Southern baseball splits a pair at 5th ranked Central Missouri

Warrensburg, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern baseball team scored seven runs over the first three innings of game two today and split a pair at fifth ranked Central Missouri. 

Southern (25-14, 19-12 MIAA) beats its highest-ranked opponent for the first time since the 2009 season when the Lions took three of four from third ranked Emporia State at home. 

The Lions were no-hit into the seventh inning by Central Missouri (26-8, 20-7 MIAA) pitcher Travis Higgs as the Mules took a 9-0 lead into the inning. 

Dallas Burke walked to lead off the inning and he moved to third on a single from Will Wagner. Tee Helsel singled into left field, driving in Burke with the Lions' only run of the game. 

Helsel and Wagner had the hits for the Lions as Helsel drove in Burke. Payton Walker started for Southern and went four and a third. Josh Engler and Kanon Hoover pitched the final one and two thirds of an inning. 

In game two, the Lions got on the board first with a pair of scores in the first. Michael McCoy singled to lead off the game and he stole second, moving to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Wagner would drive him home when he knocked his fifth home run of the season over the right field wall. 

Southern plated four runs in the second inning. Shaun Hoover picked up a two-RBI single and Dallas Burke drove in the other two runs of the inning. 

Central scored four runs in the bottom half of the inning, but the Lions picked up a run in the third when Thomas Wilson doubled down the left field line, scoring Helsel and putting the Lions up 7-4. 

Central scored a run in the fifth, but the Lions picked up two big runs in the sixth when Sam Ryan drove in Dane Kolkmeyer and Ryan would later score an unearned run which proved to be the game-winner. 

The Mules scored a run in the seventh and two in the eighth to get within one run, but David Reese would come in and throw a hitless final one and a third to pick up the save. Ryan Bates started and went six and a third, striking out four and walking one, while Bo Bergen threw a hitless one and a third of his own in relief. 

Thomas Wilson went 3-3 with a run and an RBI, picking up his eighth double of the season. Wagner was 2-4 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored, adding his fifth home run of the season. McCoy, Burke, Ryan, Helsel, Hoover, Kolkmeyer and Nick Doughty had a hit each. 

The teams will be back in action tomorrow morning with the final game of the series. First pitch has been moved up to 11 am to try and beat the forecasted rains scheduled for tomorrow.