and a late comeback in the second game to improve to 22-17 overall and 10-6 in MVC play.
Wiggins not only carried the Bears from the circle in the second contest, but also started Missouri State's game-clinching rally with a lead-off pinch-single in the decisive seventh inning. After a Heather Duckworth sacrifice, Stevie Pierce then lofted a towering drive to deep left field that fell untouched for a game-tying triple on the very first pitch she saw from WSU reliever Sloan Anderson. Following her game-altering hit in her first at-bat since sustaining a hand injury on March 16, Pierce gave way to Raeven Replogle, who scored the game-winner easily from third on Gammons' liner up the middle on a 1-1 offering from Anderson.
Wiggins (6-2), who held the Shockers to just one run on six hits, retired Erin Carney on a ground ball to second for the first out of the seventh before yielding to Rose. The Bears' junior promptly coaxed a pop-up off the bat of Danika Miller, then fanned Kiersten Dixon to close out the sweep and notch her MVC-leading fifth save of the season.
In addition to Gammon's 2-for-3 effort at the plate, Jenna Schwark contributed two hits in four at-bats to help lead the Bears' eight-hit attack.
The dramatic finished followed a tightly-contested pitcher's duel between Wiggins and Wichita State's Brianna Smet, who held the Bears scoreless on four hits through 5 2/3 innings. The Shockers broke the scoring seal in the bottom of the fourth inning to take their first lead of the afternoon when Brittney Osburn scorched a two-out, base-hit back through the box that brought in Hayley Temple with the game's first run.
But Wiggins avoided further damage, setting down the next eight batters in succession before Osburn delivered another single with one out in the seventh. Rose took care of the rest, completing a day that began with her earning her sixth straight victory in MSU's one-run win in the first game of the afternoon.
The Bears struck early and often to give Rose room to work in the opener. MSU scored twice in each of the first two innings to put the Shockers in a 4-1 hole from which they would never recover.
Both teams benefitted from some early charity from the opposing defense to get on the board in the first frame of the opening game. Missouri State got back-to-back singles from Kirstin Cutter and Tyler Porter, before Schwark's sacrifice attempt was misplayed to give the Bears a prime scoring opportunity. WSU first baseman Jamie Hull fielded the bunt cleanly but her throw to first was wide of the bag, allowing Cutter to race all the way home with the first run of the afternoon.
Ashley Knehans drove in MSU's second run with an RBI grounder to second before Shocker starter Katie Armagost retired Lauren Eisenreich and Madison Hargrove on back-to-back pitches to work out of the jam.
The Shockers responded with a two-out unearned run of their own in the bottom half of the first. After Rose fanned the first two hitters of the frame, Jamie Hull scratched out an infield single to get the ball rolling for WSU. Heather Gerritse then lined an 0-1 pitch into left for a base hit, and Hull was able to come all the way around when Eisenreich overran the ball.
But the Bears got that run right back plus one more the following inning. After a Duckworth lead-off single and a Replogle sacrifice, Gammon made it a 3-1 contest with a triple down the left field line. Cutter followed with a looping liner to left that fell in for an RBI single, the second of her three hits in the game.
Wichita State (14-30, 6-10 MVC) added a single run in the fourth, then pulled to within 4-3 in the sixth on back-to-back doubles from Hull and Gerritse with just one out in the inning. However, Rose got out number two on a ground ball to second off the bat of Temple, then ended the threat by striking out Sammie Shook on a 3-2 pitch.
After the Bears added an insurance run on Knehans' RBI double to right in the top half of the seventh, Rose (16-14) would put a punctuation mark on the victory by striking out the side in the seventh to complete her 19th game of the year. In all, the Bears' right-hander matched a career high with 10 punchouts in the opener while walking none and allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits.
In addition to Cutter's 3-for-4 performance, Knehans also recorded three hits and drove in a pair of runs to power the MSU offense, which pounded out 11 hits in the game one win.
The Bears return to action Friday (April 22) when they begin a three-game MVC series against Southern Illinois with a 3 p.m. doubleheader at Charlotte West Stadium in Carbondale.