The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 19, 2013

Southern splits again, this time with No. 23 Warriors

By Ryan Atkinson
Globe Sports Writer

— Haley Kinnison followed up her school record-tying performance on Saturday with a shutout in a 1-0 win over No. 23 Winona State in the first game of a doubleheader on Tuesday.

Winona State then came to life and showed just how impressive Kinnison’s gem was with a 12-4, five-inning romp in the nightcap to force the split at Lea Kungle Field.

“A sweep would have been real good,” MSSU coach Bill Gray said. “Those are region games and if we can win both of those games, it may not look like much now, but later on in May, that’s huge.

“Two would have been much better, but we’ll take the split.”

It was the fourth doubleheader split in the last five days for the Lions, who are 15-11 heading into the thick of the MIAA schedule starting Friday.

“We need consistency,” Gray said. “Right now we’re Jell-O and I’d prefer to be a brick. Sometimes we stop people and do what we’re capable of and sometimes we don’t. That’s part of being young, but right now everybody has to grow up. We’ve played 26 games. We’re getting there.”

Kinnison improved her record to 5-1 in the opener, escaping bases-loaded jams in the second and third innings and making MSSU’s one first-inning run — Dawn Grass’ single scored Shelby Romines — hold up.

The freshman from Lee’s Summit North struck out seven and allowed four hits. She got Reed Karsten to ground back to the pitcher’s circle with the bases loaded and two out in the second and struck out Kaitlin Hardie looking in the same situation in the third.

She allowed just one base runner the rest of the way.

“She was letting the leadoff batter on and that’s what hurt us (Monday.) We can’t do that,” Gray said. “It’s a lot easier to get out of innings when you get the leadoff batter out and Haley acknowledged that and it became her priority the rest of the game and it made a difference.”

Kayce Moore, who is coming off shoulder surgery in December, made her first start of the season for the Lions in the nightcap. She got two quick outs and had two strikes on Ashley Walker before Walker came through with the first of three-straight singles that gave the Warriors a 1-0 lead.

Walker later capped a three-run second inning with a two-run single that made it 4-0.

“She was told she’d never throw again and here she is,” Gray said of Moore. “We knew we wouldn’t get seven innings out of her. She was effective in the first inning and didn’t do bad in the second inning.

“Her expectations are higher and we’re just trying to support her and give her the opportunity.”

The Warriors led 6-1 before exploding for six more runs in the fifth inning. Jessica Kullman blasted her second two-run homer of the game in the inning and Morgan Lintz added a solo shot.

“Whether we were throwing strikes or not, the ball was too meaty,” Gray said. “And they’re a good-hitting ball club. You can’t do that against a team like that.”

MSSU scored three times in the fifth — including an RBI single from Kathryn Goins, who was 3-for-3 with a double and two RBI — but couldn’t escape the fifth-inning run rule.