The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 5, 2013

Lions baseball splits with Fort Hays State

By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer

— Missouri Southern scored six runs in the first two innings and defeated Fort Hays State 14-3 in the second game of an MIAA doubleheader Monday at Joe Becker Stadium.

In the first game, Fort Hays scored two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and slipped past the Lions 7-6.

The doubleheader, the Lions’ first home date of the season, was originally scheduled to be played at Hays but was moved to Joplin because of heavy snow last week in western Kansas. The games were played under mostly sunny skies with temperatures in the 60s.

Nick Doughty, a senior transfer from Northwestern State (La.), drove in the first of the Lions’ three first-inning runs in Game 2 with a single to left field. His single to right field drove in the third run in a three-run second inning.

“It went pretty well, I guess,” Doughty said of his first game at Joe Becker Stadium. “Typically, I just try to work the middle of the field, hit the gaps, hit it square on the barrel.”

Doughty, a 6-foot-2, 215-pound right fielder who bats left-handed, raised his batting average to .372, second on the team to Dallas Burke’s .395, and leads the team with 16 hits and 11 RBIs.

“Nick didn’t have a great doubleheader Thursday,” said Lions head coach Bryce Darnell of a split at Central Oklahoma. “He’s a guy we’re counting on to get some base hits, so that was really good to see.”

Burke was 5-for-6 with two doubles, a home run and three RBIs. Third baseman Tee Helsel was 4-for-7 and scored three runs.

The Lions (7-5 overall, 3-4 MIAA), who led the second game 6-3 after five innings, scored five runs in the sixth inning, capped by a two-out, three-run double by shortstop Thomas Wilson.

MSSU added three runs in the seventh on Burke’s leadoff home run, designated hitter Will Wagner’s RBI double and Shaun Hoover’s run-scoring ground ball.

The Lions’ 16-hit assault backed starter David Reese, who tossed a seven-inning complete game.

“David has been really consistent,” Darnell said. “He has pitched like that all year and we’ve come to expect that from him. He pitched outstanding.”

Reese allowed eight hits, his first walk of the season in 24 1/3 innings, and struck out six.

“When the offense produces a few runs, it’s a lot more comfortable to pitch,” said Reese, who is 2-1 with a 3.33 ERA. “We only had one error today.

“That first game was unfortunate,” he said. “It was nice to bounce back and get the win, especially with that many runs.”

In the first game, the Lions took a 6-5 lead with three unearned runs in the seventh inning. Michael McCoy began the rally when he reached on an error, then moved to third on Burke’s second double of the game.

McCoy scored on Wagner’s single to center field, and Doughty’s two-out single to right field on a 3-2 pitch drove in Burke and pinch runner Zack Steadman.

In the bottom of the seventh, Fort Hays (7-6, 4-5) loaded the bases with two outs on singles by third baseman Kelton Rule and catcher Jay Sanders and a walk to Sedbrook.

Miller drove in the tying run when he was hit by a pitch, and the game ended when shortstop Sam Thornton, the Tigers’ No. 9 hitter, singled to left.

Kyle Leroy, a senior right-hander who entered the game in the sixth inning, was the winning pitcher. MSSU’s Ryan Bates, who came in with one out in the seventh, took his first loss in three decisions.