PITTSBURG -- The Pittsburg State softball team tied the school record for consecutive wins with a 9-1, five inning win over Missouri Southern, then the win streak ended with a 8-6 loss as the Gorillas split a non-conference doubleheader with the Lions on Wednesday (April 4) at the PSU Softball Complex.
With the win in game one, Pitt State tied the school record for consecutive wins. The record was originally set by the 1993 team who won 15 games from March 6 to March 27, 1993. The game two loss was the first for the Gorillas since a 5-3 loss to Northeastern State on March 10.
Four Pitt State players were 2-for-3 in game one, Mannie DeCastro, Kreslee Ketcham, Alex Perez and Mac Rynard. Ketcham recorded three RBI and she and DeCastro each scored two runs. Cheslyn Mitchell was a perfect 2-for-2 with a run scored and an RBI, while Devon McCreath was 1-for-2 with a run and two RBI.
Pitt State went to work early, scoring four runs on six hits in the bottom of the first. Mitchell and Brown started with back-to-back base hits. DeCastro added a double to score Mitchell. A Ketcham base hit scored Brown and an Alex Perez base hit scored DeCastro. Rynard added an RBI double to bring Ketcham and force a Missouri Southern pitching change. The new pitcher, Hannah Cooke, sat the next three Gorillas down in order to end the inning.
Perez started the Gorillas with a leadoff base hit in the bottom of the third. Rynard followed with her second double of the game. Bailey Marcotte came in to pinch run for Rynard. With two outs, Devon McCreath hit a two RBI double for a six-run Pitt State lead. Mitchell followed with a base hit up the middle to score McCreath to put her team up 7-0.
The Gorillas scored their final two runs in the fourth DeCastro led off the inning with a long bloop triple that fell just out of reach of two outfielders. Ketcham followed with her sixth home run of the season for the 9-0 lead.
Missouri Southern scored its lone run in the top of the fifth on a solo home run by Brooke Hurley.
Hilary Erbert improved to 10-8 on the season with the complete game win. She gave up six hits, walked five and struck out one in five innings of work. Starter Arlisa Arwood took the loss for Missouri Southern in her first decision of the season.
In game two, though they fought hard at the plate in late innings, the Gorillas could not overcome eight errors in the field. Pitt State outhit the Lions 9-7, with six of those nine hits coming in the last two innings of the game.
Pitt State scored first in the bottom of the first of game two. Mitchell drew a lead off walk. DeCastro then added a one-out walk. Both runners advanced on a Haley Pypes illegal pitch. Kreslee Ketcham struck out, but ran down to first on the dropped third strike. The throw down allowed Mitchell to score from first.
Missouri Southern scored first in the top of the third as Hurley hit a grand slam with one out in the inning to go up 4-1.
Two Pitt State errors and a Missouri Southern base hit added two more run in the top of the fourth to give the Lions a 6-1 lead.
Molly Stiens led off the sixth with a home run to start at Pitt State rally. Katelyn Birchfield followed with a walk and and McCreath was hit by a pitch. Mitchell continued the Gorilla rally with a double to the left field wall, scoring Birchfield. Brown was intentionally walked to load the bases before a DeCastro ground out scored McCreath to narrow the Missouri Southern lead to two runs at, 6-4.
Two hits, a walk and another PSU error led to two more runs for Missouri Southern in the seventh.
Not about to give up, however, the Pitt State bats continued to heat up in the seventh. Rynard led off the inning with a double. Stiens followed with a base hit for her third hit of the game. A Birchfield ground out scored Marcotte, who was running for Rynard, to cut MSSU's lead to just three runs. McCreath added a base hit. With two outs a long infield base hit by Brown scored Stiens to make the score 8-6. That is where the score would stay however, as the last Pitt State batter of the game grounded out.
Mitchell took the loss in the circle for the Gorillas to move her record to 4-2 on the season. She pitched 6.1 innings, giving up six hits and eight runs, only four of which were earned. She walked two batters and struck out one. Brown pitched the final 0.2 innings for PSU, giving up only one hit. Haley Pypes earned the win for Missouri Southern. She struck out eight PSU batters and walked seven while giving up five hits and four runs in 5.0 innings. Kayce Moore earned the save, pitching the final 2.0 innings.
This weekend will be an exciting one at the PSU Softball Complex as the MIAA's top three teams will be facing off. The weekend begins on Friday at 3 p.m. with a doubleheader with No. 17 Missouri Western, currently 29-6 overall record and a 12-2 record in league play. Saturday the Gorillas, currently second in the MIAA standings, will face top team No. 20 Emporia State who is also unbeaten in conference play with a 14-0 record and a 23-7 overall record in a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday is Senior Day and Pitt State's three seniors, Mannie DeCastro, Hilary Erbert and Kelsey Henson will be honored prior to the start of the game. Also Saturday, the Pitt State Athletics Department and Sodexo will host an egg hunt between games of the doubleheader for all children six and under.