Softball Bears Split Twinbill Against Southern Illinois
Melissa Porche’s bases-loaded single scored the tying and go-ahead runs in the seventh inning to lift Missouri State to a 6-5 win over Southern Illinois in the first game of a Missouri Valley Conference twinbill Saturday, at MSU Softball Field. SIU won the second game 5-2, dropping the Bears to 24-16 overall and 11-9 in Valley action.
Junior Ashley Arbon singled to start the MSU rally in the seventh. With one out, junior Jessie Smith walked and senior Michelle Armentrout’s single loaded the bases. Porche just missed a walk-off grand slam with a towering shot down the left field line that was ruled a foul ball, but her single up the middle moments later plated Arbon and Smith to complete the comeback win.
Porche’s game-winner capped a dramatic comeback, both personally and for the Bears in the contest. Porche (15-11) struggled with her control early, walking in a pair Saluki runs after issuing five bases-on-balls in the first frame. SIU hit a pair of home runs in the second to extend its lead to 5-1, but Porche settled into a groove and limited the Salukis to just five hits and no additional walks while striking out 11 for the game.
Smith kept the Bears in the contest offensively with a pair of home runs, her second and third of the season. She hammered a solo shot in the first, then added a two-run blast in the third. It was the second MSU homer in the inning as freshman Jenna Schwark led off the third with her first career long ball.
MSU managed eight hits in the opener, with senior Armentrout going 2-for-2 at the plate. The Bears struggled offensively in the second game though, scattering seven hits and scoring twice. SIU scored a run in the first and Katie Schmidt hit a three-run home run to right center in the fourth for the Salukis against MSU sophomore pitcher Lauren McGinley (7-4).
The Bears scored two runs in the sixth. McGinley doubled to left center to start the inning and scored two batters later when Smith singled to right. Armentrout then reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Arbon who singled earlier. SIU added an insurance run in the seventh to account for the final margin.
MSU will face SIU in a single game Sunday (April 27) at 12 p.m.