JOPLIN - On the eve of senior day the Missouri Southern Lions (29-20, 12-8 MIAA) split a MIAA twinbill with the University of Central Missouri Jennies today winning game one 6-9 and dropping the night cap 7-4.
Junior Nicole Reed (23-6) pitched another shutout, her tenth on the season, and held the Jennies to just four hits and struck out four.
Senior Megan Roark led the way offensively for the Lions as she went 4-for-4 at the dish with two RBIs and a run scored. Joining Roark with multiple hits were sophomore Dawn Grass and juniors Alysha Poteat and Brooke Hurley, with two each. Southern tattooed the Jennies pitching for 15 hits, all singles in route to the 6-0 win.
The Lions got on the board early as Roark got her first hit, a RBI single down the right field line, to score junior Brianna Fulkerson from second base. Fulkerson had walked to start the inning and was sacrificed over by junior Breanna Volkmann.
The Southern offense then came alive in the fifth inning as they chased the starting UCM pitcher out of the game after one error and four straight singles that resulted in a 4-0 lead. Roark added her second RBI of the game while Grass and Poteat each earned their first RBIs. Junior Natalie Nelson then welcomed the new Jennies pitcher with a fifth straight single and fellow junior Lydia Niemegeers added a sixth which resulted in another Lions' run as freshman Chasity Henson, who was pinch running for Grass, scored.
In the sixth frame the Lions would add to the tally scoring their final run as Volkmann led off the inning with a single to short left field and then stole second base. Roark would then get her fourth hit of the game, a single to left center, followed by Grass' single to left center as well. Poteat would then garner her second RBI of the game as she lined a single through the left side of the Central Missouri defense that scored Volkmann.
In the night cap it was shaping up to be a pitching duel before Central Missouri was able to get to senior Tiffany Bennett (4-11) for two runs in the top of he fourth. Bennett would leave the game in the fifth having given up six runs, only two earned, on seven hits and striking out two Jennies hitters. Sophomore Kayce Moore would then finish the game in relief pitching 2 1/3 innings allowing just one run on three hits.
Volkmann led the way offensively for Southern in the second game, as she was the only Lion to get a multi-hit game. The Central Missouri pitcher kept the Lions at bay until the sixth inning when Southern would strike for three runs to cut the Jennies lead in half, 6-3 going into the final frame.
In the sixth Poteat got the offense going as she reached on a fielding error by the shortstop. Nelson then followed with a hit by pitch and freshman Madison Reed beat the throw at first base for an infield single. Hurley would then single up the middle to drive home Poteat and Volkmann would single down the left field line to score Nelson. With the bases loaded sophomore Jessica Brooks drew a walk for a RBI to round out the Lions scoring on the inning.
After allowing one Central Missouri run in the top half of the seventh the Lions went to work in the bottom half and their come back bid fell just short. Grass led off the home half with a single up the middle. That was followed by Poteat reaching on a throwing error by the shortstop that allowed freshman Brooklyn Farrell, running for Grass, to be safe at second. Nelson would then ground out to the second baseman advancing both runners and Niemegeers would get an RBI ground out to shortstop to score Farrell from third before Madison Reed would hit a grounder back to the pitcher to end the game.
The Lions will be back in action tomorrow as they host the Southwest Baptist Bearcats in the final MIAA home double header of the regular season with first pitch scheduled for 2pm. In between the two games the Missouri Southern Athletics Department will recognize seniors Tiffany Bennett, Lauren Hasty, and Megan Roark.