After taking two of three at Bradley from April 6-7, the Missouri State softball team returned to Killian Stadium for a pair of mid-week games. 

The Bears started off the hosting Southern Illinois on April 9 before welcoming Tulsa to town a day later.

They finished off the week on the road at Illinois State from April 13-14. 

Against SIU, Missouri State won 2-1 in a thriller over the Salukis on Tuesday.

A bases-loaded grounder by junior Darby Joerling with two outs in the bottom of the seventh brought home freshman Bailey Greenlee with the winning run to help the Bears secure the victory. 

Joerling’s grounder was fielded by SIU pitcher Claire Miller, who snagged the ball and came home with an errant throw to allow Greenlee to score from third. 

Sophomore Steffany Dickerson picked up the win for Missouri State as she went the distance, allowing just five hits with three strikeouts and four walks.

She recorded her 100th career strikeout of the season in the fifth inning and became the third Bears’ pitcher since 2013 to reach the 15-win plateau.

“I can’t say enough for how hard our team competed,” head coach Holly Hesse said in a press release. “Everyone battled in the seventh inning, Erin (Griesbauer) had a fantastic at-bat in the fifth to give us a chance to score a run, and Steffany was composed and in command all day against a great team.”

Missouri State then knocked off visiting Tulsa on Wednesday, 3-2. 

With winds gusting to 50 mph in the Springfield area, the playing conditions were far from ideal, but the Bears weren’t fazed. Griesbauer, a junior, allowed just one run over five strong innings. 

Dickerson closed out the final six outs, earning her fourth save of the year. 

Dickerson also walked three times to set a team season-high, while her teammates combined for seven hits to help Missouri State climb 10 games over .500 for the first time this season.

“Another great team effort by the Bears,” Hesse said in a press release. “We got a tremendous effort from our pitchers and we came out swinging the bats.

“It’s hard to imagine stronger winds blowing in from center field, but our defense made the necessary adjustments, and we collected our 15th nonconference win.”

The Bears then pounded out a combined 15 runs and 18 hits — six for extra bases — in a doubleheader sweep of rival Illinois State on Saturday. 

Missouri State completed a 4-0 week with wins of 9-5 and 6-2 over the Redbirds.

“It’s nice to see us put up a bunch of runs,” Hesse said in a press release. “We needed all the separation we could get. Illinois State really swings the bats well. They have a lot of power, and for us to out-homer them on the day was a difference maker.”

The Bears hit a pair of home runs in the short two-game series, doubling their season total in conference games. 

Hesse was quick to credit Illinois State’s hitters, who collected 21 total hits on the day with double-figure hits in each game. 

“Our pitchers did a lot of grinding today,” Hesse said in the press release. “Illinois State had a lot of long at-bats, a lot of hard-hit balls, and got a lot of leadoff hitters on. We really had to compete out there.”

Missouri State are 26-14 overall now on the season, 11-5 in Missouri Valley Conference, which ranks third in conference play. 

The Bears will host Evansville for a three-game series on April 19-20.

Derek Shore is a Sports Reporter at The Standard. He is a junior majoring in journalism with a minor in communications. He started writing about sports for The Standard during the fall semester of 2018.