On the road again
Softball team heads to MIAA Crossover
Garett McCullough Sports Writer
Pitt State’s softball team will head to Kirksville, Mo., this weekend for the second MIAA Crossover Invitational of the season, where the Gorillas will get to face three new conference opponents.
Emporia State, Central Missouri and Southwest Baptist are all on Pitt State’s schedule this weekend at the crossover, where they will also get the chance to redeem themselves against Missouri Southern and Lincoln, against which the Gorillas are a combined, 0-3.
“The only challenge I see is us being more aggressive on offense in the first couple of innings,” said freshman infielder Breanna McCracken.
The Gorillas’ first game will be played at noon Friday against the Missouri Southern State Lions. Pitt State lost to the Lions 3-4 on April 5. The Gorillas rallied to score three runs in the final two innings of that game, but an unearned run in the fifth inning would come back to haunt Pitt State as it provided the Lions with just enough cushion to win the game.
“I’m very confident in our team,” McCracken said. “We just need to play to our capability.”
The Gorillas will have some time to rest as their next game isn’t scheduled until 6 p.m., when they face the Emporia State Hornets. The Hornets are 11-1 in conference play, 30-7 overall, and are ranked 14 in Division II. This will be the first meeting between these two teams this season. If records and rankings prove true, this will be a tough game for the Gorillas, but an opportunity to win against a good team.
The Gorillas open Saturday against the 21-17 Central Missouri Jennies at 2 p.m. The Jennies are 6-6 in conference play and have yet to face Pitt State. Both teams have beat Truman State and Fort Hays State this season. The Jennies have won more conference games than the 2-8 Gorillas, but are coming into the tournament losing eight of their last 10.
Pitt State will have a quick turnaround; they play their next game at 4 p.m. against the Lincoln Blue Tigers. The Gorillas already faced the Blue Tigers earlier in the week in a double-header on Monday. Both games resulted in Pitt State losses, but were also very close. In the first game, Lincoln scored the only run of the game in the bottom of the sixth for the victory. Lincoln shut Pitt State out in the second game as well while scoring in the first and sixth innings to win 3-0.
The Gorillas play their last game of the invitational at 11 a.m. Sunday against the Southwest Baptist Bearcats. The Bearcats are 5-19 overall and have the most losses in conference play with a record of 3-11. While they haven’t won many conference games they were able to win against Northwest Missouri State, which is 10-4 in the conference. The other two wins were against teams in the bottom half of the standings.
The invitational offers the opportunity for the Gorillas to face new opponents and gain some redemption. They face four teams with a .500 or below conference records. A game against the 14-ranked Hornets offers the ladies a chance to add a big win to their resume on neutral ground before having to travel to Emporia for the double-header.