Pittsburg State senior third baseman Katelyn Birchfield helped deliver another Saturday split in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, driving home four runs on four hits in a 9-6 win over the No. 14-ranked Fort Hays State Tigers.
The Gorillas came back for their win after dropping a 1-0 heartbreaker in 10 innings, as Pitt State freshman Kyndel Shelburn matched low numbers with Fort Hays senior Maggie Holub, one of the premier players in the nation fresh off perfect games against Northwest Missouri and Missouri Southern.
Shelburn allowed one run on one hit but that run did not score on a hit and she fanned 12 Fort Hays batters. Holub improved to 20-1, striking out 13 and surrendering five hits. Shelburn and Holub combined for 11 walks.
Shelburn, who dropped to 6-7, pitched the PSU softball program’s first-ever one-hit extra-inning game. The last Pitt State one-hitter was tossed by Melissa Slayden against Northeastern State all the way back in 2010.
Tori Beltz drove in Amanda Vaupel on a sacrifice fly for the game’s lone run.
The game was decided by the good old international tiebreaker. The Gorillas were cursed by 14 runners left behind.
Pitt State answered the bell in the top of the first of the second game with two runs. Tiffany Brown drove in Brenna George with a sacrifice fly and Birchfield picked up her first RBI with a single plating Catie Cummins. Both runs were unearned.
Fort Hays tied it up in the bottom half of the first with a two-run single by Danie Brinkmann.
Birchfield drove in a run in all four innings the Gorillas scored and she again pushed across Cummins with a RBI single to spark a four-run third. McKenzie Rynard pulled off the nifty feat of both reaching on a bunt single and driving in Brown with that bunt single. Kayla Sears delivered a two-run double.
After the Tigers halved the Gorilla lead to 6-4, Birchfield singled home fellow senior Kreslee Ketcham in the fourth.
Fort Hays came back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth.
With a 7-6 lead in the sixth, Pitt State — victims of so many one-run losses this season, nine in fact — closed out the scoring with Brown and Birchfield RBI. Birchfield doubled home Ketcham and conversely, all four Birchfield RBI involved Neosho (Mo.) products Cummins and Ketcham.
Pitt State (19-19, 7-11 MIAA) closes out its road schedule today against Nebraska-Kearney and the Gorillas play their final 12 regular season games at the PSU Softball Complex.
No. 14 Fort Hays State 1, Pittsburg State 0 (10 innings)
PSU 000 000 000 0 — 0 5 0
FHSU 000 000 000 1 — 1 1 1
Kyndel Shelburn and Kayla Sears. Maddie Holub and Callie Wright. WP: Holub (20-1). LP: Shelburn (6-7). E: Danie Brinkmann. SF: Tori Beltz. SH: Kreslee Ketcham; Brinkmann, Paxton Duran. SB: Brenna George 2; Bianca Adame, Holub. CS: Holub. HBP: Katelyn Birchfield, Sears, Riley Campbell.
Page 2 of 2 - Game Two
Pittsburg State 9, Fort Hays State 6
PSU 204 102 0 — 9 10 3
FHSU 202 200 0 — 6 10 2
Haleigh Sills, Kylie Harpst (3) and McKenzie Rynard. Paxton Duran, Jordan Jones (4), Maggie Holub (5) and Amy Dunn. WP: Harpst (4-3). LP: Duran (13-6). E: Rynard, Jordan Bradshaw, Riley Campbell; Holub, Dunn. 2B: Katelyn Birchfield, Kayla Sears. SF: Tiffany Brown. SH: Catie Cummins 2, Kreslee Ketcham 2. SB: Bianca Adame 4, Courtney Dobson, Adara Erickson. HBP: Jordan Bradshaw. LOB: PSU 6, FHSU 11.