By Richard Polen
Globe Sports Writer
Kansas City, Kan. —
David Chew’s three-run home run gave Missouri Western a 6-0 third-inning lead, and the Griffons went on to eliminate Pittsburg State 11-4 Friday afternoon in the MIAA Tournament at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
Chew was 1-for-3 with a sacrifice fly and scored three runs as Missouri Western (39-9) advanced to the championship round at 11 a.m. today against Missouri Southern. The Griffons have to beat the Lions twice to win the tournament.
The Griffons scored three runs in the first inning against Pittsburg State starter Cody Wren (4-6). Bubba Dotson, the second batter of the game, doubled to right field and drove in leadoff hitter Michael Schulze, who had singled. Nate Ramler and Chew had sacrifice flies in the inning.
“That’s what caught up with us, just some tired arms,” said PSU right fielder Luke Bordewick, who was 2-for-4. “You can’t expect nine innings out of every starter.
“It’s a good stepping stone,” he said of the Gorillas’ appearance in the semifinals. “We’re proud of it, yeah, but we should have kept going.”
Griffons third baseman Grant Fink was 4-for-4 with three doubles, scored a run and walked twice. First baseman Spencer Shockley was 2-for-4, scored twice and drove in a run.
Missouri Western took a 9-0 lead with three runs in the fifth inning. Shockley drove in a run with a single and Shawn Egge drove in two more when he grounded a single into left field.
The Gorillas (29-24) responded with Bordewick’s two-run single in the sixth inning that scored Ryan Bilovesky and Brad Foss, who both singled.
PSU added two runs in the seventh inning on a two-out walk to shortstop Evan Thomas, followed by consecutive singles from Bilovesky, Foss and designated hitter Cody Ball. With two on and two out, Griffons starter Ethan Ward (4-3) retired Bordewick on a grounder to second.
“We knew they’re a great hitting team,” said Foss, who was 3-for-4. “We knew we would have to put up a lot of runs. We just fell short.
“It’s a great atmosphere to play in and hit in. You don’t get many chances to play at a place like this, so you want to take advantage of it.”
Western added two runs in the ninth inning when Schulze drove in Chew and Egge with a double to right field.
“I want to give my gratitude to our seniors,” said Matt Murray, who completed his first season as the Gorillas’ head coach. “Our seniors bought into our system and played hard the entire season.”
Murray cited the addition of Central Oklahoma, Northeastern State, Nebraska-Kearney and Lindenwood as adding to the competitive nature of the MIAA.
“We played five conference games a week,” he said. “Forty-six of our 50 games were conference games. That was the greatest neutralizer of all.”