Strong pitching and timely hitting lifted the Missouri Southern baseball team to a 5-2 victory over McKendree in the opening game of the 2020 MIAA/GLVC Crossover on Friday morning at Warren Turner Field.

Cole Woods got the start on the mound for Southern (7-1) and struck out two while allowing just two hits and one earned run in five innings. Middle reliever Corey Cowan (1-0) tossed three shutout innings and struck out two batters to get credit for the win, and Logan VanWey struck out the side in the ninth to earn his third save of the season.

The Lions totaled seven hits and were led by a 2-for-5 showing by Jordan Fitzpatrick. Brad Willis had one double and two RBI, while Matt Miller and Henry Kusiak had one hit and one RBI apiece.

Southern drew first blood in the bottom of the third on a solo home run by Kusiak, his first of the season. McKendree tied it in the fourth before Willis doubled to drive in Swims for a 2-1 lead in the fifth.

An RBI double for McKendree tied the game again in the top of the sixth, but Southern answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning to bring the game to its final score. Troy Gagan scored on a wild pitch, Joe Kinder was driven home on a single by Miller, and then Miller scored on a bases-loaded walk.

MSSU, riding a five-game win streak, plays host to Missouri-St. Louis today at 1 p.m.

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