Feb. 28, 2016
TROY, Ala. -- The Missouri State softball team (7-6) had a runner on base in each of the first five innings in Sunday's finale at the Trojan Warrior Tournament, but a clutch two-run double by Dayton (6-4) befell the Bears, 3-1, to close out the opening month of play.
Junior Mary Stephens had a double, an RBI and drew a walk for the Bears. Sophomore Madison Jones kept up her impressive weekend with her eighth hit in three days. Freshman Darian Frost and sophomore Hailee Vigneaux accounted for the Bears' other two hits.
MSU pitcher Erin Struemph worked another complete game, her fifth of the season. She scattered five hits and struck out six Flyers.
"We were certainly facing some adversity this weekend, down four players from our regular roster," said head coach Holly Hesse. "I feel good about how were are playing, especially on defense and pitching-wise. We had a winning weekend and we were in every game. Offensively, we going to have to get better and better, and I think we will."
Madison Jones singled through the left side with one away in the first. But she was only able to advance to second in the inning.
The Flyers got a triple to right to begin the bottom of the first. Two batters later, a slow ground out drove in the first run of the game putting MSU down 1-0.
Elena Gambill drew a leadoff walk in the second inning. After Frost reached on an infield single, both runners moved into scoring position on a passed ball. A strikeout followed by a nice play at home to cut down the runner quashed the MSU rally.
Stephens drew her team-leading eighth walk of the season to start the Bears' third. Again, Dayton was able to avert trouble and hold on to its 1-0 lead.
Vigneaux singled up the middle to begin the MSU fifth inning. She moved to second on an errant throw by the UD catcher in a pickoff attempt. Two batters later, Stephens doubled into the left-center gap to drive home the game-tying run.
The game didn't remain tied for long. In the bottom of the fifth, a leadoff walk and a one-out double put two Flyers in scoring position. Struemph picked up her second strikeout of the inning and appeared to have the upper hand in the frame. However, a two-out double by Dayton broke the tie and gave the Flyers a 3-1 edge.
The Bears travel to St. Louis next weekend for the Breast Cancer Awareness Tournament beginning on Friday. MSU will face host Saint Louis and UMKC on day one and SEMO and Northern Illinois on Saturday. Missouri State's home opener is slated for Tuesday, March 8 at 3:00 p.m. versus Central Arkansas.