By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer
It took Haley Kinnison just five appearances to make her mark in the Missouri Southern softball record book.
Kinnison, a freshman from Lee’s Summit North, tied a school record with 14 strikeouts and led the Lions to a 7-2 win over Northeastern State in the opening game of a doubleheader on Saturday at Lea Kungle Field.
The RiverHawks rebounded for a 5-1 win in the nightcap to earn a split.
Kinnison’s 14 strikeouts tied Tara Curtis’ mark against Fort Hays State in 2006.
“I didn’t even know I had tied a record until they told me,” Kinnison said. “It’s pretty awesome. It gives me a lot of confidence.
“All my pitches were working and the umpire had a good zone. Everything was going in my favor.”
Kinnison allowed just two fifth-inning runs when the RiverHawks reached her for three of their seven hits.
She then struck out the side in the sixth and struck out two more in the seventh, including a swinging strike out of Lisa Ripperger to end the game with two RiverHawks on base.
“ I just try to get ahead of the batter,” she said. “One of the biggest things for me is if I do let runners on, I can get out of it. I know I can get out of the situation and get the next out.”
The Lions (13-9, 2-2 MIAA) scored three times in the first on RBI singles by Shelby Romines, Kinnison and Brooklyn Farrell. The added three more in the third when Farrell laced a two-run triple and Kathryn Goins singled her home.
“We put pressure on them and they made some errors and good things happened,” MSSU coach Bill Gray said.
Alana Hester was 3-for-4 with two runs in the opener while Romines was 2-for-4 with two run and an RBI. Kinnison, Farrell and Goins were each 2-for-3.
The RiverHawks (9-15, 1-3 MIAA) had the luxury of an early lead in the nightcap. Saharra Henson led off the game by being hit by a pitch and then scored on Ripperger’s two-out single to left.
Nevada Campos — who played two seasons at Crowder College — then led off the second with her sixth home run of the season to left to put NSU up 2-0.
The Lions used double plays in the third and fourth innings to escape jams and limit the damage to just one more run, but NSU’s Shelby Enloe never let them make rally.
Enloe gave up eight hits and struck out just two but walked none and forced ground balls.
“I said in the second or third inning that it was just a matter of time before we hit her. We would just hit in spurts and then something would happen and it would take us out of an inning,” Gray said. “We let one get away, but Northeastern played well and did what they had to do to take advantage of a situation and win an MIAA ball game.”
The Lions return to action on Monday with a non-league home doubleheader against Northwestern Oklahoma.