Aces Split First Day of MVC Series with Bears
May 3, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
Box Score 1 | Box Score 2
EVANSVILLE, Ind. – The University of Evansville softball team hosted Missouri Valley Conference rival Missouri State on Saturday afternoon in the first day of the final conference series of the year.
The Purple Aces split the doubleheader with the Bears, with Missouri State winning game one, 14-6 and Evansville winning game two, 3-1.
UE is not 19-31 this season with a 7-18 conference record, leaving them in 10th place in the Valley. Missouri State is now 26-26 this season and has a 9-16 Valley record, placing them in the eighth slot.
Despite his team falling out of contention for the conference tournament, Coach Mark Redburn was pleased with the way his team competed:
"I'm extremely proud of the girls and how they competed throughout the day. In game one, we had a few mistakes that hurt us overall, but we had a few solid performances, especially from Emily (Morris). Emily gave us a solid overall effort that gave us a chance to come back. I was happy with how we closed out the game though; putting three runs on in the bottom of the seventh and that gave us something to work with heading into the second game."
"The second game was clearly the better of the two for us, and I was extremely happy to see Taylor Perry come in and give us a strong overall performance. It was probably her best performance all season and that gave us a boost as a team and helped us to get that win. I'm just really proud of our girls and how they competed all game and closed out the game with a lot of heart."
Game one didn't go as planned for the home team, as Evansville fell behind early. Missouri State would score first in the series, as the Bears put a run on the board in the top of the first on an RBI single.
Freshman Briana Combs and Erin Struemph of Missouri State both put on two strong performances throughout the first four innings. After the Bears scored in the top of the first, neither team was able to get any offense going until the top of the fourth, where the visiting Missouri State squad added one more run on a bunt single RBI, giving the visiting squad the 2-0 lead.
After UE didn't put any runs on the board in the bottom of the fourth, the Bears took advantage, adding three more in the top of the fifth on a three run homerun, taking the 5-0 lead.
The bottom of the fifth inning saw junior Kayla Fortner hit her 10th homerun of the season, tying her with Chandra Parr for fourth all time in the UE Single Season Record Book and cutting the Bears lead down to 5-1.
Coach Redburn made a few defensive changes as the game headed into the sixth, including taking out Combs for senior Emily Morris. Combs (4-6) finished the day throwing 5.0 innings, striking out two and allowing five runs on eight hits.
Morris kept the Bears scoreless in the top of the sixth inning and the Aces took advantage, scoring two runs of their own, cutting Missouri State's lead down to 5-3. Evansville scored on an RBI single by Megan Gurski and a Chandra Parr fielder's choice.
The top of the seventh wasn't a good inning for Morris and the Aces, as the Bears scored nine runs on five hits and two costly errors by the Purple Aces, taking the 14-3 lead.
Evansville finished the game strong, scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI ground out by Michal Luckett, an RBI single by Morgan Baer and a Kacey Rogers score on a pass ball but it would not be enough, as UE dropped the first game 14-6.
The second game of the doubleheader went a lot better for the home team, as Megan Gurski and Taylor Perry teamed up to allow only five hits and one run during the seven innings of play.
Gurski started the game in the circle for UE and the junior transfer threw 2.1 innings of solid pitching before being taken out for Perry. Gurski allowed only one hit, while striking out two before being done for the day.
Perry (1-7) came in for Gurski and the senior had her best performance of the season. Perry kept the Bears scoreless through the fifth inning and her offense gave her some run support in the bottom of the fifth.
Susan Norris hit an RBI single to right field that gave UE the 1-0 lead, before Perry stepped to the plate and hit a monster two run RBI double to right field that gave the home team the 3-0 lead.
Perry kept the Missouri State squad off the board in the sixth and in the top of the seventh the visiting team finally got on the board with an RBI single, but that would be all the offense the Bears could come up with, as the Aces won the second game 3-1.
Perry finished the day throwing 4.2 innings, striking out three and allowing only one run on four hits, leading to her first win of the season.
Evansville will close out its 2014 season with the series finale against the Bears tomorrow at 12:00 p.m., with a ceremony honoring the team's four seniors before the game.