Softball drops opening two games at the Eight State Classic

Bentonville, Ark. - Despite taking early leads in both games, the Missouri Southern softball team dropped their opening two games at the UAM Eight State Classic today at Memorial Park. The Lions lost 9-1 to Illinois-Springfield and then later stumbled 10-2 to the Quincy (Ill.) Hawks.

Southern (0-2) was led on the day offensively by sophomore center fielder Alana Hester, who collected two hits in the second game, while drawing three walks, scoring a run and stealing a base. Six other Lions registered one hit apiece, including shortstop Michala Wood, who knocked a solo homer to left center in the second game.

The Lions took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the first game as Hester led off the inning with a walk. Second baseman Brooke Swadley got hit by a pitch putting runners at first and second. The pair advanced to second and third on a Dawn Grass groundout and Hester would come around to score on an error by the Prairie Star second baseman on a hit by Alexah Replogle that gave Southern the early advantage.

Unfortunately, it was all Prairie Stars (1-0) after that as they scored three runs in the second, added four more in the fourth and single runs in the fourth and fifth to win by the eight-run rule. Sophomore Haley Kinnison got the starting nod in the first game, but only survived 2.2 innings taking the loss as she gave up seven earned runs and seven walks. She was relieved by freshman Shelby Mitchell, who pitched the final two innings in her Lion debut striking out a pair.

Much like the first game, Southern again took a 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning as Wood led off the inning with that solo shot, matching her total amount of home runs from a season ago. Taking a no-hitter into the bottom fourth, starting pitcher sophomore Sarah Williams was cruising right along until trouble found her in the fourth as the Hawks (2-0) totaled seven runs in the inning on only three hits as they took advantage of a pair of hit by pitches and walks.

Southern added a run in the top of the fifth as Chloe Brown, who led off the inning with a double, would come around to score on a fielder's choice. The Hawks added three runs in the bottom half of the sixth to go up 10-2 and win by the eight-run rule. Williams took the loss and again was relieved by Mitchell.

The Lions return to action Saturday in Bentonville taking on the Southern Nazarene Crimson Storm (2-3) at 1:30 p.m. at Memorial Park and the Ouachita Baptist Tigers (2-3) at 3:30 p.m. at Bentonville High School.