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.
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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.