May 2, 2012
Despite putting 21 balls in play, the Missouri State softball team (22-24, 10-13) was no-hit by two Arkansas (26-24) pitchers in a 4-0 loss at Killian Stadium on Wednesday. It was the third no-hitter in the history of Killian Stadium. Previously at Killian, the Bears no-hit Evansville on May 7, 2011, and Missouri no-hit the Bears on March 8, 2009.
"We are putting the ball in play," said head coach Holly Hesse. "We are hitting it hard; we just need to find the gaps. I thought Nat(alie Rose) did a great job of holding a good-hitting Arkansas team down for a long time today."
Senior pitcher Natalie Rose gave up just two hits until there were two outs in the seventh. She struck out four Razorbacks hitters in making her 150th career appearance. Four consecutive two-out hits in the seventh thwarted Rose's bid for her 22nd complete game of the season.
Ashley Brentz walked with one out in the bottom of the first. She moved to second base on a wild pitch by Arkansas starter Kimmy Beasley, but was stranded there to end the inning.
After Rose set down the side in order in the top of the second, the Razorbacks brought on Chelsea Cohen to pitch.
In the third inning, Rose struck out the first two Arkansas hitters of the inning. The Razorbacks' number nine hitter drew a walk. She was running on a 3-1 count to the next Arkansas hitter, but ball four was thrown. The MSU catcher's throw to second hit the runner and skipped into left field allowing the go-ahead run to score.
Stevie Pierce led off the Bears' third with a base on balls, her 23rd of the year keeping pace with Brentz for the team lead. The next hitter, Raeven Replogle, sacrifice bunted pinch runner Ciara Flau to second, her 13th sacrifice of the season. Leadoff hitter Kirstin Cutter also laid down a sac bunt, moving Flau to third, but a groundout ended the Bears' bid to tie the game.
Arkansas got the first hit of the game to lead off the fourth. The runner was quickly erased when Heather Duckworth snagged a popped up bunt attempt and doubled the runner off of first.
In Missouri State's half of the fourth, Duckworth hit with one out and popped up to the right side. The wind pushed to ball towards first base and the Arkansas fielder dropped the ball to give the Bears a runner. MSU was unable to manufacture a run after a flyout and groundout left Duckworth stranded.
The Razorbacks got a one-out single in the sixth. Rose got out of the inning unscathed and set down the first two hitters in the seventh. But four consecutive hits plated three Arkansas runs and knocked Rose out of the game. Chelsea Jones came on in relief to record the final out.
Despite some hard-hit balls, MSU was unable to get a base runner over the final three innings. Every ball that was put in play was right at a Razorback fielder.
Missouri State will travel to Omaha, Neb., for a Valley series against Creighton to wrap up the regular season on Saturday and Sunday, May 5 and 6. The State Farm MVC Tournament will be held in Carbondale, Ill., beginning on May 10.