Softball Bears walk off Sycamores to advance to MVC quarterfinals


NORMAL, Ill. – Missouri State softball (18-31) earned a 4-3 walk-off win against No. 11 seed Indiana State (20-30) to advance to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinals.

After falling to the Sycamores twice last week to end the regular season, the Bears got revenge on Wednesday night.

Missouri State jumped on the board first with a two-run second inning. Alexis Perales knocked a one-out double to get things rolling for the Bears. After a passed ball and an error, the Bears had runners on the corners and Kelsie Lewis delivered a sacrifice fly to give the Bears their first run of the game. Ellie McCoy then came to the plate and sent a single down the left field line as Olivia Krehbiel came up to bat. Krehbiel snuck an RBI single through the right side to put the Bears up 2-0 after two.

Gracie Johnston and the Bears defense allowed just two baserunners across the third and fourth innings. Then, the Sycamores broke through in the fifth inning with a leadoff home run to cut MSU’s deficit in half.

Indiana State started a rally in the sixth with two Sycamores on base and two outs. ISU then sent a ball past the outstretched glove of the third baseman Krehbiel as shortstop Kenzie Derryberry made the play across the diamond. The runner was initially ruled safe to load the bases for the Sycamores, but replay overturned the call and the Bears escaped the inning unscathed.

Missouri State carried that momentum right into the bottom of the sixth as Annie Mueller sent her 18th homer of the year over the fence to put MSU back in front by two runs, 3-1.

With MSU needing just three outs to secure the victory in the top of the seventh, Indiana State came back to tie the game. Following a quick fly out, the Sycamores hit a single and a double to put runners at second and third with one out. On a ground ball, Lewis elected to throw home, but the throw was high as the Sycamores scored one; however, a second runner trying to come home was called out on an incredible hustle play by Perales to put two outs on the board. A single up the middle in the next at-bat tied the game at 3-3 before a pop up to shortstop ended the inning.

Missouri State delivered in the bottom of the seventh with McCoy kicking things off with a leadoff single up the middle. Krehbiel drew a walk before Chloe Merced did her job and moved both runners with a sacrifice bunt. Kayla Ulrich then worked her second walk of the night to load the bases, setting the stage for Mueller. The senior delivered, sending a laser off the wall in right field as Missouri State earned the 4-3 walk-off victory and advanced to tomorrow’s MVC Tournament quarterfinals.

Perales led the way for Missouri State on the night with a 3-for-3 outing that included a double and a run scored. Mueller and McCoy each collected two hits, with Mueller logging two RBI. In the circle, Johnston earned the victory after tossing 5.2 innings and allowing just one earned run on five hits.

The Bears will battle No. 3 seed Belmont at 7 p.m. CT in Normal, Ill. for a chance to advance to the semifinals. The game will stream on ESPN+.

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