From staff reports
Thanks to some late-inning batting heroics and strong pitching, Missouri Southern swept Northwest Missouri State 4-2 and 4-3 Friday afternoon in MIAA baseball action at Bearcat Field.
The sweep, coupled with Nebraska-Kearney’s split against Emporia State, moves the Lions (18-11, 14-9 MIAA) into third place in the conference standings, nine percentage points ahead of UNK.
The Bearcats (9-20, 7-17) and Lions conclude their series with a nine-inning game today at noon.
Brett Abell and Ryan Bates turned in complete-game performances for the Lions.
Abell (3-2) allowed six hits and two earned runs in the nine-inning opener, struck out eight batters and walked six.
Bates (3-1) yielded three runs and seven hits in seven innings, fanned three and walked none.
The first game was scheduled for seven innings, but a 2-2 deadlock after seven changed that game to the DH’s nine-inning contest.
Michael McCoy was hit by a pitch to start the Lions’ ninth and moved to second on a wild pitch. With one out he took third on a passed ball, and Dallas Burke walked. After two were out, Burke stole second and Tee Helsel delivered a two-run single to center.
Abell then retired the Bearcats in order in the bottom of the ninth on two grounders and a strikeout.
McCoy, the Lions’ leadoff hitter, went 3-for-4 to lead a nine-hit attack.
The Bearcats held one-run leads twice in the early innings, but the Lions quickly tied the game both times on Dane Kolkmeyer’s RBI single in the second and Zack Steadman’s run-scoring single in the fourth.
Northwest Missouri’s Marcus Garrett (2-2) blanked the Lions on one hit through the first six innings of the nightcap. He finished with a three-hitter and gave up one earned run, walking four and fanning four.
Helsel reached on an infield error to start the Lions’ seventh, and Will Wagner walked. With one out Shaun Hoover singled to right, and both runners scored and Hoover continued to third on an outfield error.
Pinch-hitter Nick Doughty was hit by a pitch, and McCoy’s grounder to shortstop scored Hoover with the tying run and moved pinch-runner Keith Freeman to second. Thomas Wilson then singled to right-center to score Freeman.