Lincoln softball drops twinbill to Pittsburg State – Jefferson Metropolis Information Tribune
It was just one of those days when the offense couldn’t get much going for the Lincoln Blue Tigers.
“Right now, we’re just having to preach ‘resiliency,'” Lincoln softball coach Christine Core said Sunday after the Blue Tigers’ doubleheader losses of 5-0 and 9-1 to the Pittsburg State Gorillas at LU Softball Field. “We just have to be constantly reminded — myself included — that this is a process, it’s going to take time.”
Lincoln’s offense finished the day with eight hits in 13 innings.
“We’re struggling offensively, and we’re not able to string together hits,” Core said. “That’s how you win ballgames.”
In the opener, Pittsburg State scored all five runs with two outs. It started with Paxtyn Hayes’ two-run single in the third inning, then continued with Kori Stonestreet’s RBI single in the sixth to give the Gorillas a 3-0 lead.
In the seventh, the Gorillas added two insurance runs on a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch to build a five-run lead.
The sacrifice fly off the bat of Hayes was Lincoln’s defensive play of the day. Center fielder Jordan Lawson made a diving catch on the ball in the right-center field gap, robbing Hayes of a two-run triple, or perhaps even an inside-the-park home run.
“Jordan has been working super-hard, because she usually has a little trouble over that shoulder,” Core said. “That was really awesome to see her take a great angle and make a big-time play.”
Alex Miller pitched all seven innings for Lincoln. She gave up five runs (three earned) on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts.
It was just the fifth complete game in 36 contests this season for the Blue Tiger pitching staff.
“If your pitchers can keep it within a few runs, you should be able to make it a ballgame,” Core said.
Lincoln had five batters reach base in seven innings. Kendra Holt reached base all three times, drawing a pair of walks while constantly fouling off two-strike pitches and then blooping a single over the shortstop’s head in the seventh.
The Blue Tigers scored their only run of the doubleheader in the bottom of the first inning in Game 2.
Jordan Hollon led off the inning with a hit-by-pitch on an 0-2 count, then Leslie Callahan reached base on a bunt single. A double-steal then put both runners in scoring position.
Lawson singled to left field, scoring Hollon to give Lincoln a 1-0 lead.
“I thought we were going to get off to a little run there, get a little momentum,” Core said. “Then it just came to a screeching halt.”
That halt was a four-run second inning for Pittsburg State.
“We weren’t really able to take that back from them,” Core said.
Callahan tripled to right-center field in the third inning and Hollon doubled to left-center in the fifth, but both were left stranded on base.
“Timely hits just have to happen,” Core said. “Unfortunately, at this point in the season, we’re putting a lot of pressure on ourselves, trying to do too much at the plate.”
Callahan and Lawson each had a pair of hits for Lincoln in Game 2.
Kaylee Burns and Taylor Compton each pitched compete games for Pittsburg State (15-23, 9-11 MIAA). Burns walked two and struck out five in the opener, while Compton fanned five without allowing a walk in Game 2 for the Gorillas.
The four losses this weekend — Lincoln fell 12-4 and 5-0 on Saturday to Missouri Southern — eliminate the Blue Tigers from contention for one of the eight spot in the MIAA Tournament with four conference games to go.
“We just have to find a way to be able to put together seven innings,” Core said. “It’s like we’re playing a good one through four, and then we’re letting it fall apart five through seven, or vice versa. It’s just a matter of letting all the pieces fall into place.”
Lincoln (6-29-1, 3-19 MIAA) will play a doubleheader today at Washburn, with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. The games were moved up one day due to potential winter weather Tuesday.
After that, the Blue Tigers play Wednesday doubleheaders on the road this week at Missouri S&T and next week at William Jewell, before wrapping up the 2021 season May 1 at home against Central Missouri.
Core has a checklist of items she would like to see her team accomplish in these last eight games.
“I just want to see them not let one error turn into two,” she said. “I’d like to see them make more adjustments at the plate, and I’d like to see us put together a complete ballgame.
“It’s one thing to get beat by the other team, but it’s another to give games to the other team. I’d like to see us reduce that.”