Aces Softball drops two close ones to Missouri State

Aces softball
Aces softball(WFIE)
Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 10:54 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MO. (WFIE) - Two close contests saw the University of Evansville softball team battle to the finish but Missouri State had the timely hits that gave them a pair of walk-off victories over the Purple Aces.  The Bears opened the day with a 1-0 win before scoring the winning run in the 10th of game two as they took a 3-2 win.

Game 1 – Missouri State 1, UE 0

Pitching was the story in the opening game with the two starting pitchers allowing a combined two hits through five innings.  Sydney Weatherford was in the circle for UE while Gracie Johnston made the start for the Bears.

Zoe Frossard has Evansville’s hit in the contest, leading off the second with a single to left.  Abby Ford had the hit for MSU in the bottom of the fourth.  After the Bears recorded their second hit of the game in the sixth, they were able to push the winning run across the plate in the seventh.

McKenzie Vaughan hit a 1-out single before pinch runner Chloe Merced would score on a double by Alex Boze.  Weatherford struck out three batters while walking just one while Johnston fanned four Aces batters while walking one.

Game 2 – Missouri State 3, UE 2 (10 innings)

Another hard-fought battle saw the Purple Aces battle to the wire with the Bears before they saw the winning run cross the plate in the bottom of the 10th.  Evansville out-hit Missouri State by an 8-4 margin with Hannah Hood recording three hits and two runs while Jenna Nink had two hits.

UE scored the first run of the game in the second inning as a single by Nink scored Hood, who reached on an error with one out.  The Bears countered with a run in the bottom of the frame.  The Aces jumped back in front in the fourth as Jess Willsey hit an RBI double to left center, bringing in Hood for the second run of the game.

Once again, the Bears had the answer as McKenzie Vaughan hit a leadoff home run to center.  Things remained knotted at 2-2 as the contest entered extra innings.  In the 8th and 9th, Evansville had two runners on with one out, but MSU got out of both jams unscathed.  In the bottom of the 10th, the Bears broke the tie when Ellie McCoy reached on a bunt single to bring in the winning run.

Mikayla Jollyn and Erin Kleffman tossed three innings apiece.  Jolly did not allow a hit while Kleffman allowed just one.  Both saw just one run score.  Megan Brenton threw the final 3 1/3 innings with one unearned run crossing the plate.  Gracie Johnston recorded her second win of the day, throwing 4 1/3 scoreless innings of relief.

Sunday’s series finale is set for a 12 p.m. start time.