A seven run outburst in the fourth inning made the difference as Missouri Southern defeated Drury University 10-8 at the MSU Invitational in Wichita Falls Sunday. The game between the Missouri rivals kicked off the final day of the three day tournament at Mustangs Park.
Brooke Hurley and Lauren Hasty would both have multiple hit games for the Lions, with Hasty driving in two of the Missouri Southern’s 10 runs. Tiffany Bennett would pitch 3 1/3 innings of relief, striking out two and scattering five hits to take the win. Nicole Reed would close things out for her second save of the season.
Everything but the final score looked good on the stat page for Drury. Shawna Barrow, Ashley Balazs, and Courtney deRonde all had three hit games for the Panthers. A freshman from Nixa, Missouri, deRonde led the team with two RBIs. Brittany Davis took the loss in relief, giving up five hits and four runs while striking out one in one inning pitched.
Drury came out of the top of the first with a 1-0 lead thanks to an RBI single by Balazs, but it could have been worse as the Panthers had the bases loaded with only one out. Lions starter Kayce Moore worked her way out of further trouble.
Drury looked to break things open in the third when Barrow led off with a double and later scored on an Andi Anti single. The Panthers would then load the bases again and increase their lead to 3-0 on a Kelsey James RBI single and keep the bases loaded for deRonde.
A single from deRonde would score one, but the Panthers gambled for two and came up empty. Leftfielder Chloe Brown got the ball back in quickly to shortstop Alysha Poteat who relayed to Hasty at the plate to cut the runner down.
The Panthers would tack on one more in the inning to make the score 5-0 and chase Moore in favor of Bennett in the circle.
A little luck brought the Lions to life in the bottom of the third. Brianna Fulkerson led off the inning by reaching base via a hit by pitch. A throwing error allowed Breanna Volkmann to make it all the way to second as Fulkerson scored to end the shutout.
The Lions would cut the lead to 5-2 after Volkmann moved to third on a fly out and scored on a wild pitch.
A three up, three down inning for Drury in the top of the fourth was followed by the Southern Missouri onslaught in the bottom of the inning.
After Jessica Brooks walked to lead off the inning, Chloe Brown would make it a one run game with a two run homer to dead center. Four batters later Megan Roark tied the game 5-5 with a one out sacrifice fly to right, which also allowed Volkmann to advance to third.
Missouri Southern took the lead when Volkmann scored on an RBI single by Dawn Grass. The 6-5 advantage would quickly become an 8-5 advantage when Hasty drove in two with a double to left center.
Pinch runner Kaitlin King would then come around to score on a Brooks double to send the game into the fifth with the Lions leading 9-5.
The Lions would add an insurance run in the fifth on a Poteat RBI double. The run looked like it would be an important one as Drury mounted a comeback in the bottom of the seventh.
Balazs and James led off the inning with singles to put runners at the corners. deRonde then drove in one run with a double to left center, leaving runners at second and third.
The Lions called in Reed to close the door, but it didn’t come easy. A single by Betsey Toalson made the score 10-7 and put runners at the corners. Reed struck out the next two batters swinging before surrendering an RBI single to Amber Hayden. Anti would strike out swinging to end the game.
Missouri Southern improved to 3-2 on the season with the victory. Drury falls to 1-3.
Both teams wrap up the MSU Invitational with games against host Midwestern State.