Lance, offense carry Lions to 14-10 win over Park (Mo.) Pirates

Joplin, Mo. -- With the Missouri Southern Lions down 4-0 in the second inning, Carter Lance came on in relief and pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings and got plenty of help from the offense in a 14-10 win over the Park (Mo.) Pirates Saturday afternoon (Apr. 10) at Joe Becker Stadium.

The Pirates, an NAIA school located in Parkville, Mo., jumped on starter Kevin Humphrey for four runs in the second inning.  The inning started with consecutive singles and Darian Sandford doubled home the first two runs. 

Cody Spaulding then singled home two more runs that gave the Pirates a four-run lead.

Lance halted the Pirates' offensive outburst by retiring the first seven batters he faced.

That gave the bats a chance to heat up, as the Lions scored three in the third and then erupted for eight runs in the fourth. 

Zac Porath and Zach Caldwell began the third with singles and both came around to score on a three-run home run by Joe Lincoln, Lincoln's fifth homer of the season.

Shayne Hoke got the Lions going in the fourth with a lead-off double before CJ Matthews drew a walk and Skyler Rawlins reached base on a fielder's choice sacrifice that wound up loading the bases thanks to an error.  A walk to Porath tied the game at 4-4 and Dane Kolkmeyer put the Lions ahead for good with a two-run single.

Hoke came around to bat again in the inning and singled home Fernando Lugo and Porath capped the inning by again drawing a bases-loaded walk that scored Hoke.

The Lions (17-19, 12-14 MIAA) scored three more times in the seventh on a leadoff homer by Porath and a two-run shot by Jacob Taylor. It was Porath's third homer of the season and Taylor's eighth blast.

Porath then came in to pitch the eighth and immediately got roughed up for six runs, but only three were earned due to an error in the inning.  Ricardo Torres and Erik Goodline each drove in two runs to key the inning for the Pirates (14-8). 

Tyler Jinks came on in relief of Porath and got the final out of the eighth and then pitched a perfect ninth to close out the victory.

Lance struck out seven and allowed only three hits in his 5 2/3 innings of work to pick up his fourth victory of the season.

Lincoln and Hoke each went 3-of-5 at the plate, while Porath was 2-of-2.  Taylor and Rawlins were each 2-of-4. 

The Lions will now host Northeastern State in another non-conference tilt on Tuesday night (Apr. 13) at 6 p.m.  The Lions defeated NSU 6-3 earlier this season (Feb. 16) in Tahlequah, Okla.