EMPORIA, Kan. – The #5 Emporia State softball team scored eight runs in both games and needed everyone of them in the second game for a double header sweep of Central Missouri on Tuesday at the Trusler Sports Complex. The Hornets won game one 8-3 and then scored five runs in the bottom of the seventh to win game two 8-7.
Kaitlyn Caston, the national leader in wins in the circle, helped her own cause in the matinee by driving in Jessica Gragg with a single in the second for a 1-0 Hornet lead in the second inning. Central Missouri took the lead with three runs in the top of the fourth, highlighted by a two run homer from Lauren Mabe. Emporia State answered with three of their own in the bottom of the fourth, capped by a two RBI single from Taylor Zordel. Stephanie Goodwin started another three run rally in the fifth with a single and would score on Tricia Vogel’s single. Andrea Piezuch hit a sac fly to score Gragg and Caston got her second RBI of the game with a single that scored Vogel for a7-3 lead. Goodwin hit a one out double in the sixth, her 12th time reaching base in 13 plate appearances, and came home on single by Vogel to end the scoring.
Caston was three for four iwth two RBI and a run scored while pitching all 7.0 innings for her 26th win of the season. Goodwin, Gragg, Vogel and Jacie Stephens all had two hits in the Hornets 14 hit attack.
The nightcap was scoreless through the first three innings as Hornet freshman Eryn Stockman did not allow a hit in the first trip through the line up. The Jennies took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Lindsey Dawson led off with a double and scored on a two out single from Mabe. The Hornets took the lead with three unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth. Piezuch reached on a error by the second basemen to lead off the inning and went to second on a single from Caston. Stephens then laid down a bunt to sacrifice them over but the the throw from third was errant and allowed Piezuch to score. Brenda Novelo then pinch hit for Stockman and singled to plate Caston. Madison Rich ended the scoring for the inning with a sac fly that scored Stephens.
Central Missouri threatened in the top of the sixth as the loaded the bases with one out. Gragg threw a runner out at the plate for the second out and Stockman struck out pinch hitter Alex Leonhart to leave the bases filled with Jennies. In the top of the seventh the first four batters reached base and Central Missouri tied the score on Dawson’s two RBI single. After getting one out and then giving up the go ahead run on a single, Caston came on in relief. She walked the first batter she faced to load the bases. Pinch hitter Amanda Nally hit a bases clearing double to put the Jennies ahead 7-3 with still just one out. Caston bore down and got a pop out and strike out to end the inning.
After a ground out to start the bottom of the seventh, the next four Hornets reached base without a hit. Stockman walked on four straight pitches and went to second when Zordel was hit by a pitch. A walk to Rich loaded the bases and Goowin was hit to force in a run. Gragg popped out for the second out followed by a two run single from Vogel that pulled the Hornets within 7-6. Piezuch tied the game at 7 with a single up the middle that scored Goodwin. Caston then delivered the walk off win with a single to left that scored Vogel and improved the Hornets to 18-2 in the MIAA.
Piezuch and Caston were both two for four with an RBI and a run scored. Caston worked the final 0.2 innings to pick up her national leading 27th win of the year.
Emporia State will close out the home portion of the regular season on Saturday when they play host to Southwest Baptist. First pitch of the double header is set for 2:00 p.m. at Turnbull Field in the Trusler Sports Complex.