The Pittsburg State Gorillas may establish a foothold on the Offensive Player of the Week award in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.
Senior third baseman Katelyn Birchfield won the award on Tuesday and senior first baseman Kreslee Ketcham may have the next one under wraps with her incredible offensive performances so far this week.
Ketcham fell one hit short of a school-record tying 13 consecutive at-bats with a hit but her 4-for-4 performance in the first game Friday helped Pitt State claim a 14-2 win over MIAA newcomer Lindenwood.
Freshman shortstop Jordan Bradshaw also tied a school single-game record with two home runs in the 12-run victory. She drove in four runs on her two blasts — a solo number and a three-run shot.
The Gorillas made it a clean sweep with a four-run rally in the sixth inning for a 6-4 second game win.
Ketcham went 2-4 in the second game with a solo home run and a double. The Pitt State record for consecutive at-bats with a hit remains 13, established by Jerri Kious in 1996 and the MIAA record stands at 17 by Marcy Scott of Washburn in 1996, obviously a good year for streaks.
Over six games this week, Ketcham’s numbers border on a video game: .800 batting average (16-20), four home runs and 15 RBI. She began the week with a .207 average, three homers, and five RBI and entered today with a .359 average (152 point increase), seven homers and 20 RBI (quadrupled).
Ketcham was not alone delivering big hits Friday, especially in the first game.
In addition to a pair of homers from Bradshaw, Pitt State benefited from two Tiffany Brown RBI doubles, a Samantha Grove RBI double, a Kayla Sears RBI double, a Brenna George triple and a Sears RBI single.
The Gorillas scored 11 runs after the fourth — five in the fifth, one in the sixth and five in the seventh.
Meanwhile, Riverton graduate Haleigh Sills earned her fourth win by tossing six scoreless innings of relief after freshman Kylie Harpst struggled in the first.
Lindenwood scored on a Deidre Merli two-run double but managed nothing against Sills and the Gorilla defense.
In the second game, Kendall Ryndak staked Lindenwood to a 3-0 lead with a RBI double and a two-run double in her first two at-bats.
Pitt State cut the lead to 3-2 on the Ketcham home run and a George RBI.
Lindenwood helped Pitt State tie it up in the sixth with two unearned runs, then Cheslyn Mitchell hit a game-winning RBI single and Birchfield provided an insurance run with a sacrifice fly scoring Mitchell.
Kyndel Shelburn came in and closed the door on the Lions, striking out five in only two innings of work.
Pitt State (16-8, 4-2 MIAA) pounded out 24 hits Friday after 27 against Winona State, averaging nearly 13 hits per game its last four.
Page 2 of 2 - Truman State awaits the Gorillas today in Kirksville, Mo. Pitt State owns a better away record (8-3) than home (4-4).
Pitt State head coach Elizabeth Economon played her college ball at Truman, where she was one of the premier softball players in the MIAA.
Truman moves into the Great Lakes Valley Conference after this school year, ending a century of MIAA membership.
Pittsburg State 14, Lindenwood 2
PSU 210 051 5 — 14 16 0
LWU 200 000 0 — 2 8 4
Kylie Harpst, Haleigh Sills (2) and Kayla Sears. Kendall Ryndak, Megan Newman (5), Brooke Miller (6) and Alexandra Newcomb. WP: Sills. LP: Ryndak. E: Alyssa Esperum 2, Erin Pietzman, Newcomb. 2B: Kreslee Ketcham, Tiffany Brown 2, Kayla Sears, Samantha Grove; Deidre Merli. 3B: Brenna George. HR: Jordan Bradshaw 2. SF: Molly Stiens. SH: Hannah Braun. SB: George, Brown. HBP: Katelyn Birchfield.
Pittsburg State 6, Lindenwood 4
PSU 000 114 0 — 6 8 3
LWU 102 010 0 — 4 6 2
Samantha Grove, Jessica Barnes (3), Kyndel Shelburn (6) and Kayla Sears. Morgan Colvis and Alexandra Newcomb. E: Katelyn Birchfield, Jordan Bradshaw, Molly Stiens; Kaitlynn Siebert, Alyssa Esperum. 2B: Cheslyn Mitchell, Kayla Sears, Kreslee Ketcham; Kendall Ryndak. HR: Ketcham. SF: Birchfield. SB: Hayley Braun. CS: Sears, Tiffany Brown.