The Emporia State softball team split the series 1-1 against Missouri Western on Tuesday at the Trusler Complex. The Hornets won game one 3-0 and lost game two 7-6.
“I thought pitching wise we did not show up in game two,” said Head Coach Kristi Bredbenner. “We got too behind in the count and gave up too many hits, especially hits with runners in scoring position.”
On defense, senior Megan Denise led the Hornets in the circle with four strike-outs and no walks, throwing her fifth shutout of the season in game one.
The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third inning, when sophomore Abby Hughes hit a home run to score two, getting her tenth home run of the season. Junior Miranda Campbell hit a home run right after, getting her sixth home run of the season.
Senior Jennifer Dace, sophomore Abby Smith and senior Jill Peters all got one hit. Hughes went 1-2 at bat with two RBI and Campbell went 2-3 at bat with one RBI.
In game two, the count was 0-0 until the third inning when MWU took the lead off of an RBI double on Kasey Smith.
ESU would tie up the game in the bottom of the third from an RBI single from Dace.
At the top of the fourth inning, the Griffons took a 5-1 lead after hitting three doubles. Keri Franks led the offensive front with a two RBI double.
The Griffons scored three runs before ESU made a pitching change to substitute Jenny Heerey for Denise. MWU would score one more run before the bottom of the fourth.
The Hornets cut the deficit to 4-2 with a home run from Smith, which barely missed the left foul post.
Denise allowed one hit and no runs in the top of the fifth inning.
The Hornets continued to get consistent at bats. Campbell hit her second home run of the series with two RBI to make it a one point game.
ESU was unable to stop the Griffons at bat in the top of the sixth inning. Denise allowed three hits and two runs to put MWU up 7-4.
For Denise, coming in halfway through the game and adjusting on the mound was difficult.
“Game two I think I should have loosened up more than I was prepared for,” Denise said. “When I went in there was runners on, I was a little overwhelmed. Aubree (Brattin) was trying to adjust from Jennifer (Heerey) to me because we throw different games so she has to call different plays and they just caught up with us.
The Hornets did not go quietly. In the bottom of the seventh, ESU kept the fans on their feet with two more runs to make it a one point game. With two out and two runners on base, Smith was last at bat for the Hornets. Smith hit a short grounder out the second base but was thrown out at first base to end the game.
Although the Hornets had nine hits in game two, Smith said they just were not hitting to the right spots.
“We put the ball in play, we just were hitting the ball right at people which makes it hard to score runs,” she said.
The Hornets swept Washburn Wednesday 4-1 in game one and 8-0 in game two.
Emporia State moves up one spot to number nine in this week’s NCAA Division II South Central Regional Softball Poll and are one spot behind West Texas A&M.
With only one more regular season match up, the Hornets are preparing for post season play.
“I know we have a great chance to win the conference tournament because these teams that we are losing to we are like this and making mistakes,” Denise added.
ESU will finish up the regular season at 2 p.m. Friday against Fort Hays State at the Trusler Complex.