Durant, Okla. - The Missouri Southern Lions softball team opened up the 2013 campaign this afternoon at the Southeastern Regional Invitational winning a pair of games. The Lions defeated Ouachita Baptist 10-2 and Arkansas Tech 5-4 in nine innings.
With Ouachita Baptist jumping out to a 2-0 lead after five innings despite seven strikeouts from starting pitcher Haley Kinnison in the first three innings, the Lions would jumpstart their offense in the top of the sixth. Batting around the order, the Lions would string together six hits in their half of the inning driving in four runs to take a 4-2 lead.
Tagging on three more runs in the top of the seventh, the Lions were not done with the offensive fireworks as freshman Lexie Gardner would drill a three-run homer to left field to give the Lions a six-run inning and a 10-2 lead. Kinnison would record the final three outs in the bottom half of the inning to register the win in her first collegiate start.
Following a short break, the Lions would also match up with Arkansas Tech on the afternoon defeating the Golden Suns 5-4 in nine innings.
The Lions would jump out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first as freshman centerfielder Alana Hester would find her way around the basepath to get Southern on the board early. The Golden Suns would answer back with three runs in the next three innings until the Lions would go to work offensively scoring three runs in the bottom of the fifth to take a 4-3 lead.
Arkansas Tech would respond with a run in the top of the sixth to tie it things up at four. Despite a number of chances in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings for the Lions, Southern was unable to push the winning-run across the plate.
The Lions and Golden Suns would continue to fight until the bottom of the ninth when freshman shortstop Michala Wood would knock in the game-winning run with two outs and score junior first baseman Dawn Grass from second base.
Junior pitcher Haley Pypes would get credit with the victory as she came on in relief of starting pitcher Hannah Cooke. Pypes would pitch the final four innings of the ballgame, giving up no hits or runs.
The Lions return to action Saturday afternoon when they play two more games at the Southeastern Regional Invitational playing Drury at noon and new MIAA conference member Northeastern State at 2 pm in a non-conference matchup.