(EDMOND, Okla.) Story by Griffon Athletics — Griffon Softball (37-15) will play for the MIAA Championship on Sunday after coming from behind to eliminate Emporia State (27-28) 4-1 on Saturday.
Missouri Western faced elimination Saturday night after a 9-1 run-rule loss to No. 1 Central Oklahoma earlier in the day, but the Griffons battled back to force a rematch with the MIAA regular season champion Bronchos.
Emporia State scored two runs on two hits and left two on base in the first inning, but then Lexi Kinnaird slammed the door on the Hornets and opened it for her offense. Kinnaird retired 14 of the next 15 batters she faced after the first, including 10-straight at one point. Were it not for a stolen base in the second, the Hornets wouldn't have got a runner past first on Kinnaird between the second and seventh innings. She picked up her eighth straight decision to improve to 11-3 on the season, allowing three runs on six hits, just four after the first.
The Griffon offense got Kinnaird some run support by scoring four runs with two out in the top of the fourth. Brea Blanton drove in the first with an infield single then Marissa Guenther stole home to tie the game at two. Lauren Houston drove Blanton in with a double to left and an error on a ground ball by Morgan Frost got Houston home to put MWSU up 4-2. The Griffons added another run in the sixth on a Blanton single that scored Guenther, who went 2-for-3 filling in for the injured Shelby Uhl.
Emporia State got back-to-back two-out hits off Kinnaird in the seventh, one scoring a run, but the senior ended the rally and the game with a strikeout.
Missouri Western was forced into the consolation bracket final after managing just three hits in a 9-1 loss to No. 1 Central Oklahoma in the winner's bracket final. The Griffons jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first, but UCO scored four in the bottom half, chasing Kaili Hinds from the mound before an out was recorded. Hinds suffered her first loss since March 8 against Central Oklahoma, snapping a streak of 12-straight winning decisions for the sophomore. The loss also snapped MWSU's 18-game win streak which was the longest active streak in the nation.
The Griffons will have to beat No. 1 Central Oklahoma twice to take home a trophy on Sunday. The championship game is scheduled for 10 a.m. If needed, the second game would be played immediately following the first.
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