The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

April 6, 2014

Baseball Lions win one in extras, manage split

MARYVILLE, Mo. — Missouri Southern’s baseball team salvaged a split Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep by Northwest Missouri. The Lions fell 4-1 in the opener, but in the teams’ third extra inning game in two days, Southern prevailed 4-3.

Saturday, the Lions were swept by scores of 2-1 and 4-3, both times on single runs in the bottom of the 10th inning. In Sunday’s first game, Northwest starter Austin Warren shut down Southern’s offense after the Lions managed a run in the first on an Axel Johnson single. Warren settled in and went the distance despite allowing seven hits and only striking out two.

The Bearcats answered Southern’s early offense with a run in the bottom of the first and added another in the fifth. The final margin was set in the next inning as Northwest added a pair of runs on three hits and a walk. Johnson was the only Lion with a multi-hit game and the team finished 7-for-26 at the plate.

In the finale, it was the Bearcats who struck early. Northwest plated single runs in the second and third innings to take a 2-0 lead. Southern answered with a run in the top of the fifth when Logan Moon’s fielder’s choice brought in Jared Lupo to make it 2-1.

Lupo would again be in the thick of things when Southern took the lead in the sixth. After two consecutive outs to open the frame, Joplin High School product Brett Graham reached on a single and advanced to second on Austin White’s base hit. Lupo then singled to center where the ball was misplayed, allowing Graham and White to score and Lupo to get to third. Evan Natick flied out to end the inning and Southern was up a run with nine outs to get.

In the bottom of the inning, Lion starter Matt Harvey got two quick outs but then allowed a pair of singles to Derek Meyer and Zack Ferreira, prompting a pitching change. Drew Noble came in and walked Brandon Huske to load the bases. Paul Johnson got the game-tying RBI, but paid for it. Noble hit him with a pitch to force in a run.

Both teams were held scoreless for the next four frames, but a fielder’s choice after a base hit and an error brought home what would be Southern’s game-winning run.

The Lions go to 20-15 overall, 14-14 in MIAA play after Sunday’s games. Southern will travel to Drury for a 5 p.m. game on Tuesday before playing host to Northeastern State this weekend.

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