Durant, Okla. - Fresh off winning their first two games of the year on Friday, the Missouri Southern Lions softball team split a pair of games on Saturday afternoon to improve their record to 3-1 on the year. The Lions fell 4-3 to Drury in their first game, before bouncing back and defeating new MIAA conference member Northeastern State 4-2 in eight innings.
With the Lions the visiting team against Drury, Southern would get on the board first in the top of the third when rightfielder Shelby Romines would drive in second baseman Brooke Swadley from first base after lacing an RBI double to left field to give the Lions an early 1-0 lead. With Drury responding with a run in the bottom of the third, the Lions would re-take the lead in the top of the fifth when centerfielder Alana Hester would lead off the inning with an infield single before Romines would rope an RBI triple to right field scoring Hester to give the Lions a 2-1 lead.
The Panthers would again respond to the Lions scoring in the bottom of the fifth knocking in two more runs off of starting pitcher Sarah Williams to take a 3-2 lead. Haley Kinnison would come on in relief of Williams with one out and get two big strikeouts to limit Drury's damage. With Drury adding another run in the bottom of the sixth to take a 4-2 lead, the Lions wouldn't go down without a fight in the seventh.
With Hester leading off the inning with an infield single, Swadley would get hit-by-a-pitch putting runners at first and second with no outs. Romines would advance Hester to third on a sacrifice fly. First baseman Dawn Grass would follow Romines with a fielder's choice scoring Hester from third. With two outs, Sara Stearns would groundout to second ending the Lions threat as they would fall 4-3 to Panthers.
Turning around and playing thirty minutes later, the Lions would face Northeastern State in the second game of the afternoon at the Durant Multi-Sport Complex. Being the visiting team again, the Lions would find themselves down quickly 1-0 after the first inning. With the Lions offense slow to get going, starting pitcher Haley Pypes would keep the Lions in the game holding the RiverHawks to that lone run, while getting out of a number of jams throughout the afternoon.
The Lions' would break out of their slow start offensively in the top of the sixth as Hester would get on base with another infield single before Swadley would drive a double to centerfield plating Hester and tying the game at one apiece. Pitching out of another jam in the bottom of the sixth, Pypes would get NSU to fly out to right field leaving the bases loaded for the RiverHawks.
Unable to take advantage of a leadoff double from Pypes in the top of the seventh, the Lions would capitalize in the top of the eighth. Using the international extra inning rule that starts a runner on second base, Brooke Smith would advance to third on a sacrifice fly from Hester. Swadley would follow with a walk putting runners on the corners for Romines. Hitting the ball well all day, Romines would continue her hot hitting start to the year smacking a three-run homer over the right field wall putting the Lions up 4-1. The RiverHawks would try to battle back in the bottom half of the inning hanging up one run, but the Lions would shut the door on their threat as Pypes would get the final batter to pop out to take the game 4-2, giving Pypes her second win of the season.
Southern (3-1) returns to action Sunday afternoon when they play their final two games of the Southeastern Regional Invitational against Arkansas-Monticello at 2 p.m. and Henderson State at 4 p.m.