By Wendell Redden
Special to The Globe
Right-handers Nick Johnson and Kyle Rogers permitted only eight total hits as Missouri Southern's Lions swept a pair of games from Lincoln University, 4-1 and 7-1, Wednesday in the Mutt Miller Classic at Joe Becker Stadium.
With temperatures in the low 70s, Johnson and Rogers exhibited great control. Johnson, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior, used only 76 pitches in stopping the Blue Tigers on three hits, two of them by designated hitter Hennington Hodgson. Johnson, 2-2, struck out six and walked one.
The 6-3, 190 Rogers, a junior, needed only 70 pitches in going the seven-inning distance against the Jefferson City-based Tigers of coach Earl Wheeler. He gave up five hits, four of them in the last two innings. Hodgson had two of Lincoln's hits. Rogers, 2-1, fanned five and walked one.
Missouri Southern, 8-7 with the sweep, struck quickly in both games. The Lions scored twice in the first inning of the opener off Lincoln left-hander Kip Foglesong. Mark Catanzaro and Aaron Techlin singled, moved up on Nathan Hughes' infield roller to first and scored on Mark Keister's single to right.
Hughes homered over the center field fence in the third for his first of the season and the Lions added their final run in the fourth on Jake Lawver's single, Kevin Schiller's sacrifice bunt, a wild pitch and Justin McMullen's single.
Lincoln, limited to one hit by Johnson over the first six innings, broke through in the seventh on a single by Johnny Cruz, a fielder's choice, a walk to Brock Crowley and Hodgson's single to left center. Johnson induced Bryce Scalf to bounce back to the mound for a game-ending double play.
Southern needed only one hit, but it was a big one, to score six runs in the first inning of the nightcap. Four bases on balls, sandwiched around a Lincoln error, produced two runs and set the table for Darin Nonenmaker's grand-slam home run to left.
The Lions chased Lincoln starter Kevin Boyd with three hits in the third but couldn't score as reliever Kory Dickerson induced McMullen to bounce into a double play, third to home to first, to end the inning.
Missouri Southern scored its final run in the fourth on a leadoff walk to Catanzaro, an error and Techlin's single to left center.
Lincoln, held to one hit by Rogers over the first five innings, scored its run in the sixth on a leadoff double by David Thorpe and Travis Pogue's single to right. Pogue took second on the throw home trying to get Thorpe. Hodgson, with one out, singled to right but Pogue was out at the plate on a strong relay throw from Techlin to catcher Sean Ritchie.
Missouri Southern returns to action today in a 4:30 p.m. game against Northern State University of Aberdeen, S.D. Left-hander Hughes is scheduled to pitch for the Lions.
By Wendell Redden