March 19, 2014
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - The Missouri State softball team (18-8) got stellar starting pitching from Erin Struemph and Jessie Van Es, who each allowed just two hits, in a doubleheader sweep at UMKC (9-16) on Wednesday. Struemph tossed a shutout in a 3-0 game one win and Van Es settled in after a two-run first for a 4-2 win in game two.
Freshman Struemph tossed her sixth complete game and third shutout of the season in the game one win. She struck out nine to up her season total to league-best 79. When Struemph finally surrendered a bunt single with two outs in the sixth, she had pitched 8.2 consecutive no-hit innings to begin the week in the circle.
Sophomore Van Es struck out four batters and held eight of the nine UMKC starters hitless. She did not allow a walk in her third complete game of the season.
Ashley Brentz, Kerri Cunningham and Chelsea Jones each had three hits on the day. Brentz and Jones each drove in two runs in game two. All three scored at least one in the twin bill.
Heather Duckworth had two hits and drove in all three runs in game one. Ali Trickey had two hits in game two and sparked the inning that turned the game in the Bears' favor with her fifth double of the season.
Game 1 - Missouri State 3, UMKC 0
MSU looked to take an early lead in the second inning. Heather Duckworth legged out an infield single with one out. Stacia Boeckstiegel grounded to third, but the throw to first got away allowing Duckworth to move to third. Rebecca McPherson followed and also grounded to third and the throw home cut down the runner essentially ending the rally.
The Bears did take the lead in the third. With one away, Ashley Brentz singled to center. After she stole second, Kerri Cunningham walked. Chelsea Jones continued the inning with a single to left to load the bases. After a fielder's choice putout at home, Duckworth came to bat again. She laced a triple inside the line into the right field corner to clear the bases and put MSU up 3-0.
In the fifth inning, Cunningham reached on an infield single. After stealing second, she made it to third on a ground out but was stranded to end the frame.
Missouri State got a one-out walk from McPherson in the sixth inning. Two batters later, she advanced to third on a single over the first baseman by Braxton Coil. But for the second-straight inning, MSU stranded a runner at third to end the inning.
Struemph struck out at least one Kangaroo in each inning including the pinch hitter to end the game. Her nine strikeouts were one shy of her season high. Neither of the hits allowed by Struemph left the infield.
Game 2 - Missouri State 4, UMKC 2
The Bears fell behind early in game two. The UMKC leadoff hitter was hit by the first pitch of the game. The second hitter doubled to left-center. A Bears' throwing error and an RBI groundout gave the Kangaroos a 2-0 lead.
Missouri State got on the board in the third. Ali Trickey doubled to left-center with two outs to begin the rally. Brentz drove her home with a single to center. Cunningham reached on an infield single sending Brentz to third on the play. After Cunningham stole second, her 15th steal of the season, both runners were driven in on a single up the middle by Chelsea Jones giving MSU a 3-2 lead.
The Bears added to the advantage in the fourth. Back-to-back walks drawn by McPherson and Elena Gambill with one down got the inning going. An infield single by Trickey loaded the bases. Brentz flew to left, a sacrifice fly, scoring McPherson from third.
Chelsea Jones began the Bears' fifth inning with a single. She moved to second on a wild pitch, but remained there as the inning ended.
Missouri State will return to Killian Stadium for the series finale against Bradley on Thursday with a 4:00 p.m. first pitch. The Bears are scheduled to play new MVC foe Loyola this weekend. Stay tuned to MissouriStateBears.com for schedule updates.