Knehans, Rose Propel Softball Bears Past Evangel in Extra Innings
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Ashley Knehans belted a two-run homer and sparked the Missouri State softball team's game-winning rally in the bottom of the ninth inning, while right-hander Natalie Rose hurled 3 2/3 innings of hitless relief to power the Bears to a 5-4 victory over Evangel Friday (Oct. 2) at MSU Softball Field.
Knehans led-off the ninth with her second hit of the evening, setting the stage for Delayna Gary's two-out single to left-center that plated pinch-runner Kayla Beckett with the game-winner.
The Bears pulled out the victory thanks in large part to the pitching of Rose, who fanned five Crusaders while walking just one en route to her second win of the fall season. Rose entered the contest with one out in the sixth inning and proceeded to strikeout the first three hitters she faced. She would retire eight straight batters before yielding a lead-off walk in the top of the ninth.
The Crusaders rallied from a 4-0 deficit to force extra innings, striking for all four of their runs in the fifth inning. EU's Kendra Corbin got the visitors on the board with a two-run homer, and Marriana Nelson forced home the tying run when she was struck by a Lauren McGinley offering with the bases loaded.
Knehans staked the Bears to an early 2-0 lead when she blasted a two-out home run to left field off Evangel's Kaitlyn Hasty in the first inning. MSU added single tallies in each of the following two innings, getting a sacrifice fly from Madison Hargrove in the second and an RBI-single from Caitlin Chapin in the third to build its four-run advantage.
With the win the Bears improved to 6-0 on the fall season heading into their final weekend of play. MSU will travel to Tulsa for a pair of games Saturday (Oct. 10), facing off against Connors State and Tulsa at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively.