Baseball splits at home with No. 5 Missouri Western

Joplin, Mo. -- A walk-off, bases-loaded single by Zack Steadman in the bottom of the ninth lifted the Missouri Southern baseball team over fifth-ranked Missouri Western today in game one of a double-header at Joe Becker Stadium. Southern fell 8-4 in game two of the twin bill. 

The win in game one, coupled with a loss from Central Oklahoma today, means the Lions (29-18, 23-16 MIAA) will host a first-round MIAA Baseball Tournament series next Thursday-Saturday at Joe Becker Stadium. Game times and opponents are yet to be determined. 

The Lions scored first in game one, when Nick Doughty doubled down the left field line, scoring Thomas Wilson

Western (35-8, 28-5 MIAA) added a run in each of the third and fourth innings, and broke out for three in the fifth to go ahead 5-1 going into the bottom of the fifth. 

The Lions, answered back with two more in the bottom of the fifth when Tee Helsel doubled to left center, scoring both Dallas Burke and Michael McCoy. Southern added another run in the sixth to pull within one (5-4) when Wilson scored an unearned run. 

The Lions tied it up in the bottom of the seventh to force extras when Doughty again doubled and scored Keith Freeman who was running for Will Wagner who had led off the inning with a single. 

Western added two runs in the top of the eighth, but the Lions again tied it at seven on RBIs from Steadman and Helsel. After loading the bases with two outs in the ninth, Steadman came up again and plugged the gap in left-center, scoring Dane Kolkmeyer with the winning run. 

McCoy went 4-6 in the game with a run, while Steadman was 2-2 with a run and two RBIs. Helsel drove in three, while Doughty drove in a pair. Wilson scored two runs and went 2-3 with two walks. 

Brett Abell started and went six and a third of an inning, striking out ten and walking just two. He now has 92 strikeouts on the regular season, just two from tying the single-season MSSU record of 94 held by Tim Luther in 1991. David Reese, Bo Bergen, Payton Walker and Ryan Bates threw in relief, with Bates picking up the win to move to 6-1 on the season. 

Western scored five runs over the first two innings of game two to pull out the split in the double-header. Southern scored a run in the first on a Wagner RBI double and added two more in the third on a two-run home run to center field from Sam Ryan, his fourth of the season. 

Western, however, scored a run in the fifth and two in the sixth to put the game away. The Lions added one more in the seventh, but it wasn't enough. 

Bates started game two, but was chased after just a third of an inning. Reese threw four and two thirds of an inning, striking out two and allowing just two earned runs. Drew Noble and Bo Bergen threw in relief, as well. 

Ryan went 2-4 with two RBIs and a run scored, while Doughty was 3-4 in the game with an RBI. Burke, Wagner and Wilson all had a pair of hits. 

The Lions will play host to a first-round MIAA Tournament series next Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but their opponent is not yet known. Southern can either be the No. 3 or No. 4 seed in the tournament, depending on the outcome of tomorrow's Central Missouri-Emporia State game. Once game times and opponents are announced they will be relayed via the web site.