The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

March 9, 2013

Lions baseball bows to Central Methodist, Ottawa

SHAWNEE, Okla. — Central Methodist scored three runs in the eighth inning and outlasted Missouri Southern 8-6 in the first of two nonconference games Saturday at Joe Becker Stadium.

In the second game, Missouri Southern scored a run in the eighth inning and two runs in the ninth but fell to Ottawa 11-8.

Brett Abell, the Lions’ starting pitcher in the first game, pitched into the eighth inning, marking his longest outing of the season. Abell, a senior left-hander, missed most of last season after he underwent a procedure known as Tommy John surgery on his left arm.

“I got ahead early. I got my mind right,” said Abell, who retired 10 batters in a row during the middle innings. “My last two starts, I wasn’t there mentally. Today, I was there.”

Abell said his arm has fully recovered since the surgery. “Nothing lost after the injury,” he said.

Abell (0-2), who threw 118 pitches, allowed eight hits and six earned runs in 7 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out seven.

“I think at one time he retired 10 in a row, which was good to see,” said Lions head coach Bryce Darnell.

Abell was an honorable mention all-MIAA selection in 2011, when he led the Lions in wins (8) and strikeouts (74). He was a medical redshirt last season.

Missouri Southern (8-7 overall, 4-5 MIAA) returns to its conference schedule with a doubleheader against Emporia State (5-10, 4-8) at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Joe Becker Stadium.

Lions designated hitter Sam Ryan was 5-for-7 in the two games with two runs scored and two RBIs. Third baseman Tee Helsel was 4-for-8 with an RBI and two runs scored.

Central Methodist (3-2) scored three runs on three hits in the first inning, then added two runs in the third inning on right fielder Kyle Poynter’s two-run home run to left field.

Abell then retired the next 10 batters. He was removed after he allowed a walk and a single with two outs in the eighth inning.

The Lions scored in the second inning on Helsel’s solo home run and added three runs in the third on a two-run double by Nick Doughty and Will Wagner’s sacrifice fly.

Trailing 8-4, the Lions’ ninth-inning comeback attempt fell short despite a leadoff single by Michael McCoy followed by Ryan’s RBI double. Doughty drove in a run with a sacrifice fly before Central Methodist’s Mike Wagner, who replaced starting pitcher Rhett Quinlan after the fourth inning, recorded the final two outs.

In the second game, Ottawa took a 10-4 lead with five runs in the fifth inning and halted MSSU’s ninth-inning comeback attempt.

Wagner’s two-run single with none out pulled the Lions to within 8-6, but Ottawa reliever Tyler Wilson, who entered the game in the eighth inning, retired three of the next four batters on ground balls to preserve the victory.

Ottawa had four doubles among its 14 hits against five Missouri Southern pitchers, most of whom had seen limited playing time this season. Freshman left-hander Jacob Lux (0-1) took the loss.

“Everybody on our staff has been working hard,” Abell said. “Sometimes a guy gets a shot at proving himself. We just take it game by game.”

Ottawa took a 4-1 lead in the second inning on a two-run double by Kyle Pener, added a run in the fourth with the help of an error, then scored five runs in the fifth inning, including RBI singles by Pener, Cody Parks and Greg Wisner.

MSSU’s Michael McCoy led off the bottom of the first inning with his first home run of the season. The Lions added three runs in the fourth on a two-run double by Thomas Wilson and Dillon Youngman’s triple to right-center field.

“We got beat in every aspect of the game by both teams today, pitching, hitting, baserunning and fielding,” Darnell said.

Ottawa starter Cole Meeks (1-1), who allowed five runs on 11 hits before he was replaced in the sixth inning, was the winning pitcher.

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