Joplin, Mo. - Combining for 19 hits and 12 runs in two games, the Missouri Southern softball team split a MIAA doubleheader this afternoon at Lea Kungle Field against seventh-ranked Emporia State falling 7-3 in game one before handing the Hornets their first MIAA defeat of the year in a wild game two winning 9-7.
The Lions (13-25, 5-9 MIAA) had a very balanced offensive attack from the plate this afternoon as seven different players collected two or three hits with Alexah Replogle, Kathryn Goins, Michala Wood and Shelby Romines each recorded three hits. Southern hit .333 as a team collecting 19 hits in 57 at-bats scoring 12 runs with five doubles and a triple.
Game one saw the Hornets (33-8, 13-1) get on the scoreboard first plating a pair of runs in the top of the inning, before the Lions responded with two runs of their own on a Replogle single to right field and a wild pitch to tie the game at two after one inning. Emporia State added a run in the third before tacking on four in the fifth to take a 7-2 lead. After the Lions went scoreless from the second to the sixth inning, the Lions made one last comeback effort in the seventh scoring a run on a Romines single driving in Jessica Castoe, but Dawn Grass grounded out to end the game. Sarah Williams started in the circle in game one going five inning allowing six hits, seven runs, four earned and a walk. Shelby Mitchell came on in relief in the final two innings and allowed one hit.
The Lions were able to salvage a split in game two as they handed the Hornets their first MIAA defeat of the year getting on ESU's starting pitcher Eryn Stockman early scoring seven runs in the bottom of the first inning, their second highest scoring single inning of the year. Wood got the action starting drawing a lead-off walk moving to second on a Chloe Brown single to right field as she moved to second on a error by the Hornet's second baseman. With runners on second and third for Romines, she hit a double to center field plating Wood and Brown. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Grass hit a sacrifice fly to center driving in Romines.
Replogle drew a one-out walk and came around to score on a Goins double to right center. After Brooke Swadley reached base on another ESU error, Rachel Harding hit a single that got past the Hornet's first baseman scoring Goins. Finally, Southern scored their final two runs as the Hornets committed their third error of the inning allowing Wood to reach base for the second time in the frame as Harding and Swadley scored.
Cruising right along in the circle, the Lions starting pitcher Haley Kinnison shut down the Hornets for the first 5.2 innings pitching a shutout before issuing a walk to Jacie Stephens to load the bases for Stockman who hit a grand slam to center cutting the lead to 7-4. Southern responded with two crucial insurance runs in the sixth as Brown led off with a triple down the right field line coming around to score on a Replogle double to right center and Grass scored later in the inning on a wild pitch to give the Lions a 9-4 lead heading into the top of the seventh.
With Kinnison looking to go for the complete game, she allowed the first three Hornets to single to load the bases before being relieved by Mitchell. Jessica Gragg did not greet the new pitcher well clearing the bases on a double to right center cutting the lead to 9-7. Emporia was unable to complete the comeback as Mitchell threw Gragg out at the plate and got Stephens to ground out to pick up her second save of the season. Kinnison notched her eighth win of the year pitching 6.0 innings allowing seven hits, seven runs, all earned and struck out five.
Southern is back in action on Sunday taking on the Washburn Ichabods (17-16, 9-7) in a doubleheader starting at noon.