CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Early defensive miscues helped Missouri State to an early lead and the Bears went on to end Bradley's season with a 4-1 victory over the Braves Thursday afternoon in the opening round of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
A Bradley (21-30 overall) error in the bottom of the first helped lead to three Missouri State (25-25 overall) runs. Ashley Brentz legged out an infield single and the Bears had runners at first and third after a Stevie Pierce single. A wild pitch and BU error allowed two runs to cross and Lauren Eisenreich gave Missouri State a 3-0 lead with a two-out single up the middle.
The Bears capitalized on another Bradley error in the bottom of the second. With runners at first and third and one out, Kirstin Cutter stole second and Ali Trickey was able to race home on a BU throwing error on the play as the Bears pushed the lead to 4-0.
The Braves loaded the bases with two outs in the top of the fourth after sophomore Bailiegh Basham (Mattoon, Ill./Mattoon/Lake Land C.C.) reached on an error, but 2011 MVC Tournament MVP Natalie Rose settled down to strike out her seventh hitter of the contest and get out of the jam.
Rose pitched out of another jam in the top of the sixth after Basham and sophomore Madeline Lynch-Crumrine (Sedro-Woolley, Wash./Sedro-Woolley) led off the frame with back-to-back singles. Rose retired the next three batters she faced, however, as Bradley went into the seventh trailing 4-0.
Sophomore Shannon King (San Jose, Calif./Archbishop Mitty) led off the top of the seventh with a single and senior Jackie Roth (Hickory Hills, Ill./Stagg) drove her in with a two-out double to right center in the final at bat of her career. The tying run was at the plate after Basham drew a two-out walk, but Rose got Lynch-Crumrine to pop out to end the contest.
Lynch-Crumrine gave up just one earned run in the loss, finishing the year with an 11-18 record. She struck out three and walked two in the loss. Rose earned the victory for Missouri State, fanning eight and walking two in the complete game win to improve to 17-15.
Missouri State advances to Thursday's 6:30 p.m. second round game against #3 seed Drake.