MSSU softball team wins its first two games of 2024 season

Feb. 3—The Missouri Southern Softball team opened its 2024 season by winning both games Friday in the Ronnie Hawkins/Mike McGhee Memorial Tournament in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

The Lions won the first game against Southwestern Oklahoma State 9-1 in six innings.

They won the second against Arkansas-Monticello 8-0, also in six innings.

Southwestern Oklahoma

The Bulldogs scored first, in the bottom of the first.

Southern's Katie Gray followed up with a solo home run in the top of the second to tie the game at 1-1. In the top of the third, Emily Perry doubled to right-center to bring in Taylor Nuckolls, who had singled prior, for a Southern 2-1 lead.

In the fourth inning, a Madison Grimes' hit for Southern brought in Peyton Hawkins. Adrianna Young then doubled to right field, scoring Carsen Tinkler. A Yazmin Vargas bunt brought in Grimes. Taylor Nuckolls then hit a triple into center field that drove in Vargas and Young. Emily Perry then hit a single to right-center, driving in Nuckolls, giving the Lions and 8-1 lead.

A bases-loaded walk later gave the Lions one more run as they went on to run-rule win.

Kiki Pickens got the win on the mound for the Lions as she pitched all six innings, allowing only two hits and one earned run while getting six strikeouts on a 1.17 ERA.

Arkansas Monticello

In the second game of the tournament, the Lions beat Arkansas-Monticello 8-0.

In the first inning, a Nuckolls triple drove in two Lions, giving MSSU a 2-0 lead.

The next score in the sixth inning began with another RBI for Nuckolls as she doubled to center field to bring in Vargas. Perry then had the Lions first home run of the season and brought in Nuckolls and herself. Gray hit a single to center field that drove in Kylee Jacks, who had singled to center just a batter before. Hawkins was able to score on a passed ball after reaching third on two wild pitches. After a double by Abby DeSanto to left-center field, Kathryn Flowers hit a single to drive DeSanto in to give the Lions a 8-0 lead after six innings.

Avery Tallman started the game and was credited the win after throwing 3.2 innings and only giving up two hits while striking out two batters. Tallman and reliever Natalie Bates combined for the shutout victory, only allowing three hits in the game off of 23 Blossom at-bats.