"I was really excited how we fought all day, battling until the end in both games," said head coach Holly Hesse. "I saw a lot of great at-bats today. We put the ball in play and moved runners with clutch hits all day. I am really excited about what I saw at the plate today."
The Bears banged out 16 hits on the day with six players with two hits each. Stevie Pierce blasted the Bears first home run of the season and drove in four runs. Mary Stephens, Ciara Flau, Caitlin Chapin and Kirstin Cutter all had multi-hit days.
Game 1 - Missouri State 6, Coastal Carolina 10
It didn't take the Bears long to get runners aboard. With one out in the first, Ashley Brentz reached on a fielding error by the CCU shortstop. The next batter, Caitlin Chapin, drew a walk after working the count full. Lauren Eisenreich lined sharply out the left field and the Bears were unable to capitalize.
In the second inning, Rebecca McPherson drew a two-out walk and stole second, but the Bears were held scoreless. In the bottom half of the inning, the Chanticleers knocked Jones around, literally, lining a single off her leg to score the first run of the game. A three-run home run capped a four-run second for CCU.
The third inning saw the Bears continue to get runners aboard. With two outs, Chapin drew her second free pass of the game. The next batter, Eisenreich, also reached via base on balls. Again, MSU was stifled with runners stranded.
Missouri State finally broke through in the fifth. Leadoff hitter Stacia Boeckstiegel singled to right and advanced to second on a fielding error. Kirstin Cutter reached on an infield single, moving pinch runner Kerri Cunningham to third. Brentz flied to right field, driving in the Bears' first run of the season. Chapin singled and Eisenreich walked to load the bases. With two outs, Stevie Pierce looped a single over the shortstop to plate two runs and the Bears ended the fifth down just one run at 4-3.
The Bears rallied again in the 6th. Cutter reached on another Coastal Carolina error with one out. Brentz laced a sharp single to right, sending Cutter to third. Chapin followed and placed a slow roller in front of the plate, scoring Cutter from third to tie the game. Two batters later, freshman Mary Stephens bounced a single past third, plating two runs and giving MSU a 6-4 lead.
In its half of the sixth, Coastal pushed across six runs to regain the lead, but the Bears' fight was not over. In the seventh, Heather Duckworth singled up the middle to lead off the inning. A fielder's choice and hit batter put two aboard, but both runners were left stranded to end
Game 2 - Missouri State 8, Kennesaw State 12
Missouri State fell behind early in the second game of the day. Kennesaw State's Angie Dascoli hit a two-out grand slam. In the Bears half of the inning, Kirstin Cutter drew a leadoff walk. She moved to second on a groundout and third on an illegal pitch. Two batters later, Eisenreich drew a free pass and on the next pitch, a double steal scored MSU's first run.
KSU tacked on six runs and added another in the third to take an 11-1 lead. Again, the MSU spirit was not crushed as Kerri Cunningham started a rally with a bunt single. Cutter bounced a single over the third baseman and the Bears were in business. Both runners moved up on a passed ball and Ali Trickey walked to load the bases. Chapin grounded the ball to shortstop, but the KSU fielder booted the ball and two runs scored. Then with two outs, Stevie Pierce launched a two-run home run to left cutting the deficit to 11-5.
In the Bears' fourth, Ciara Flau picked up her first career hit with a solid single to left field to lead off. She moved to second on a Braxton Coil sacrifice bunt, but the Bears couldn't push another run across.
The fifth inning saw another first for a Bear. Trickey legged out her first hit, an infield single. Chapin walked and Eisenreich reached on a bunt single and the Bears had the bases loaded with no outs. Two batters later, Duckworth drove in a run on fielder's choice. With the bases still loaded, Flau drove another single to left scoring a second Bears' run, but Eisenreich was cut down at the plate. Pinch hitter Mary Stephens beat out a slower grounder to third, plating the third Missouri State run of the inning.
KSU added an insurance run in the seventh, but MSU's comeback attempt was halted and the Bears dropped a 12-8 decision.
The Bears will continue competition at the Kennesaw State-Georgia Tech Invitational on Saturday against host Georgia Tech at 11:00 a.m. Central. MSU will also play another game against Coastal Carolina at 3:00 p.m. Bears will wrap up the weekend with a game against Butler at 10:00 a.m.