Cody Griebling won his third start in a row and Missouri Southern began its MIAA baseball schedule Friday night with a 9-3 victory against Truman State at Joe Becker Stadium.
Griebling, a senior right-hander, scattered nine hits and walked one in eight innings, and the Lions (8-0, 1-0) took a 7-1 lead with a four-run fourth inning.
Griebling struck out nine in the first six innings, seven on called third strikes.
“Coach (Jason) Immekus and I worked a lot on breaking ball control after my last start,” said Griebling, whose ERA rose a bit to 1.41 after he allowed two earned runs. “Obviously, it paid off today.”
The four-game weekend series continues with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. today. Senior left-hander Brett Abell will be the Lions’ starter in the first game, said head coach Bryce Darnell. Senior right-hander Ryan Wheat will start the second game.
The Lions led 3-1 before the four-run fourth that was capped by Jesse Kinzey’s one-out, two-run single.
Second baseman Luke Acosta, who had two hits, began the fourth with a walk. Consecutive singles by Michael McCoy, Sam Ryan and M.J. Sartin set up a run-scoring ground out by Tee Helsel and a two-run single by Kinzey.
“Obviously, it’s easier to pitch with the lead,” Griebling said. “It helps when you win. Everybody’s in a better mood.”
Ryan, Sartin, Kinzey and Harrison Gerber also had two hits for the Lions. Helsel, Kinzey and Gerber each drove in two runs.
Truman took a 1-0 lead in the second on a one-out walk to Daniel Jewett, who scored when Jarod Hahn’s single was misplayed in the outfield. Hahn, who had three hits, and Jewett combined for five of the Bulldogs’ nine hits. Jewett scored all three runs.
In the bottom of the inning, Helsel reached on an error and Kinzey singled before Gerber drove in Helsel with a single to right. Kinzey later scored on an error that gave the Lions a 2-1 lead.
The Lions added a run in the third on back-to-back infield singles by Sartin and Helsel, a sacrifice by Kinzey, a bunt single by Cullen Baxter and Gerber’s line-drive single to right that drove in Sartin.
“We got some breaks with some infield hits early and we just sort of rode (Griebling),” Darnell said. “Cody pitched awesome, really.”
Truman scored in the sixth inning on a double by Hahn that drove in Jewett, who had singled, and added a run in the eighth on consecutive singles by Jewett, Hahn and Blake Marino.
The Lions’s two-run seventh inning was set up with singles by Acosta and Ryan and a walk to Sartin. Helsel drove in a run on a fielder’s choice, and the second run scored on an error.