PITTSBURG - The Missouri Southern Softball Lions (24-17, 7-5 MIAA) swept the Pittsburg State Gorillas 1-0 and 5-1 tonight in Pittsburg, Kan.
In the first game it became a pitchers duel as junior Nicole Reed (17-5) recorded 13 strike outs, bringing her season total to 158 (10 away from setting a new single season record for Southern), as the Lions won 1-0 in nine innings.
The lone run of the game was scored by Southern in the top of the ninth as junior Natalie Nelson singled through the left side of the Pittsburg State infield then advanced to second on a throwing error by the left fielder. Nelson then reached third on a single to the shortstop by junior Lydia Niemegeers. Nelson then scored on a fielding error by the Gorillas' third baseman to give the Lions' the 1-0 lead.
Nicole Reed then allowed a single to start the bottom frame of the ninth and Pittsburg State sacrificed the runner to second. Reed then notched a her 13th strike out of the game before getting a Gorilla to pop up to third to end the game.
The night cap between the Sonic Trophy Series rivals got off to a quick start as the Lions scored two runs in both the first and second innings and then added an insurance run in the fifth frame for their five runs.
Junior Brianna Fulkerson started off the game working the Pittsburg State pitcher for a walk and then was sacrificed over by junior Breanna Volkmann. Junior Alysha Poteat walked and both her and Fulkerson advanced a base on a wild pitch and then scored on a double to right field by senior Megan Roark.
In the second frame junior Brooke Hurley started the offense off with a walk and then advanced to second on another wild pitch as Niemegeers walked and they both advanced on the second wild pitch of the inning. Fulkerson connected on a sacrifice fly that scored Hurley and Volkmann singled to right field to move Niemegeers to third. Niemegeers then stole home to score the fourth Lions' run.
The final Southern run came in the fifth inning as Fulkerson led off with a single to left field followed by a fielder's choice by Volkmann that moved Fulkerson into scoring position. Poteat then singled to second to move Fulkerson to third with one out and Roark then hit a sac fly to center that scored Fulkerson.
Nicole Reed (18-5) pitched yet another stunner of a game giving up just one run, an unearned run, on five hits and striking out seven. Those seven strike outs brings her season total to 165 thats just two away from tieing the single season mark set by Britany Hargis in 2001.
With the sweep of the Gorillas, Missouri Southern has secured their second straight Sonic Trophy Series victory over Pittsburg State.
The Lions softball squad will be back in action this weekend as they travel to Emporia, Kan. to take on the Hornets of Emporia State University on Friday with first pitch of that conference double header slated for 4pm. They will then travel to St. Joseph, Mo. to tackle the Missouri Western State University Griffons on Saturday in another MIAA double header with games scheduled to start at 1pm.