By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
Missouri Western pitchers Jackie Bishop and Janie Smith combined to allow five hits over 14 innings in a doubleheader sweep of Missouri Southern on Friday at Lea Kungle Field.
The 24th-ranked Griffons posted wins of 5-2 and 4-0 over the Lions.
“Western beat us,” Missouri Southern coach Bill Gray said. “Very few times have we been beaten this year. I know we’ve lost 15 times, but at some point we could always point to something that we gave away. I don’t think there’s a whole lot we gave away tonight.”
Missouri Southern (17-15, 4-6 MIAA) now looks to have a short memory as the Lions have a critical doubleheader against Northwest Missouri State (17-7, 5-3 MIAA) at noon today in Joplin.
“We just have to put those two behind us, and be ready to bounce back against Northwest Missouri,” Gray said. “We’re both in the middle of the pack of the MIAA, and we only take eight to the tournament. It will be big games for both ball clubs.”
The Lions had a difficult time stringing hits together against Missouri Western (22-8, 6-2).
Bishop, the All-American who boasts a 1.83 ERA, kept Missouri Southern hitless through the first four innings of the opener.
Missouri Western took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth after Maegan Roemmich homered to left field. The Griffons added two more runs in the top of the fifth when designated hitter Keri Lorbert smacked a double that scored Bre Fleschner and Kat Steponovich.
The Lions fired back in the bottom of the sixth when Dawn Grass hit a two-run single with the bases loaded to make it 4-2. But Brooklyn Farrell popped up to the catcher to end the inning with two runners stranded.
“Missouri Western is a good ball club,” Gray said. “They had great pitching. Jackie Bishop is a good pitcher. They swing the bat well. We had chances in both games, but we just couldn’t get that one hit.”
Bishop fanned 10 batters, and Lorbert led the Griffons at the plate by going 3-for-4 with three RBI.
Lions starter Haley Kinnison surrendered four earned runs over five innings, while Sarah Williams allowed one run in the seventh.
Smith, a freshman, kept the Lions hitless until the sixth inning when Roemmich singled to left. Missouri Southern’s best opportunity, however, was in the fourth when Smith walked the bases loaded. Michala Wood grounded out to end the inning.
“We were really pleased for both of those young ladies that they came out and threw the way they did,” Missouri Western coach Jen Bagley said. “It’s easy to play well when your pitchers take care of things as much as they did today.”
Tiffany Gillaspy led the Griffons at the plate with two hits and two RBI.
Southern used three pitchers with Haley Pypes and Kayce Moore allowing two runs each. Williams pitched three innings of scoreless relief for the Lions.
Missouri Southern now will face a Bearcats team that beat Pittsburg State 3-2 and 4-2 on Friday.
“We’ve got to bounce back,” Gray said. “We got to see what we’re made of. We got some young kids who got to step up, and we got some returners who have to as well. It’s a bit of a gut check.”