Pittsburg State pitchers Kylie Harpst and Kyndel Shelburn combined to allow one run on seven hits over 14 innings Tuesday against Northwestern Oklahoma State.
Pitt State and Northwestern Oklahoma split the doubleheader — the guest winning the first game 1-0 and the host winning the second 4-0 on another day when offense was hard to come by at the PSU Sports Complex.
“Good pitching,” Pitt State head coach Elizabeth Economon said. “The pitchers are hitting their spots, that’s for sure, and getting ahead of the hitters. The defense is playing well behind them so that makes it a lot easier when they’re fielding every ground ball and getting to every popout foul or fair. It takes a lot of pressure off the pitcher. They’re doing a great job.”
Shelburn lost her third consecutive tough decision after starting out her season 5-0. She only allowed two hits in a complete game Tuesday.
On the offensive side, the Gorillas failed to hold up their end of the bargain for Shelburn, leaving eight runners behind and four at third base.
“That’s been a lingering issue for us the past week (against Central Oklahoma, Northwestern Oklahoma),” Economon said. “It seems like we’re getting the runners on and then we’re not getting that big hit or the clutch RBI. We’re struggling to have that timing. That’s not anything we’re going to worry about. We’re going to keep on working. It is frustrating when that wasn’t the case earlier in the season and now we’re in a little bit of a tough spot.”
Pitt State managed only two hits against Allora Miller and one extra-base hit (double) by freshman shortstop Jordan Bradshaw.
In the second game, the Gorillas rebounded against pitcher Kellie Mason with solo home runs by Riley Campbell, Kreslee Ketcham and Bradshaw, as well as a RBI sacrifice fly by Ketcham.
Pitt State left six runners on base, not taking full advantage of four Northwestern Oklahoma errors. The Gorillas made more contact and applied more pressure on the Ranger defense.
“Of course, we’d like to score (more) runs but we did put it to them as to have more of a quality at-bat and hit the ball where it’s pitched,” Economon said. “Don’t try and do too much. Just keep it simple and try and put pressure on their defense. If you make things happen, sometimes it works in your favor. If you hit the ball hard, things work out. I still think we can improve more on that but from the first to the second game, yes, it was better.”
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The Gorillas managed a split on a day generating only six hits.
The Pitt State defense was ace for Harpst, who struck out two Rangers during her complete game victory. The left side of the infield, senior third baseman Katelyn Birchfield and Bradshaw, gobbled up every grounder, combining for 13 of the Gorillas’ 15 assists.
“They’re doing their job in forcing kids to hit groundballs and the defense is doing a good job of attacking the ball and making good throws,” Economon said. “I thought our throws were right on today. That makes the pitcher happy. Not a lot of our pitchers will rely solely on the strikeout. We know that they’re going to put the ball into play and when the defense is playing well behind them, it makes it a lot easier (for everybody).”
Northwestern Oklahoma head coach Cody Hooper was ejected during the second game for his team being caught warming up bats, not that it would have worked against Harpst and the Gorilla defense.
Pitt State ended a three-game losing streak and improved to 13-7.
Winona State comes to the PSU Softball Complex today for a high noon doubleheader — the Warriors fresh off a doubleheader Tuesday against Missouri Southern.
Winona State and Missouri Southern split with the Lions taking the first game 1-0 and the Warriors salvaging a split with a 12-4 run-rule victory in five. Both teams combined for six hits in the first game (two by victorious Missouri Southern) and 21 in the second game as Winona State scored 12 runs on 12 hits and two Southern errors.
Northwestern Oklahoma 1, Pittsburg State 0
NWOSU 001 000 0 — 1 2 3
PSU 000 000 0 — 0 2 1
Allora Miller and Tiffany Santistevan. Kyndel Shelburn and Kayla Sears. WP: Miller (5-4). LP: Shelburn (5-3). E: Miller, Cheyanne Terry, Jessika Sandoval; Katelyn Birchfield. 2B: Monica Jaramillo; Jordan Bradshaw. SH: McKenzie Rynard. SF: Cheslyn Mitchell. SB: Megan Burditt; Brenna George. HBP: George, Kreslee Ketcham. LOB: NWOSU 1, PSU 8.
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Pittsburg State 4, Northwestern Oklahoma 0
NWOSU 000 000 0 — 0 5 4
PSU 110 110 X — 4 4 0
Kellie Mason and Tiffany Santistevan. Kylie Harpst and Kayla Sears. WP: Harpst. LP: Mason. E: Alyssa Taylor 2, Jessika Sandoval, Megan Bourdon. 2B: Bourdon. HR: Jordan Bradshaw, Kreslee Ketcham, Riley Campbell. SF: Ketcham. SB: Bourdon; Cheslyn Mitchell. LOB: NWOSU 5, PSU 6.