Despite dropping their first two game of the weekend, the Murray State softball ball team battled back to win its final three games, including both on Sunday, to capture the 2013 Arkansas Invitational championship in Fayetteville.
The Racers (4-5) opened play on Sunday in the first semi-final against Saint Louis, a team it lost to on Friday. The Billikens (3-5) once again struck first and took a 2-0 lead in the opening frame after the Racers committed an error and walked in a run.
However, in the second, the Racers took away the lead with three runs of their own. Alexa Becker started the scoring with an RBI double and was followed by an RBI single from Sarah Anderson. Christian Cox wrapped up the scoring in the frame when she was hit by a pitch and allowed Anderson to cross the plate.
The advantage, however, would be short lived as Saint Louis took a 4-3 lead with a two-run bottom of the second. The Billikens did their damage with an RBI single from Jessica Buschjost and a sacrifice bunt from Alyson Brand.
It looked like Saint Louis would get their second win of the weekend against Murray State until the top of the sixth inning. After Shelbey Miller reached base on a fielder’s choice, Mo Ramsey brought her home in the next at bat with an RBI triple to tie the game at four.
With neither team able to score in the seventh, the Racers headed to extra innings for the first time this season and the 14th time in program history. The eighth was equally as uneventful, so the game went to the ninth, and ultimately, final inning.
Leslie Bridges got the inning stated off with a walk and was moved to second by a single from Becker in the next at bat. Castile followed Becker and sent MSU surging ahead with a three-run home run to left field for the 7-4 lead.
CheyAnne Gaskey (1-2) returned to the circle in the bottom of the inning to see if she could help send the Racers to the title game. With the help of the defense, Gaskey got MSU out of the inning to seal the victory for her team. With her strikeout in the ninth, Gaskey set a school record for strikeouts in a game with 14.
With the win, Murray State advanced to the championship of the invitational against Louisiana-Monroe, who knocked off host Arkansas in its own extra inning affair.
In the championship, it was all Murray State. The Racers scored in each inning and won the game via the eight-run rule. Becker, Castile, Anderson and Ellyn Troup all homered in the game, while Miller, Bridges and Castile recorded doubles.
Shelby Kosmecki (3-3) earned the win in the contest by allowing just two runs off of eight hits with three strikeouts over six innings.
Next weekend, the Racers will travel to Birmingham, Ala., for the Magic City Classic hosted by Samford and UAB. While in Alabama, MSU will take on South Alabama, UAB and Nicholls State.
Story courtesy of Sports Information.