Taylor lifts Lions to sweep over SBU and clinches MIAA Tournament Berth

Joplin, Mo. -- Jacob Taylor smashed two homers to move within one of tying the school's all-time single season record to lead the Missouri Southern Lions to a doubleheader sweep of the Southwest Baptist Bearcats Sunday afternoon (May 2) at Joe Becker Stadium.  Overall, the Lions notched three wins on the day by first completing the suspended game from Saturday (May 1) with a 4-0 victory.  The Lions then won the first game of the doubleheader 9-3 and the nightcap 14-4. 

The Lions clinched a spot in this week's MIAA Postseason Tournament in Kansas City, Kan.  The Lions appear to be the No. 5 seed, which would set up a matchup against No. 2 seed Emporia State on Thursday (May 6).  The top six seeds in the conference advance to the Postseason tourney. 

RBI singles by Taylor and Michael Zurmehly helped the Lions take a 3-0 lead when the game was halted in the fifth inning yesterday due to severe weather in the Joplin area. 

When the game resumed this afternoon, CJ Maffei took over on the mound for starter Garrett Groom and pitched three spotless innings.  Maffei allowed only one hit over the final three innings to pick up his second save of the season.

Groom blanked the Bearcats over the first four innings with three strikeouts for his sixth win of the season.

Shayne Hoke gave the Lions a little insurance with a solo homer to lead off the sixth inning. 

The Lions then got going in the first game of the doubleheader with four runs in the bottom of the second.  Fernando Lugo singled home Taylor for the Lions' first run before Patrick Deao brought home Hoke with an RBI double. 

Dane Kolkmeyer then brought home Lugo with an RBI single and Zach Caldwell plated the Lions' fourth run with a sacrifice fly that scored Deao.

The Lions added two more in the third on solo shots from Lugo and Taylor.

Skyler Rawlins made it 7-0 with an RBI single in the fourth before the Bearcats tried to make things interesting with three runs in the fifth.

Jason Barnhart and Taylor Trotter each produced RBI doubles in the inning, while Kyle Wise added an RBI single. 

But the Lions added single tallies in the fifth and sixth inning to pull away for the win. 

Deao tripled home CJ Matthews in the fifth and Rawlins chased home Caldwell with an RBI double in the sixth.

After running into trouble in the fifth, Carter Lance held the Bearcats hitless for the final two innings.  Overall, Lance pitched a complete game and allowed only three runs with five strikeouts to earn his sixth victory of the season.

It didn't take long for the Lions to jump all over the Bearcats (11-38, 9-30 MIAA) again in the nightcap, as an error and a wild pitch led to a pair of unearned runs in the first.

The Lions (25-24, 19-18 MIAA) then busted the game wide-open with eight runs in the bottom of the second.

Joe Lincoln powered the inning with a two-run homer, his 11th blast of the season.  Kolkmeyer also hit a two-run double in the inning and Zurmehly scored Taylor on a sacrifice fly. 

Lee Hall and Taylor continued the offensive onslaught for the Lions by hitting back-to-back homers in the third inning that made it 12-0.  It was Hall's first career homer and for Taylor his 15th of the season. 

Kevin Humphrey got the win after throwing a complete game and giving up four runs and striking out five.

Overall the Lions hit six homers today in the doubleheader and the last two innings of the suspended game, which gave them 59 on the season.  The 59 homers this season shatters the old school record of 51 homers set back in 1989. 

The Lions and Bearcats will conclude the four-game series with a single game tomorrow evening (May 3) at 6 p.m.