April 14, 2008
Ballard Drives in Four Against Fort Hays
MARYVILLE, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State sophomore Kaila Ballard hit a two-run home run in game one and a two-run double in game two to lead the Bearcats to a split with Fort Hays State in MIAA play Monday at Bearcat Field. Fort Hays (26-20, 5-7 MIAA) took the opener 4-2. The Bearcats (22-15, 5-5) won the nightcap 5-2.
It's the second and third times the teams have met this season. Northwest beat the Tigers 3-2 at a tournament in Pittsburg, Kan., back on March 9.
Ballard's four RBIs came in a span of two at bats. Her second home run of the season came with two outs in the seventh inning of game one and provided the only runs for Northwest in the opener. She stepped to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning of game two and delivered a shot to the wall in left centerfield that gave the Bearcats their first lead of the day, 2-1.
Erin Leslie hit a two-run bomb in the bottom of the second inning to extend the Bearcats' lead to 4-1. It was the first home run this season for Leslie, who played in her first games since April 2. She was 2-for-3 in the nightcap and scored three runs.
Kelly Morris pitched seven strong innings to improve to 13-7 this season. She gave up a leadoff homer to Emily Herl on the second pitch of game two. Herl hit another solo shot in the fifth to make it 5-2. No other Tiger reached third base against Morris.
Kayla Rupa (10-7) pitched a gem in the opener for Fort Hays and was one strike away from tossing a no-hitter. Megan Simpson drove an 0-2 pitch back up the middle with two outs in the seventh inning for Northwest's first hit. Two pitches later, Ballard provided the Bearcats' first runs.
Rupa struck out 13 and walked one. She hit two batters, the only base runners she had allowed prior to Simpson's single.
Northwest continues conference play tomorrow with a doubleheader against Washburn. The Bearcats will honor their three seniors in between games. The first pitch of game one is slated for 2 p.m.
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