Softball Bears advance to the MVC semifinals


NORMAL, Ill. – Missouri State softball improved to 19-31 on the year and kept its season alive with a 7-4 victory over Belmont (30-20) on Thursday night in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament quarterfinals. 
The Bears got revenge once again after dropping the series earlier this season at Belmont. The Bruins jumped on the board first with a sacrifice fly in the second inning following a double and single to begin the inning. With a runner on third and just one out, the Bears got the runner at home on a fielder’s choice and then got out of the inning with a pop up to shortstop. 
Missouri State bounced back in a big way in the top of the third as Emily Chadwick led the inning off with a single to right center field. After a sacrifice fly and an Ellie McCoy infield single, the Bears had runners on first and third with one out. Then, senior Olivia Krehbiel came up to the plate and launched a three-run homer to propel the Bears to the lead. 
Belmont answered right back, cutting into the Missouri State lead with a solo home run in the third inning. 
The responses continued with MSU getting a run back in the top of the fourth inning. Kenzie Derryberry got it going with a single to right field and then scored all the way from first on a Belmont throwing error to put the Bears up 4-2. 
MSU threatened in the top of the fifth with two runners on and one out, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the inning. After Gracie Johnston and Co. forced a 1-2-3 inning, the Bears added two important insurance runs in the sixth. Derryberry was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and Chadwick worked a walk to put two on with no outs. Following a strikeout, McCoy laid down a bunt single to load the bases. Krehbiel then came up and sent the first pitch she saw up the middle to score two runs and put the Bears up 6-2. 
Belmont wasn’t going away quietly as the Bruins chipped away at Missouri State’s lead. A leadoff walk and a double started the small rally for Belmont. The Bruins pushed across two runs later in the inning on two RBI singles, but Johnston’s first strikeout of the night came at the perfect time to end the inning. 
Missouri State added a run in the seventh on an Alexis Perales sacrifice fly and then locked it down defensively in the bottom of the inning to secure a 7-4 victory and advance to tomorrow’s MVC Tournament semifinals. 
Krehbiel led the way for MSU with a 2-for-4 outing while driving in five runs. McCoy also contributed two hits, while Perales also collected an RBI. Johnston tossed the complete game, allowing four earned runs and scattering seven hits. 
The Bears will face No. 2 seed Northern Iowa tomorrow (May 10) at 4:00 p.m. for a chance to advance to the title game.

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