The Hannibal softball team couldn't keep the lead during a 4-3 loss to Fulton in its North Central Missouri Conference opener Monday.

The Hannibal softball team couldn't keep the lead during a 4-3 loss to Fulton in its North Central Missouri Conference opener Monday. 

Hannibal plated a pair of runs in the third inning and another in the fourth to lead 3-1 before the visiting Lady Hornets plated three unanswered tallies in the sixth to escape Veterans Sports Complex with the victory.

The Lady Pirates (1-4) stranded runners in scoring position in each of the final two frames.

“A loss is a loss, but this one was a little different than the other ones,” Hannibal coach Andrew Pollard said. “Fulton beat us. They didn’t give us anything, we had to earn it. We just weren’t able to string hits together at the right time. That’s what needed to happen, but didn’t.”

Sydney Hart executed a bunt single to score Taylor Simms for Hannibal's first run of the game in the third. Avery Lake delivered an RBI single later in the inning to give the hosts their first lead.

Josie Zeiger lifted a solo home run to left field on the first pitch she saw in the fourth to boost Hannibal's advantage to 3-1.

The Lady Pirates were feeling good. But not for long.

The Lady Hornets struck for three runs on four hits in the sixth. Alex Trowbridge drove in two with a double to tie the score at 3. Rylee Baker singled home the go-ahead run with two outs. 

“Four of their six hits came in the sixth inning, and that's what hurt us,” Pollard noted. “It was just a gutsy game for both teams.” 

Taylor Kettle earned the win for Fulton. She struck out 10 over a complete game.

Taylor Wilson pitched all seven innings for Hannibal in the loss, allowing four earned runs on six hits and one walk while striking out five.

“Taylor (Wilson) pitched well and battled out of a lot of jams,” Pollard said. “The score could have been a lot worse than what it was. It was a battle of a game.”

Hannibal is scheduled to play at Moberly on Tuesday.