The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Sports

March 29, 2014

Harper doubles in winner for Lions

Dusty Harper’s one-out double in the ninth inning drove in the winning run as Missouri Southern defeated Southwest Baptist 2-1 Friday night at Joe Becker Stadium.

The four-game MIAA series resumes with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. today and concludes with a single nine-inning game at 1 p.m. Sunday.

With the score tied 1-1 in the bottom of the ninth, right fielder Beau Phillips led off with a bunt single. After Logan Moon struck out, Harper lined a double down the right-field line that scored Phillips from first base.

“I was just trying to find a gap somewhere and get Beau around there,” Harper said after his seventh double of the season. “That guy they started (Cory Borsh) worked fast.”

Harper’s double came against Sam Vergara (3-1), the Bearcats’ closer, who entered the game after Borsh allowed five hits through eight innings, walked none and struck out one. He threw 91 pitches.

David Reese (4-2) pitched his fourth complete game in seven starts. He walked one, struck out seven and allowed seven hits, including Bo Helsel’s second-inning home run to right field.

“He has seen me a couple of times,” Reese said. “He’s a great hitter. If you make a mistake with Bo, he’s going to take advantage of it.”

Helsel, who was 2-for-3, hit a one-out single in the seventh inning. SBU third baseman Spencer Blacksher was 2-for-4 with two singles.

“After the third inning, David was in charge,” said Lions head coach Bryce Darnell.

Phillips, who was 2-for-4, singled in the fourth. The Lions trailed 1-0 until the eighth inning, when designated hitter Axel Johnson hit a leadoff home run to right-center field, just to the left of the scoreboard.

“He (Borsh) was throwing inside to me my first two at bats,” said Johnson, who went 2-for-3 with a ground out to second and a single to center field before the home run. “He stayed in a rhythm. He was commanding the game really well.”

Borsh faced the minimum of 15 batters through the first five innings on 45 pitches. MSSU’s first scoring opportunity came in the sixth when Jared Lupo, who reached on a fielder’s choice, advanced to third on Evin Natick’s single to right field, but the Lions left the runners stranded.

Logan Moon led off the seventh inning with a triple to left-center field, but he was thrown out at the plate one out later when Brandon Weller hit a ground ball to Borsh.

“We got a big home run from Axel in the eighth,” Darnell said. “We had some opportunities to score. At least one opportunity, we let get away.”

Missouri Southern (15-12, 10-11 MIAA) snapped a four-game losing streak.

“It feels good to win a one-run game, because we’ve been on the other end of these for a couple of weeks,” Darnell said.

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