No blame can be placed on Pittsburg State's McKenzie Rynard during a nine-inning 14-9 loss in the second game of a doubleheader Friday night against No. 7-ranked Emporia State at the PSU Softball Complex.
Rynard belted a pair of game-tying home runs in the seventh and the eighth.
In the seventh, Pitt State trailed 6-4. Tiffany Brown draw a walk and Rynard connected on a two-run shot, her 10th homer of the season.
In the eighth, Brenna George singled and with two outs, rather than pitch to Division II's leading home run hitter Brown, the Hornets made the decision to intentionally walk her with a three-run lead and bring up Rynard.
Rynard stung the Hornets with a three-run blast to center and opponents may want to reconsider pitching around Brown to face Rynard.
Unfortunately, for the Gorillas, Emporia State plated five in the top of the ninth behind a Brenda Novelo grand slam.
That was Novelo's only official plate appearance and oh, did she ever make it worth her while, staking the Hornets to their 14-9 win and Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association doubleheader sweep of the Gorillas.
The Gorillas and the Hornets combined for seven home runs in the second contest and Brown's two-run shot to opposite field in the third gave her No. 20 this season.
Emporia State center fielder Stephanie Goodwin went 5 for 5 at the plate.
In a game decided by five runs, Pitt State stranded 10 runners, Emporia State five.
The losses dropped Pitt State to 17-19 overall, 4-10 MIAA and Emporia State improved to 32-7, 12-0 MIAA.
The first game Friday was much less kind to the Gorillas, a 8-2 loss.
Between a Kylie Harpst solo home run in the first — Harpst's first career home run — and a Brown RBI single in the seventh, Pitt State accrued no run damage against Emporia State starter Kaitlyn Caston.
Caston surrendered two runs on nine hits.
Meanwhile, Emporia State drove Samantha Grove out of the contest in the second inning with five runs on six hits. Grove faced three batters in the second but was unable to record a single out, relieved by Harpst.
Jacie Stephens provided insurance for the guests from Emporia with a three-run homer in the seventh.
Caston earned wins on both sides of the doubleheader, a complete game in Game 1 and 3 2/3 innings of relief in Game 2. She improved to 23-5 on the season.
Pitt State fell to 1-3 on its current 18-game homestand.
Washburn comes to Pittsburg for a Saturday afternoon doubleheader, beginning at 2 p.m.
HORNETS 9, GORILLAS 2
ESU 230 000 3 — 8 13 0
PSU 010 000 1 — 2 9 0
Kaitlyn Caston and Jacie Stephens. Samantha Grove, Kylie Harpst (2) and Nicole Nease. WP: Caston (22-5). LP: Grove (9-8). HR: Stephens; Harpst. 2B: Taylor Zordel 2, Stephens 2. SB: Tiffany Brown. LOB: ESU 8, PSU 9.
HORNETS 14, GORILLAS 9
ESU 012 030 035 — 14 15 0
PSU 002 110 230 — 9 11 2
Eryn Stockman, Kaitlyn Caston (6) and Jacie Stephens. Haleigh Sills, Tiffany Brown (7), Kylie Harpst (8) and Nicole Nease. WP: Caston (23-5). LP: Harpst (4-5). E: Cheslyn Mitchell, Jordan Bradshaw. GS: Brenda Novelo. HR: Tricia Vogel, Jessica Gragg, Stephens; McKenzie Rynard 2, Tiffany Brown. 3B: Gragg. 2B: Stephanie Goodwin; Kylie Guthier. SF: Andrea Piezuch; Nease. SB: Madison Rich. HBP: Vogel, Novelo; Mitchell. LOB: ESU 5, PSU 10.