The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

April 10, 2014

Missouri Southern to face RiverHawks in MIAA doubleheader

Missouri Southern will face Northeastern State in an MIAA doubleheader with postseason implications at 3 p.m. today at Joe Becker Stadium.

The four-game series will conclude with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday. The series was rescheduled as two doubleheaders because of the liklihood of thunderstorms Sunday.

MSSU (20-16, 14-14 MIAA) is in ninth place in the standings, one game behind eighth-place Nebraska-Kearney. The top eight teams advance to the postseason tournament.

“We’re basically in playoff mode, quite honestly,” said MSSU head coach Bryce Darnell. “We need to play well.”

The Lions have eight MIAA games remaining after this weekend — a four-game series at home against Central Oklahoma and four games at Nebraska-Kearney.

The Riverhawks (16-20, 12-16) are in 11th place after they split a four-game series against Nebraska-Kearney last weekend at Tahlequah.

MSSU (14-3 at home, 6-13 away), is batting .297 as a team and has lost seven conference games by one run. Center fielder Logan Moon (.383) is one of five players who are batting .312 or higher and leads the team in hits (51), triples (5) and RBI (31).

The other four are infielder Brandon Weller (.333, 17 doubles), right fielder Beau Phillips (.333), catcher Mitchell Osburn (.312) and designated hitter Axel Johnson (.312).

Robbe Ewing, who began the season in right field and moved to third base after Tee Helsel was sidelined by a knee injury, sustained a broken hand in Tuesday’s 4-3 loss at Drury. He will miss the rest of the season, Darnell said.

The Lions’ top two starting pitchers are senior right-hander David Reese (4-3, 1.82 ERA) and sophomore left-hander Payton Walker (5-2, 2.96 ERA).

Reese has 56 strikeouts in 541⁄3 innings, and Walker has 46 strikeouts in 482⁄3 innings. Senior right-hander Stephen Vaughn (1-2, 2.10 ERA) has five saves. The Lions have allowed six home runs in 2851⁄3 innings.

Third baseman Justin Burgess, who has started 17 games, leads NSU with a .365 batting average. Cleanup hitter and center fielder Cody Robinson is batting .362 and leads the team in home runs (10), doubles (13) and runs scored (23). NSU is batting .282 as a team and has 23 home runs compared to eight for the Lions.

The pitching staff is led by junior left-handers Kyle Shambaugh (2-4, 3.54 ERA) and Bryan McClellan (4-3, 5.17 ERA). Shambaugh has allowed 39 hits in 402⁄3 innings, walked 20 and struck out 18 in eight starts.

McClellan has allowed 39 hits in 381⁄3 innings, walked 17 and struck out 35. Reliever Seth Hudson (1-0, 3.21 ERA), a junior right-hander from Jay, has three saves in 12 appearances.

Outfielder Cayle Shambaugh, a junior, is batting .278 in 22 starts with three home runs and 14 RBI. He and Kyle Shambaugh also are from Jay.

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