Feb. 13, 2015
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Solid pitching gave the Missouri State softball team (5-2) a split in day one of the Texas A&M Aggie Classic in College Station on Friday. MSU shut out Eastern Michigan (0-1) to open the tournament, 4-0. In game two of the day, the Bears suffered a 4-3 walk-off defeat to Penn State (4-2).
"I thought she (Chelsea Jones) did a great job of throwing strikes and getting ground-ball outs," said head coach Holly Hesse. "Both pitchers made it into the seventh and I am pleased to see that kind of progress. We gave up just two earned runs all day. That's really good pitching and any time you do that, you have a good chance to win."
Senior Chelsea Jones was involved in both aspects of the Bears win in the opener. In the circle, she tossed 6.1 innings, giving up just three late hits to the Eagles to improve to 3-0 on the year. She took a perfect game into the bottom of the sixth before a single to center ended the no-hit bid. At the plate, Jones hit a two-run double to cap a four-run inning.
Fellow senior Ali Trickey continued the Bears' string of games to open the season with at least one hitter contributing multiple hits. She went 2-for-3 in the opener and scored a run.
Freshman Erika Velasquez Zimmer had four hits on the day. She had a RBI single, scored a run, stole a base and drew a walk in the game against EMU. She had three more hits in the game versus Penn State and scored a run as well.
Sophomore Erin Struemph earned her third save of the season by closing out the final two batters of the win over EMU, including a strikeout. She fired a complete game against Penn State, the Bears' first of the season. Struemph struck out six PSU hitters, including a batter to end the fifth inning with the bases loaded.
On the day, Bears hitters drew 12 walks, eight against the Eagles and four more against the Nittany Lions. Senior Rebecca McPherson drew three of the walks in game one and had two hits in game two.
Missouri State 4, Eastern Michigan 0
The Bears earned walks in each of the first four innings of the game, but were unable to convert any into runs.
In the fifth inning, Trickey led off with an infield single to begin a rally. Madison Jones followed with a walk. A single to center by Velasquez Zimmer pushed home the first run of the game. McPherson drew her third walk of the game to load the bases for Chelsea Thomas. Thomas flew deep enough to center field to drive in another run. Two batters later, Chelsea Jones doubled to center to plate two more runs.
The Bears' sixth inning looked promising from the onset. Pinch hitter Hailee Vigneaux drew MSU's sixth walk of the game. Trickey singled to center to continue the inning. Madison Jones flew to short center field, but although the in-betweener dropped, the runner was forced out at third. Eastern Michigan would get out of the jam.
Chelsea Jones was tossing a perfect game until one out into the sixth inning. A bloop single to center broke up the no-hit attempt. Jones would earn the win with 6.1 innings pitched and struck out three in the victory. Struemph came in to nail down the save, retiring the final two batter for her third save of the year.
Missouri State 3, Penn State 4
Missouri State jumped in front early in the first inning. Madison Jones began the game by drawing a walk. Velsaquez Zimmer reached on an infield single and both runners were moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by McPherson. Thomas laced a single to center, driving home both runners for a 2-0 lead.
Penn State tied the game in the bottom of the second on a pair of hits and an MSU error.
In the fourth inning, the Bears retook the lead. Mary Stephens led off with a walk. Pinch runner Olivia Roark advanced to second on a groundout by Braxton Coil. Erin Duewel roped a two-out triple off the right field wall to push MSU in front.
A lead-off home run by Penn State in the sixth knotted the game at 3-3. It stayed that way until the bottom of the seventh when the Nittany Lions tallied a walk-off hit to devastate the Bears.
MSU will play Penn State and Eastern Michigan again on Saturday before closing the weekend against the host #22/23 Aggies on Sunday at 12:15 p.m.