Softball Bears Blank Crowder, Evangel to Open Fall Campaign



SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Missouri State softball team opened its 2010 fall campaign with a pair of shutout victories Saturday (Sept. 25) at Killian Stadium, as three Bears combined to lead MSU to a 5-0 win over Evangel and a 4-0 decision over Crowder College.

Junior right-hander Natalie Rose struck out five batters in blanking Evangel on six hits in the opener, and freshmen Jourdan Esquenazi and Savannah Wiggins combined on a three-hitter in the nightcap against Crowder.

The Bears struck early in both contests, plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning of each game. Caitlin Chapin's bases-loaded single to center drove in Christa Gammon and Tyler Porter and capped a string of four straight MSU hits to start game one.

Ashley Knehans delivered an RBI-double to spark the Bears' three-run third after Chapin drew a lead-off walk. Lauren Eisenreich and Gammon followed with a run-scoring single and an RBI-grounder, respectively, to push the MSU lead to 5-0. 

Rose wouldn't need any more help, allowing just two Crusaders to reach scoring position the rest of the way.

Game two saw MSU jump on top once again by a 2-0 score, this time courtesy of a Stevie Pierce bases-loaded single to center with one out in the bottom of the first inning. Schwark and Knehans came through with back-to-back RBI-doubles in the fifth to help the Bears seal the win.

Esquenazi sparkled in her debut in the circle, setting down the first nine Crowder hitters she faced. The Texas native would give up two hits while fanning four over her four innings of work. Wiggins was also strong in her first outing in a Missouri State uniform, limiting the Lady 'Riders to just one hit in three innings to earn the save.

Schwark paced the Missouri State offense by recording hits in 3-of-7 at-bats on the afternoon, while Chapin, Knehans and Pierce all drove in two runs apiece.

The Bears will be back in action Saturday (Oct. 2) when they host Drury in a noon scrimmage at Killian.



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