Taylor's clutch homer lifts Lions to 5-4 win over Central Oklahoma

Joplin, Mo. -- With the Missouri Southern Lions trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Jacob Taylor stepped to the plate and delivered an eventual game-winning three-run blast to lift the Lions to a 5-4 win over the Central Oklahoma Bronchos Tuesday evening (Apr. 20) at Joe Becker Stadium.  The win avenges an earlier 6-5 loss to the Bronchos in Edmond, Okla (2-23-10). 

Skyler Rawlins and Joe Lincoln got the eighth inning started with back-to-back singles that was followed  by Taylor's 10th homer of the season. 

But the Lions would need a great defensive play in the top of the ninth to seal the victory.   

Taylor Brown drew a lead-off walk against reliever Tyler Jinks in the ninth and represented the tying-run at third base with one out when Luke Yost flied out to Zach Caldwell in left field.  When Brown attempted to score the tying run, he was tagged out by catcher Lee Hall on a terrific throw by Caldwell that wrapped things up in favor of the Lions. 

The score was knotted at 1-1 in the second when CJ Matthews led off the inning with a double and scored the go-ahead run on an RBI single by Dane Kolkmeyer.

An RBI single by Casey Bruns tied the score for the Bronchos (12-26) in the fourth and UCO took the lead with a pair of runs in the seventh inning.

Starter Zak Porath pitched 6 1/3 effective innings, giving up three earned runs and striking out five.

Jinks came on in the seventh and blanked the Bronchos over the final 2 2/3 innings, allowing only one hit. 

UCO starter Ryan Wagner was also solid in 6 2/3 innings on the mound.  Wagner allowed only one earned run with three strikeouts.

Caldwell, Matthews and Kolkmeyer each had two hits for the Lions (20-22, 14-16 MIAA).

The Lions will be back in action on Friday night (Apr. 23) in the first of four games on the road against the Fort Hays State Tigers.  The opener is set for 7 p.m. in Hays, Kan.