May 4, 2012

Baseball Lions sweep double-header from Southwest Baptist, Clinch MIAA Tournament berth

Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern baseball team had a pair of six-run innings in each game today, sweeping a double-header from visiting Southwest Baptist, winning 9-3 and 7-4 and in the process, clinched a bid to the 2012 MIAA Baseball Tournament to be played next week in Kansas City, Kan.

Southern (30-18, 21-17 MIAA) also wins its 30th game for the second time in the last four years (2009 - 35-20). The Lions are tied with Washburn for third place in the standings at 21-17, while Emporia State and Fort Hays are tied for fifth at 19-17.

Cody Griebling went the distance in game one and earned his ninth complete-game of the season, tying an MSSU record. He now shares the record with Tim Doss (1978), Barry Jenkins (1977 & 1978), and Gary Bradshaw (1982). All nine of his wins this year have been complete-game victories. Griebling struck out five and walked just one in the game.

The Lions scored six runs in the second inning of game one as Southern batted around in the frame. 

SBU (20-26-1, 14-22 MIAA) scored a run in each of the third, fourth and fifth innings, but Luke Acosta answered back with a two-run home run in the fifth, his third of the season. The Lions added another run in the sixth. 

Acosta went 2-2 with three RBIs, a pair of runs scored and two walks, while Michael McCoy had a hit and two RBIs. Thomas Wilson had a hit and added a pair of runs and RBIs. Sam Ryan added a run and an RBI. 

David Reese started for Southern in game two, and the sophomore went seven innings for his sixth win of the year. He struck out seven and walked just two, while allowing three earned runs. Ryan Taylor pitched the final two innings to earn his first save of the year. 

SBU scored first in game two as the Bearcats led 2-0 after four innings. The Lions, however, answered back and scored six runs in the fifth. 

MJ Sartin singled to start the inning, and the Lions added back-to-back bunt singles from Thomas Wilson and Acosta to load the bases with no outs. Sartin scored on a fielder's choice, while Wilson scored on an RBI single from McCoy. Will Wagner walked to load the bases, then Cullen Baxter singled home both Dane Kolkmeyer and McCoy. Sartin then added an RBI double, scoring Tee Helsel and Baxter. 

SBU added a run in the sixth and seventh innings to get within two, but the Lions added an insurance run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly from Wilson. 

Sartin went 2-3 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored in game two, while McCoy went 3-4 with a run and an RBI. Helsel scored twice, while six other Lions had a hit each. 

The two teams will be back at it tomorrow afternoon with a double-header beginning at 1 pm. In-between the games, the Lions will honor the 15 seniors on the roster as part of Senior Day festivities.