Grass becomes Southern softball's all-time home runs leader as Lions split vs. Washburn

Joplin, Mo. - Senior first baseman Dawn Grass became the all-time home runs leader at Missouri Southern today as the Lions split a MIAA doubleheader this afternoon against Washburn falling 16-13 in nine innings in game one before a comeback effort in game two allowed them to score five runs in the bottom of the seventh to pull out a 7-6 victory.

Combining to score 20 runs and collect 27 hits as a team in the two games , the Lions' (14-26, 6-10 MIAA) offense was on full display today as five different players recorded at least three hits with Jessica Castoe leading the charge going 5-for-9 with a triple and two runs scored. Chloe Brown, Shelby Romines and Kathryn Goins all collected four hits while Grass had three, including a double and a home run to go along with five RBI's and three runs scored.

Game one saw plenty of offense as the two teams combined for 29 runs and 32 hits with scoring in 11 of the 18 half-innings. Washburn (18-17, 10-8) got the scoring started right away in the top of the first plating a run, but Southern quickly responded with three runs of their own in the bottom of the frame to take a 3-1 lead as Grass hit a towering home run to left field for her fifth of the season and 27th of her career as she surpassed Angie Turner (2006-10) for the most career home runs in Missouri Southern softball history.

The Ichabods answered with six runs in the second and added four in the third to take a 11-3 advantage, before Southern powered their way back with three runs in the third and four more in the fourth to make the game 11-10 after four. The Lions tied things up in the fifth as Romines hit a double to right center knotting the game at 11. Always seeming to have an answer to a Lions score, Washburn got a run across in the sixth and added an insurance run in the seventh to take a 13-11 lead, but the Lions refused to quit scoring two critical runs in the bottom of the frame on a Grass RBI double down the left field line and a fielder's choice by Replogle to force the game to extra innings.

After a scoreless eighth, Washburn's Shelby Erickson hit a three-run home run to left field in the ninth to supply the Ichabods with a 16-13 lead as Southern was unable to mount a comeback in the bottom half of the inning to lose a very hard-fought game. Haley Kinnison took the loss as Sarah Williams got the start and Shelby Mitchell also pitched.

After game one took more than three hours, the back end of the doubleheader went much faster as neither team scored in the first three innings. Washburn finally broke through the cold scoring drought in the fourth with a pair of runs adding three more in the fifth, but the Lions again held tough responding with two in the bottom of the inning on a fielder's choice by Brooklyn Farrell scoring Goins and single past the shortstop by Brown that drove in Farrell. The Ichabods made it 6-2 in the seventh with a triple to left center, but as was the theme of the day, the Lions simply refused to go away scoring five runs in the bottom of the inning to walk-off with the 7-6 win.

Farrell and Castoe led off the inning with back-to-back single and Brown loading the bases on a fielder's choice and error by the Ichabod's second baseman, Romines came to the dish with the bases loaded and no outs hitting a single up the middle to drive in a pair and move Brown to second. After a walk to Grass loaded the bases, Replogle singled scoring Brown. Still with no outs, Goins grounded out to shortstop plating Romines tying the game at six with one out and runners and second and third. Brooke Swadley finished the comeback off as she reached base as WU's first baseman booted the ball allowing pinch-runner Michala Wood to score from third. Kinnison started game two pitching the first four inning before giving way to Williams as she picked up her fifth win of the season hurling the final three innings allowing just one run and four hits.   

The Lions return to action on Wednesday as they hit the road to face Pittsburg State (18-20, 5-11) in a Sonic Trophy Series doubleheader at the PSU Softball Complex at 4 p.m.