From staff reports
KANSAS CITY, Kan. —
Missouri Southern’s season ended Thursday with a 9-6 loss to Fort Hays State in the first round of the MIAA Centennial Baseball Tournament at CommunityAmerica Ballpark.
The Lions led 2-1 after five innings, but Fort Hays scored three runs in the sixth and three more runs in the seventh off Missouri Southern starter Cody Griebling (9-4). Griebling allowed seven hits in seven innings, walked one and struck out six.
Fort Hays (27-22) will face No. 1 seed Central Missouri at 11 a.m. today, followed by Washburn and No. 2 seed Missouri Western at 2:30 p.m.
Washburn defeated Emporia State 4-1 in the other first-round game.
Missouri Southern (32-19) finished third in the MIAA during the regular season and was 24-2 overall in games played at home.
Lions catcher Sam Ryan was 3-for-4, including a solo home run in the eighth inning that brought the Lions within 9-4. He hit a two-out double in the sixth but did not score.
MSSU’s Cullen Baxter, Michael McCoy and Thomas Wilson each had two hits. Baxter drove in two runs with a single in the third inning that gave the Lions a 2-1 lead.
Wilson began the rally with a one-out single and stole second. After Luke Acosta walked, the runners advanced on a passed ball and scored on Baxter’s single through the middle of the infield.
The Tigers took a 4-2 lead with a three-run sixth inning that began with a one-out single by Brandon Hoefler, who was 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored.
Back-to-back hit batsmen loaded the bases with two outs. Chris Santoscoy drove in a run on a fielder’s choice and Nash Smith followed with a two-run single to center field.
The Tigers’ lead widened to 7-2 in the seventh inning on Hoefler’s sacrifice fly and J.C. Ochoa’s two-run home run to left-center field.
MSSU loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the inning on a walk to Tee Helsel and singles by M.J. Sartin and Wilson. Kyle Leroy came on in relief of Tigers’ starter Shawn Lewick (7-4) and allowed Helsel to score on a balk before Acosta flied to left and Baxter grounded out to first.
Hoefler’s two-run single in the eighth inning off Lions reliever David Reese, who pitched the last two innings, gave the Tigers a 9-4 lead. The Lions narrowed the gap to 9-6 in the ninth on McCoy’s single up the middle that drove in Wilson, who had walked, and Acosta, who had singled.
Fort Hays took a 1-0 lead in the third inning when the second of three doubles by designated hitter Mace Krol drove in Sheldon Howell, who was hit by a pitch.