Missouri Southern State sent 12 batters to the plate in the sixth inning during a seven run explosion to help the Lions take a 12-6 victory over Arkansas Tech at Mustangs Park. The win was Missouri Southern’s first at the Holiday Inn at the Falls/MSU Invitational softball tournament in Wichita Falls.
A cool, cloudy day brought out the offense early as the two teams combined for eight runs in the first two innings. The Golden Suns continued to chip away at the MSSU lead with the help of pitching miscues, pulling ahead 6-5 going into the sixth.
Maddie Roncketto, Siarra Gomez, and Victoria Huie would all have multiple hit games for ATU. Seven different Arkansas Tech batters drew walks in the game.
Brianna Fulkerson and Brooke Hurley led the Missouri Southern attack, with Fulkerson turning in a 3-for-5 game while Hurley was 2-for-4 with four RBIs. Alysha Poteat and Brooke Swadley also drove in two runs each.
Arkansas Tech jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first. A double from Roncketto and a single by Gomez followed by a walk to Hayley Hudson loaded the bases with one out. An error allowed two runs to score and left runners on the corners. Huie provided a sacrifice fly to bring in Hudson with the third run of the inning.
After the Golden Suns recorded two quick outs in the bottom of the first, the Lions managed to fire back. Hurley followed a walk to Poteat with a double to left center, driving in one run to cut the ATU lead to 3-1. An RBI single by Dru Coleman drove in Hurley from second to bring the Lions to within a run.
Missouri Southern continued to produce with two outs in the second inning to take the lead.
Fulkerson turned in a two out single, then moved to second when the second baseman misplayed the ball allowing Poteat to reach first. Hurley then belted her first home run of the season to left center to give the Lions a 5-3 lead.
Maurie Lewis led off the top of the third with a home run down the left field line to pull ATU back to within a run. Huie would follow with a double, but Lions’ starter Hannah Cooke worked out of the inning with the one run lead intact.
After back to back singles, Cooke was pulled in favor of Haley Pypes with one out in the fourth. The sophomore allowed both runners to move up on a wild pitch before loading the bases with a walk to Lewis. Another wild pitch allowed Roncketto to score the tying run.
Arkansas Tech took a 6-5 lead in the fifth inning when an alert Natalie Magie dashed home from third when the ball got by the MSSU catcher. The Golden Suns would get another runner in scoring position, but couldn’t add to their lead.
The ATU advantage held until the sixth when things fell apart for the Golden Suns.
A double by Fulkerson and an error put a runner on third for Poteat who singled in the run to tie the score 6-6. ATU head coach Gidget Pambianchi replaced Huie in the circle with Rachel Keeton who loaded the bases with after a walk and a fielder’s choice.
Two batters later Lydia Niemgeers turned in a one out, pinch hit RBI single to give MSSU a 7-6 lead and leave the bases loaded. A ground out by Brooke Smith was enough to bring in a run to make it 8-6 before Brooke Swadley provided the big blow of the inning with a two RBI single.
A steal of home by Swadley and an RBI single from Poteat would blout the Lions lead to 12-6 before ATU finally stopped the bleeding. The Golden Suns could only muster a two out walk in the bottom of the seventh to end the game.
Pypes would take the win to improve to 1-2. The Kansas City, Missouri native allowed one run on two hits while walking four in 3.2 innings.
Keeton would take the loss, striking out one and walking one while giving up five runs on five hits in one inning pitched to fall to 1-3.
The victory is the first for Missouri Southern in 2012, giving them a 1-4 record overall and a 1-1 record in tournament play. The Lions would close out the tournament against host Midwestern State Sunday afternoon.
Arkansas Tech drops to 2-4 on the season and finishes the tournament 0-2.
The Golden Suns were scheduled to close out the tournament against host Midwestern State. A lengthy game between Abilene Christian and Fort Hays State to begin the day forced all other games to start late, canceling the ATU vs. MSU game due to darkness.