Southeastern rallied here Saturday afternoon to split a doubleheader with undefeated and No. 12 Emporia State of Kansas.
The Lady Hornets ripped five home runs and stung the LadyStorm 11-2 in six innings in the opener before Southeastern bounced back to win 8-2 in the nightcap, just one hit away from returning the run-rule.
Southeastern is now 15-4 overall and Emporia State suffered its first loss and dipped to 7-1.
SE coach Ron Faubion said, “The first game was a wake-up call we needed. The Leadoff championship was great, but it’s in the past. Emporia State has a really, really good team. They make you pay for every mistake.
“They didn’t make the trip down here to have a good time. They went up to the plate swinging the bats. Jacee (Bennett) was just a bit off target and they made us pay.
“I was so pleased that we were able to come back in the second game. Mindy McElroy pitched a great game. She watched Emporia State hit five home runs in the first game, then went out there and shut them out through the first five innings.
“We had excellent defensive plays. Lauren Renneker made a pair of big-time plays for outs at first base, Paige Priest had some outstanding catches in center field, Darrian Williams made some great defensive plays in left and had one diving catch taken away on a call.
“We had really good defense in the infield with Jessica Simmons at second and Kaija Morris at third.
“Big wins are often followed by bad losses. It just happens. It helped us to come back against Emporia State and get a win when it would have been really easy to lose two games.
“We had big hits from freshean Laramie Beal, Courtney Riddle and Rachel Jones.
“Now we have to get ready for Southern Arkansas here March 1 and 2.”
Emporia State 11 v. LadyStorm 2:
Leadoff hitter Taylor Zordel drilled a 1-1 pitch over the right-field fence to set the tone and 4-hole Tricia Vogel added a solo shot with two out in the inning.
Taylor Reichard slugged the first of two homers in the second with the other coming in the fifth with one runner aboard.
A three-run shot by Stephanie Goodwin closed out the scoring in the sixth.
The Storm had runners in all except the fifth inning, but couldn’t come up with the key hits.
Pitcher Jacee Bennett collected SE’s first hit of the game when she rocketed a shot back through the circle with one out. Priest singled with two away, Jones drove in the first run with a shot into left and Simmons singled up the middle for the second run.
Bennett pitched four innings and left the circle after a monstrous collision with the ESU catcher as she scored Southeastern’s first run. She allowed six runs, three earned, on seven hits, struck out two and ran her record to 10-2.
Shayna Milam came on for the last two innings and gave up five runs on five hits with one strikeout.
Jones paced the Storm with two for three and one run batted in. Bennett and Priest were each one for two with a run scored. Simmons was one for three with one RBI.
Reichard was two for two, scored three, drove in three and hammered a pair of home runs to lead Emporia State.
LadyStorm 8 v. Emporia State 2:
McElroy retired the first seven ESU batters and threw blanks through the first five innings.
The Storm scored twice in the third on a 2-run double by Williams after Renneker walked and Simmons legged out a bunt to the third baseman.
ESU cut the lead in half with a run in the top of the sixth before the LadyStorm blew it open with six in the bottom of the inning.
Williams led off with an infield single, Moore singled, Whitney Hamilton drove in a run when the shortstop couldn’t handle her grounder and McElroy moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt.
Riddle, returning from a concussion in the Southeastern Regional Invitational, roped a double to left-center to drive in two runs, Jones delivered a run-scoring double in a pinch-hit appearance and Renneker closed it out with a two-run homer to left.
The Lady Hornets got a leadoff home run from Cacy Williams, but McElroy slammed the door for the victory.
McElroy improved to 4-1 with the complete-game win, allowing only two runs on seven hits and striking out one.
Cook and Moore led the Storm with two for three each. McElroy, Riddle and Renneker were one for two apiece. Beal and Jones were one for one each as pinch-hitters. Simmons was two for four with a run scored.