From staff reports
Missouri Southern State University baseball coach Bryce Darnell overall was more than satisfied after the Lions’ opening performance on Saturday.
Southern, lifted by big innings, swept Montana State Billings 10-3 and 7-4 in the Metrodome.
The Lions scored nine runs in the top of the sixth inning in the opener to erase a 2-1 deficit. They scored six runs in the top of the first inning in Game 2.
Montana State Billings had won and tied against Dakota Wesleyan in a Friday twinbill.
The Lions and Yellowjackets are scheduled to meet today in a 7 a.m. doubleheader. The pair will serve as the last of the MIAA Lions’ nonconference schedule.
Said Darnell: “We played well. We hit the ball well. We swung the bats. We had some loud outs. We saw the ball well. Overall, I was pleased.”
Will Wagner’s three-run homer highlighted the Lions’ sixth inning in the first game.
The pitching of senior left-hander Brett Abell was another highlight for the Lions in the opener. Abell, returning from surgery, struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings.
“He pitched great ball,” Darnell said. “He was the pitcher we’d hoped he would be after the surgery.”
Abell allowed the runs but they were unearned, Darnell said. Abell permitted just two hits and walked two.
Other Southern leaders at the plate in the first contest were Nick Doughty (three RBI) and Dallas Burke (double and triple among three hits and two runs scored). Wagner finished with two hits and two runs scored.
The Lions managed six hits in Game 2 with four in the opening frame. Mitchell Osburn had two runs batted in for the Lions.
Junior right-handers David Reese and Josh Engler finished on the mound for the Lions in the opener.
Junior right-hander Drew Noble and Reese, who worked three scoreless innings, hurled for the Lions in the second contest.
Darnell said that freshman left-hander Payton Walker and junior right-hander Ryan Bates are today’s probable starters on the mound for the Lions.