Grass smacks walk-off home run to help Lions split with Pumas

Joplin, Mo. - Senior first baseman Dawn Grass came through in the clutch tonight as she hit a walk-off home run to give the Missouri Southern softball team a 5-4 win over St. Joseph (Ind.) in a doubleheader with the Great Lakes Valley Conference opponent at Lea Kungle Field. The visitors from Rensselaer, Indiana won game one 9-6.

The Lions (6-10) had a solid afternoon from the plate as they collected 21 hits and scored 11 runs as four players had three or more hits. Southern was led by freshman centerfielder Jessica Castoe, who collected four hits in seven at-bats, including hitting a game-tying two-run RBI double down the left field line in game two. Grass, Brooklyn Farrell and Shelby Romines also collected three hits each.

St. Joesph 9, Missouri Southern 6

Game one saw the Lions fall behind 8-0 going into the bottom of the sixth before Southern rallied late to make things interesting at the end. After the Pumas scored two runs in the second, one in the third, three in the fifth and two more in the top of the sixth, the Lions finally got on the board platting a pair of runs as designated player Alexah Replogle hit a RBI double down the left field line and Farrell hit a RBI single to left field to make the game 8-2 entering the final frame.

After St. Joesph added a run in the top of the seventh to make it 9-2, Southern scored four runs in the seventh batting around the order to cut the game to 9-6 before the Lions left the bases loaded as Castoe struck out to end the game. Romines, Sarah Williams, Farrell and Rachel Harding picked up RBI's, but the rally was not enough as Williams was tagged with the loss as she pitched 5.1 innings striking out three. Shelby Mitchell came on in relief and pitched the final 1.2 innings.

Missouri Southern 5, St. Joseph 4

Falling behind again in game two, Southern faced a 3-0 deficit heading into the bottom of the fourth before they scored a pair of runs in the inning to get within one run. Replogle led off with a triple to center before Romines drove her home with a single up the middle. Romines came around to score on a sacrifice fly to right.

After the Pumas added a run in the fifth, the Lions tied the game at four apiece in the bottom of the sixth as Castoe hit her two-out double down the left field line platting Kathryn Goins from third and Harding from second. After starting pitcher Haley Kinnison got out of a bases-loaded no-out jam in the top of the seventh getting a double play and groundout, Grass came up with one out in the bottom of the frame to hit a walk-off bomb to left field for her second homer of the year.

Kinnison picked up her fourth win of the year as she pitched a complete game allowing six hits, four runs, two earned and struck out three.  

Southern returns to action on Friday as they open up MIAA play on the road at defending national champion Central Oklahoma (13-7, 4-0 MIAA) playing the Bronchos in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.