Gorillas split with rival Lions
Garett McCullough | sports editor
The Pittsburg State University Gorillas split the first two games of the Sonic Trophy Series against the Missouri Southern State University Lions on Wednesday, March 6.
The Gorillas lost the seven-inning game, 4-1, but took the nine-inning game, 5-2.
Despite scoring one run in the top of the first inning in game one, the Gorillas were unable to sustain any offense, and were shut out through the remaining six innings. This was largely because the Gorillas stranded 11 runners on-base.
Junior right fielder Cody Ball was credited with seven of those hits, but he was one of four Gorillas with a hit in the first game.
Senior left-handed pitcher Matt Stalcup took the mound for the Gorillas in the first game, allowing four runs (two earned) on six hits in his four and one-third innings pitched.
Stalcup sailed through the first three innings, shutting out the Lions while allowing only three hits. In the fourth, an error charged to junior shortstop Evan Thomas on a throw from Stalcup resulted in both runners being safe at first and second. Both runners went on to score as unearned runs.
Stalcup was pulled from the mound in the next inning after allowing runners to reach second and third with one out, in favor of redshirt-freshman Ryan McKay. McKay struck out the first batter he faced, but gave a single to the Lions’ designated hitter Will Wagner, which scored both runners.
The inning also ended on that hit after Wagner went for second base and was called out. Drew Noble earned the win for the Lions after six and one-third innings, giving up one run on eight hits, while Stalcup was credited with the loss.
In the second game, PSU sophomore Jake Stevenson held the Lions to one run and six hits over the first six innings and earned the decision over MSSU’s Payton Walker. Walker had two runs scored on him, both unearned, but the Lions’ offense was unable to atone for their mistake in field.
The Gorillas’ hitting wasn’t any better in this game, but their offensive efficiency improved, as they left only eight runners on base. They also put the nail in the coffin, scoring two runs in the ninth.
PSU scored first in this game as well, capitalizing on a Sam Ryan error in the third inning. After the error, Thomas, Brad Foss and Ryan Bilovesky reached base consecutively with singles and pushed across the game’s first two runs.
The Lions managed a run on the strength of a Thomas Wilson single in the fourth inning, but continued to leave runners on base and ended the game with 11 runners left on base.
Thomas earned himself two more RBI’s in the top of the ninth with another single and left the game in the hands of the Gorillas’ left-handed pitcher James Fitzgearlds, who replaced Stevenson in the seventh inning. Fitzgearlds faced four batters in the bottom of the ninth, and closed out the game for his second save of the season.
The Gorillas will finish the Sonic Trophy Series on Tuesday, April 23, in Pittsburg. Up next for the Gorillas will be a three-game series against the Washburn Ichabods on March 8-9.