Softball splits twinbill with Drake



The Missouri State softball team split a pair of Missouri Valley Conference games with Drake Saturday afternoon at Missouri State Softball Field, cruising to an 8-0, five-inning win in game one before falling, 5-3, in the second game. On the mound, Melissa Porche picked up her 16th victory of the season, while Jessie Smith paced the offense with four hits and three RBIs on the afternoon.

The Bears jumped on Drake early in the first contest and never let up, using a Michelle Armentrout two-run homer in the first and a four-run second inning to build a 6-0 lead. Porche singled off DU starter Cassie Heller with two out in the first inning, and Armentrout followed with a towering drive that cleared the right-field fence. Elysha Swider led off the second with a homer of her own, before back-to-back singles from Lacie Ballard and Jana Shewmaker set up the Bears’ biggest inning of the afternoon. After Dusti Foster moved over the runners with a sacrifice bunt, Jessie Smith delivered a fly fall that was misplayed by centerfielder Emily Hajduk. Both Ballard and Shewmaker scored on the error, and Smith would come around to cap the rally on Porche’s double to right-center two batters later.

While the Missouri State offense was clicking on all cylinders early, Porche was equally efficient on the mound. The junior righthander allowed just two infield singles and struck out five over five innings to pick up the complete-game victory.

The Bears added a single tally in the fourth when Armentrout drove in her third run of the ballgame with a grounder to short to push the margin to 7-0. Smith put the finishing touches on MSU’s 10th conference victory of the season with an RBI triple to center with two out in the fifth.

Heller (7-19) suffered the loss for the Bulldogs after giving up seven runs on nine hits in her 3 2/3 innings of work.

Drake was the early aggressor in the nightcap, scoring three times in the second inning to take control of the game. With one out, Jaci Faidley doubled to left and advanced to third when Kristin Birocci reached on a ground ball fielder’s choice. After Birocci stole second base, Carrie Hatfield’s single drove home Faidley and advanced Birocci to third base. A Porche wild pitch plated Birocci, and Marilyn Buss doubled home Hatfield for the third DU run of the frame.

Missouri State answered with a run in the bottom of the third inning when Smith doubled to right-center and scored on a Brooke Kempker sacrifice fly.

But the Bulldogs added single runs in the fourth and sixth innings, but the Bears could not take advantage of the nine walks issued by DU starting pitcher Mandy Osborn, and got no closer than two runs the rest of the way. MSU pushed across its final run with two out in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run at the plate. But Shewmaker’s grounder was scooped up by Hatfield, who stepped on third to end the Bears’ scoring threat.

Buss went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs to lead the Drake offense. Smith finished game with three hits, a walk and an RBI for Missouri State.

Osborn limited the Bears to just seven hits in the complete-game effort and improved to 7-14 on the season. Porche (16-15) shouldered the loss for MSU, allowing four runs, three of them earned, on six hits in four innings of work.

The Bears (21-24, 10-10 MVC) will honor seniors Katie Martin, Courtney Owens and Whitney Peyton when they conclude the home portion of their 2007 schedule Sunday afternoon with a noon contest against Drake (14-34, 4-16 MVC).



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