The McKendree University softball team was defeated Thursday by the University of Missouri-St. Louis in first-round action of the 2018 NCAA Division II Midwest Region 2 bracket, 4-0. The four-team, double-elimination event is being held at the Land of Lincoln Softball Complex in Springfield, Ill.
The Tritons’ Carly Kingery fell one out shy of a perfect game in leading UMSL to the victory. Kingery struck out 10 batters and finished with a no-hitter in the effort. McKendree slips to 38-17 overall and will play in an elimination contest Friday at 1:30 p.m. against either the University of Illinois Springfield or Saginaw Valley State University. Illinois Springfield is the host for the regional.
“You really have to give Kingery a lot of credit,” said McKendree head softball coach Ashley Fleming. “She kept us off-balance all day and she was in a groove from the start. We just couldn’t get the bats going. We needed to find a way to shorten up and put the ball in play. We just couldn’t do that today.”
Thursday’s game was scoreless until the top of the fourth inning, when UMSL (34-22) broke through against McKendree freshman right-hander Miranda Gajewski. The Tritons put two runners on with one out when Reagan Osborn hit a three-run homer to stake UMSL to a 3-0 lead. Missouri-St. Louis added a run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to account for the final margin.
Meanwhile, Kingery retired the first 20 batters of the contest. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Kingery hit McKendree senior designated player Brooke Gajewski with a pitch to lose the perfect game. On the next pitch, Kingery induced a pop-up to finish with the no-hitter.
Miranda Gajewski was nicked for the loss in the circle for McKendree. In five innings of work, Gajewski allowed four runs on eight hits with two walks and a strikeout. Sophomore left-hander Hannah Murphy fanned three batters in two hitless innings of relief for the Bearcats.