PITTSBURG — After a good start to the season, the Pittsburg State softball team dropped three out of four games last week and will look to bounce back this weekend with a full slate of games in the Eight States Classic.

Pitt State grabbed a win in the first game this past weekend on Friday, but three straight losses had the Gorillas searching for the offense, as they were shutout in two of the three consecutive losses.

“We played some really good in-region teams,” PSU head coach Elizabeth Economon said. “Some teams in the Great American Conference that have really gotten off to a good start. It was good to play tough competition. Obviously we would have liked to have a better outcome, but we we’re able to see how we stack up against some better competition and see what we needed to improve on in order to compete with some of those teams.”

Improvement has been the story of the week in practice for the Gorillas, who have been working on their plate discipline.

“I would say our biggest issue was that we were tight at the plate,” Economon said. “We were overthinking and trying to do too much, which caused us to swing at bad pitches and it was contagious. This week, we spent a lot of time on tracking, pitch identification and swinging at our pitch. We took the thought out of their hitting and just worked on visuals. Hopefully, we’ll take some of the pressure off the hitting if we just breaking it down to seeing the ball, then hitting the ball.”

Despite the woes at the plate, the pitching held up its end of the bargain, keeping PSU in ballgames by allowing an average of four runs per game.

“Overall, the pitching and defense was not as good as it was in Durant,” Economon said. “I think it stemmed from the offense and we tried to be perfect on defense. When you try to be perfect, it’s almost impossible. We just put too much pressure on ourselves on Saturday and it made things tough on both sides. I think we saw some good things on the mound and some things we’ll have to improve on, but overall I think we made too hard on ourselves so I think we’re going to take a different approach this weekend.”

Although it wasn’t a weekend to write home about, Pitt State will have a chance at redemption this upcoming, with a full slate of games this upcoming weekend, starting with Concordia at 9 a.m. on Friday followed by Rockhurst at 3 p.m. in Bentonville, Ark.

“Concordia has a few games under their belt, but instead of worrying too much about them, we’ll be focused more on ourselves, try to take care of our jobs and make it more about us,” Economon said. “Against Rockhurst, we feel like we owe them one after they beat us down in Durant 1-0. We’re excited to face them again and we know what they have, what they have to offer and what their approach is going to be, so we have that to go off of.”

Following Friday’s doubleheader, the Gorillas will take on Southern Nazarene at 11 a.m. and Minnesota Duluth at 3 p.m. on Saturday, before taking on Minnesota State-Mankato at 9 a.m. and Wayne State at 11 a.m. on Sunday.

“Going into Saturday and Sunday, we’re going to face teams we don’t know much about, other than Southern Nazarene. Then we’ll play Duluth, Minnesota State-Mankato and Wayne State, so all three teams from the Northern Sun who we haven’t faced yet.”

This upcoming weekend will be telling weekend for the Gorillas, as they try to break out of the offensive rut and get back to the basics.

“We’re going to have to look at it one pitch at a time,” Economon said. “Try not to think big picture, just take it one pitch, one at-bat and one inning at a time. If we can take care of the ball one play at a time, we’ll be fine. We just need to break it down and make it simple.”

— Jordan Buckamneer is a sports reporter of the Pittsburg Morning Sun. E-mail him at jbuckamneer@morningsun.net and follow him on twitter @jbuckamneer.