Lions fall just short against No. 9 Emporia State in first round of MIAA Tournament

Kansas City, Kan. -- The Missouri Southern Lions were narrowly defeated by the No. 9-ranked Emporia State Hornets Thursday afternoon (May 6) in first-round action at the MIAA Tournament at Community America Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan. The loss sets up an elimination game against Northwest Missouri State tomorrow morning (May 7) at 11 a.m.

The Lions broke on top first as Dane Kolkmeyer singled to lead off the third and then scored the game's first run on an RBI single by Joe Lincoln.

The ninth-ranked Hornets answered in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly by David Albritton.

Patrick Deao helped the Lions (26-25) take a two-run lead with a two-run homer in the fourth inning that made it 3-1.

The Hornets scored a run in the bottom of the fourth to make it a one-run game then took the lead for good with a pair of runs in the fifth.

Travis Whipple tripled home Kenny Burkhead to tie the score before Albritton gave the Hornets the lead with another sacrifice fly.

From there, the pitching took over as both teams were held scoreless the rest of the way.

Lion starter Garrett Groom was solid on the hill, pitching his team-leading seventh complete game and allowing four runs and striking out six in eight innings of work.

Ben Graham pitched seven innings for the Hornets (40-12) and gave up two earned runs with five strikeouts.

Colby Killian picked up the save by throwing two scoreless innings in relief of Graham.

Zach Caldwell, Joe Lincoln, Shayne Hoke and Patrick Deao each went 2-of-4 at the plate for the Lions. 

The Lions and Northwest Missouri split two games earlier this season in Maryville, Mo.  The final two games of the scheduled four-game series were rained out.