JOPLIN, Mo. -- Behind a career-high 14 strikeouts from freshman pitcher Haley Kinnison, the Missouri Southern softball team split a pair of MIAA games Saturday afternoon at Lea Kungle Field, defeating Northeastern State 7-2 in game one before falling 5-1 to the RiverHawks in the second game.
Tying Tara Curtis' school record for most strikeouts in a single game, the right-handed freshman fanned 14 of the 32 RiverHawks she faced as she picked up her fourth win on the year pitching a complete game. Kinnison surrendered only seven hits and two earned runs while walking four.
The Lions collected 13 hits in the first game as Alana Hester was 3-for-4 with two stolen bases, Brooklyn Farrell went 2-for-3 with a triple, and Kinnison went 2-for-3.
Keeping their offense going from Friday night against Central Oklahoma, Southern (13-9, 2-2 MIAA) scored three runs in the bottom of the first to take a early 3-0 lead. Hester, Brooke Swadley and Shelby Romines each hit singles to lead off the game as Romines' slap to left field platted Hester. Kinnison would follow two batters later to help her own cause hitting a single up the middle to drive in Swadley. Two batters later, Farrell came through with the Lions' fifth single of the inning to plate Kinnison.
The Lions would add three more runs in the third inning as Romines led off with a single to right field. Dawn Grass drew a walk to put runners at first and second for Kinnison, who would groundout to the pitcher to advance Romines and Grass. Farrell came to the plate two batters later and hit a two-run triple to right center, her team-leading third of the year, to give the Lions a 5-0 lead. Kathryn Goins followed with a single up the middle to plate Farrell and give the Lions a six-run cushion.
The Lions pushed their lead to seven in the bottom of the fourth, but the RiverHawks would answer back with two runs in the top of the fifth. That would be as close as NSU would get, as Kinnison would record five of her final six outs in the final two innings by way of strikeout.
The Lions did not find as much luck in the second game, as they were held to eight hits and only one run, picking that tally up in the bottom of the seventh. Swadley was 3-for-4 and Kinnison would drive in the lone-run pinch-hitting for Brooke Smith as she brought home pinch-runner Rachel Harding.
The RiverHawks would score runs in the first, second, fourth and add two more in the fifth.
The Lions return to action Monday afternoon when they host Northwestern Oklahoma State (9-5) in a non-conference doubleheader at 2 p.m. at Lea Kungle Field.