Feb. 24, 2012
The Missouri State softball team (2-2) suffered a 5-3 non-conference setback at the hands of Northern Iowa (4-2) in the opening game of the Blues City Classic in Memphis, Tenn., on Friday morning.
"It was very exciting to see us battle back and score in two different innings off of their first-team all-conference pitcher," said head coach Holly Hesse. "Our defense was solid again in this game. Overall, I was pleased with our performance, all things considered."
Sophomore second baseman Ashley Brentz was once again the Bears leading hitter. She went 3-for-4 with an RBI and scored another run. Her performance propels her to a .667 batting average over the first four games of the season.
UNI took an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. A leadoff walk and a single up the middle plated the first Panther run. Two batters later, UNI's Courtney Dunker hit a two-run homer to left field to give the Panthers a 3-0 lead after one inning of play.
The Bears inched back in the third inning as Lauren Eisenreich lead off the inning with a walk. After an infield single by Rebecca McPherson, Brentz dropped a single just inside the left field line to score Eisenreich. Caitlin Chapin followed with a base on balls, but the Bears were held to just the one run.
The Panthers built upon their lead in the fourth inning. A two-out single to right field followed by a Mackenzie Daigh home run plated a pair of runs for UNI.
Missouri State again clawed back in the sixth inning. Brentz drew a leadoff walk and scored on a two-run home run by Chapin. Heather Duckworth and Raeven Replogle each drew walks, but pinch hitter Stacia Boeckstiegel was ruled out on a bang-bang play at first to end the Bears rally.
Brentz singled with two outs in the top of the seventh, but the Bears were unable to push across the tying runs.
Chelsea Jones came in to the game in relief in the fifth inning. She fired two perfect innings that included a pair of strikeouts. Savannah Wiggins started and gave up all five runs, but settled in after a rough first inning. She allowed just five hits and struck out one UNI batter.
Missouri State will face Miami (Ohio) at 9:00 a.m. and SEMO at 8:00 p.m. on Saturday as play continues at the Blues City Classic. The Bears round out the weekend on Sunday versus Western Illinois (11:00 a.m.) and host Memphis (1:00 p.m.).