ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Pittsburg State senior Tiffany Brown broke school single-season and career home run records in a fashion befitting No. 11.
In the first inning of the second game of a Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association doubleheader Saturday against Missouri Western, Brown found a groove and blasted a three-run home run off Western starting pitcher Janie Smith.
It was a hit the Gorillas desperately needed or any team on a six-game losing streak.
Brown was not done — in her second at-bat, with Brenna George and Cheslyn Mitchell again on base, Brown hit another three-run homer off Smith.
At the end of the day, Brown placed the marks at 19 (season) and 48 (career), and her two three-run home runs accounted for the Gorillas' 6-2 win.
While 'Home Run' Brown — the nation's leader in the long ball — provided all the necessary offense, Samantha Grove returned to the winner's circle, allowing one earned run on seven Griffon hits. No. 12 fanned three batters.
Grove improved her mark to 9-6 on the season.
At one point, Grove had won her first seven decisions and owned a 1.29 ERA. She's lost six of her last eight decisions and it's not entirely her fault, although the seven earned runs charged against her Friday bumped her ERA 50 points from 2.23 to 2.73. Her performance Saturday will help that number go back down — in fact, 12 points to 2.61.
Back to Brown and her ridiculous numbers.
This is her season thus far: .455 batting average, 38 runs, 45 hits, four doubles, 19 home runs, 54 RBI, 106 total bases, 1.071 slugging percentage, 21 walks-15 strikeouts and .549 on-base percentage. She leads the Gorillas in nearly offensive statistical category.
Pitt State improved to 16-16 overall, 3-7 MIAA and return home for the next 18 games, playing nine doubleheaders — Lindenwood, Emporia State, Washburn, Rogers State, Missouri Southern, Fort Hays State, Nebraska-Kearney, Newman and Drury — over the next couple weeks.
The Gorillas begin Tuesday with Lindenwood and wrap it up with two Apr. 16 against Drury.
The first game Saturday featured a wild finish.
Pitt State's Kylie Harpst matched Missouri Western's Jackie Bishop, one of the nation's top pitchers, most of the way but two wild pitches, plus a Tiffany Gillaspy solo home run, proved to undo Pitt State in a 3-2 loss.
McKenzie Rynard hit her ninth home run of the season to get the Gorillas on the board in the second.
Brown's RBI single plating Mitchell extended the early lead to 2-0 entering the bottom of the third.
That's when Taylor Anding scored Missouri Western's first run on a wild pitch.
Harpst and Bishop then exchanged goose eggs until the bottom of the sixth.
Gillaspy led off the frame with a solo home run and Sydney Washington singled and later scored the game-winning run on another wild pitch.
Bishop retired the Gorillas with a pair of strikeouts and one game-ending 4-3 groundout, leaving the fleet-of-foot George behind after her single.
Bishop earned her 83rd career victory, her 13th this season, and her ERA remained under 1 at 0.96. The Gorillas were only the fifth team all season to manage more than a single earned run against Bishop.
GRIFFONS 3, GORILLAS 2
PSU011 000 0 — 2 5 0
MW001 002 X — 3 8 1
Kylie Harpst and Nicole Nease. Jackie Bishop and Kat Steponovich. WP: Bishop (13-6). LP: Harpst (3-4). E: Morgan Rathmann. HR: McKenzie Rynard; Tiffany Gillaspy. 2B: Cheslyn Mitchell; Sydney Washington. SH: Kylie Guthier. SB: Tiffany Brown; Washington. HBP: Guthier.
GORILLAS 6, GRIFFONS 2
PSU303 000 0 — 6 5 3
MW200 000 0 — 2 7 2
Samantha Grove and Nicole Nease. Janie Smith and Kat Steponovich. WP: Grove (9-6). LP: Smith (7-8). E: Kylie Guthier 2, Nease; Bre Fleschner, Taylor Anding. HR: Tiffany Brown 2. 2B: Cheslyn Mitchell; Michelle Stevenson. SB: Sydney Washington. HBP: Brooke Schaben, Washington.