PITTSBURG -- Freshman pitcher Kyndel Shelburn made a statement in her first game of the PSU Softball Complex. The Wichita, Kan. native took charge of the first game of a doubleheader against Northeastern State to lead the Gorillas to a 7-0, two-hit shutout in their first MIAA contest of the season.
Shelburn fanned 13 batters, tied for the fourth-best pitching performance in school history, and was perfect through 5.1 innings, as she and the Gorilla defense sat down the first 16 RiverHawk batters before giving up a double in the top of the sixth. Shelburn's record is now 5-0 on the year.
Shelburn's stellar pitching performance was aided by four home runs from the Gorilla offense. In fact, Pitt State had only two hits that were not home runs in the game. Katelyn Birchfield and Kreslee Ketcham hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, bringing home four runs. It was the fifth of the season for Birchfield and the third for Ketcham.
Molly Stiens hit her first home run of the season in the fourth inning to put Pitt State up 5-0.
Tiffany Brown added her team-leading sixth home run of the season with a runner on in the bottom of the sixth for the final 7-0 score.
Although the Gorillas allowed a run in game two, the team earned a 9-1 run rule victory in five innings.
Pitt State scored first in the bottom of the second in game two. Birchfield led off the inning with a double and aone-out double by Kayla Sears scored her for the 1-0 lead.
A solo home run by Northeastern State's Saharra Henson in the top of the third tied the game at 1-1.
The Gorillas answered in the bottom of the same inning as Brenna George scored on a Brown double to put Pitt State in the lead once again.
Pitcher Samantha Grove helped her own cause in the fourth with a two-run home run to right center for a 4-1 Gorilla lead.
The fifth was a big inning for PSU. Birchfield got the offense started with a double to center with one out. She moved to third on a wild pitch. A solid line drive to left by Kayla Sears brought home Birchfield. Stiens followed with her second home run of the day, this time a three-run shot to right center to give the Gorillas a 8-1 boost. Grove walked, but was thrown out at second as George reached on a fielder's choice for the second out of the inning. Jordan Bradshaw got her second hit of the day, an RBI double that scored George from first for the final run of the game.
Kylie Harpst started the game in the circle and pitched three innings. She earned the win to move to 1-1 on the season. Grove finished the game, after coming in in relief in the top of the fourth.
Pitt State continues MIAA play on Saturday, March 16 with a home doubleheader against No. 8 Central OKlahoma. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.