The Missouri State softball team (3-5) jumped out to an early lead and held on for an 8-6 victory over Iowa State (5-3) to open day two of the UTSA Classic in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday morning.
"It certainly is exciting to get up 6-0 before the other team even comes to bat," said head coach Holly Hesse. "It helps Chelsea (Jones) to relax out there in the circle. I am just proud of Chelsea to hang in there in the seventh. It was good for her to show some poise and shut it down there at the end."
Heather Duckworth led all Bears with a 3-for-3 game and had a sacrifice fly. Stacia Boeckstiegel, Stevie Pierce and Mary Stephens each picked up a pair of hits. MSU had 13 hits in the game, the most since the 2010 season.
Pitcher Chelsea Jones put together her third-straight solid outing. She is 3-0 in her last three starts and fanned three Cyclones including the final out of the game.
The Bears jumped all over Iowa State starter Tori Torrescano in the top of the first.Kirstin Cutter beat out an infield single to the left side. Ashley Brentz reached on a sacrifice bunt when the ISU third baseman threw errantly into right field, scoring Cutter. Chapin sacrificed Brentz to third and Mary Stephens drove her in when Brentz beat the throw to the plate to score the second run of the inning.
Stevie Pierce stepped in and continued her hot start to the season. She sent a deep drive over the centerfield fence for a two-run home run, her fourth long ball of the season, setting a new career best for a season.
The Bears continued the inning with back-to-back singles by Heather Duckworth and Stacia Boeckstiegel. Both runners moved up on a passed ball. Kerri Cunningham came through with a two-run double that dropped in front of the left fielder, pushed the Bear's advantage to 6-0.
The Cyclones got a run back in their half of the first. MSU got runners on in the third and fourth innings, but were unable to break through until the fifth.
Stephens singled to right to begin the fifth. Pinch runner Ciara Flau came all the way around to score on the next play as Pierce also singled to right and the throw to third was mishandled. Pierce ended up on third base on the play. Duckworth plated Pierce with a sacrifice fly to right giving MSU an 8-1 advantage.
The Cyclones made it interesting in the seventh, but Jones buckled down and struck out the final batter for a 8-6 win.
Missouri State will be back in action at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon against Rutgers. The Bears will wrap up the trip to Texas when they play UTSA again at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Unearned Runs Cost Bears
The Missouri State softball team (3-6) lost to Rutgers (1-2) in the second game of the day at the UTSA Classic in San Antonio, 3-0. Rutgers scored all three runs off of two MSU errors.
Freshman pitcher Jessie Van Es turned in her best outing as a Bear. She pitched four-plus innings of three-hit ball. She struck out a career-best three batters. Chelsea Jones came on in relief to hold the Bears within striking distance.
Senior Kirstin Cutter had two of Missouri State's three hits in the game. She also drew one of the four Bears' walks in the game.
The Bears got walks by Cutter and Stevie Pierce to start the first and second innings, respectively. Both times, though, the runners were stranded at second base to end the innings.
After Rutgers scored a pair of unearned runs in its half of the second, the Bears got back to work. In the third, Cutter roped a one-out double into the right-center gap. She advanced to third on a wild pitch while Ali Trickey drew a walk. Trickey moved into score position with a steal of second, but that first run remained elusive.
In the fourth inning, Heather Duckworth recorded her fourth hit of the day with a single to right. Stacia Boeckstiegel drew a walk, but the runners were stranded as the inning came to an end.
MSU continued to get base runners in the fifth. Cutter singled through the right side to start the inning. Lauren Eisenreich reached on a fielder's choice, but a strikeout and a caught stealing ended the frame.
The Scarlet Knights added a run in the fifth and again the Bears got a base runner in the sixth. Mary Stephensreached on a Rutgers' fielding error. A line out to right allowed Rutgers to double the runner off first to end the inning.The Bears will wrap up the trip to Texas when they play host UTSA in the final game of the UTSA Classic at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday. Missouri State will travel to Chattanooga, Tenn., next weekend for five games at the Frost Classic.