By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
A close play at the plate ended Missouri Southern’s chances of posting a sweep of Northwest Missouri State on Saturday at Lea Kungle Field.
The Lions beat the Bearcats 1-0 in the opener before falling 2-1 after the Lions’ potential tying run was called out at the plate to end the game.
“I’m happy with their effort,” Missouri Southern coach Bill Gray said. “I don’t like the outcome at all. They’re madder about it than I am. We feel a little snakebit right now wherever we’re at. We don’t get a close play like that. But it happens. What we’ve got to do is take the next few days, rest and relax and come back Tuesday and work hard.”
Missouri Southern (18-16, 5-7 MIAA) finished the weekend with a 1-3 record after being swept by Missouri Western on Friday.
Saturday’s doubleheader was crucial for the Lions and the Bearcats (18-8, 6-4 MIAA) as both teams are near the middle of the pack and only eight teams advance to the conference tournament.
“One’s better than none,” Gray said. “We’ve just got to keep throwing punches. We’re a brawler. We’re going to get hit, but we’re going to keep throwing punches until you knock us down or the last pitch is thrown. We’ve had a couple of tough outings, but we’re getting through it and it’s going to make a difference.”
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh of the nightcap, Kathryn Goins reached first base on a fielder’s choice with two outs. Chloe Brown followed by hitting a double to left field. Goins was sent home but called out.
Northwest Missouri took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Stephanie Price scored on Kristine Labertew’s sacrifice bunt. Missouri Southern answered in the bottom of the inning as Brooklyn Farrell hit a triple to score Dawn Grass.
The Bearcats regained the lead in the top of the sixth as they took advantage of an error and a wild pitch.
Farrell led the Lions by going 2-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.
Morgan Brunmeier earned the win, and Missouri Southern’s Haley Pypes suffered the loss.
In the opener, the Lions’ Sarah Williams pitched a two-hit complete game with three strikeouts and three walks.
“It was a frustrating weekend from the offensive side, because it wasn’t the team we think we can be,” Northwest Missouri coach Ryan Anderson said. “That’s taking anything away from their first pitcher, or even their second pitcher. They kept throwing it right where they needed to, and we kept hitting it right in the ground. They pitched well. That first game was rough, because we just couldn’t get any one on base.”
Missouri Southern scored the game’s only run in the top of the seventh when Shelby Romines hit a sacrifice fly to score Brown.