The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 18, 2013

Lions head to Southwest Baptist

The Joplin Globe

— Missouri Southern’s baseball season resumes at 3 p.m. today with a single nine-inning MIAA contest against Southwest Baptist at Dodson Field in Bolivar.

The Bearcats (18-21, 16-15 MIAA) broke the school record for MIAA victories in a season by sweeping a doubleheader against Lincoln 13-5 and 14-5 Wednesday at Bolivar.

SBU is in eighth place with a .516 winning percentage, one point ahead of Fort Hays State (21-17, 17-16). The top eight teams qualify for the postseason tournament.

Missouri Southern (25-15, 19-13) is in fourth place, 1⁄2-game ahead of Pittsburg State. The top four teams will host a three-game series May 2-5 in the first round of the postseason tournament.

The Lions have eight games remaining on their regular-season schedule. After the series against Southwest Baptist, MSSU is scheduled to play a doubleheader Tuesday at Pittsburg State and a three-game series against league-leading Missouri Western next weekend at home.

The Lions have a team batting average of .294, led by senior catcher Sam Ryan at .354 with a team-leading 15 doubles. Second baseman Michael McCoy is batting .346 and leads the team in runs scored (33), hits (56), total bases (80) and stolen bases (9).

Ryan and McCoy are two of the four Lions who have started all 40 games this season. The others are shortstop Thomas Wilson and first baseman Shaun Hoover.

The Lions’ pitching staff is led by senior left-hander Brett Abell (4-2, 4.01 ERA), who has 70 strikeouts in 602⁄3 innings. Junior right-hander David Reese (4-4, 4.24 ERA) leads the team with four saves.

Southwest Baptist is batting .287 as a team, led by sophomore third baseman Spencer Blacksher at .365. He leads the Bearcats in runs scored (29) and is tied for the team lead in home runs (6).

Junior second baseman Landon Young is second in batting at .331, and junior center fielder Bo Helsel, brother of Lions third baseman Tee Helsel, is batting .322.

The Bearcats’ pitching staff is led by seniors Zack Winchester (2-6, 3.61 ERA) and Justin Pasichnyk (4-3, 4.18).