MARVYILLE, Missouri – The Missouri Southern State University Lions scored an 11-inning, 6-5 victory over the Northwest Missouri State University Bearcat baseball team to complete a three-game series sweep.
Missouri Southern improved its season record to 27-10 overall and 20-10 in the MIAA. Northwest saw its record fall to 13-23 overall and 11-19 in MIAA play.
The Lions scored the first two runs of the contest with single tallies in the second and fourth innings.
The Bearcats tied it up at 2-2 on a two-run, two-out double from Brett Holden in the bottom of the fourth. The Bearcats had loaded the bases on a walk, hit by pitch and walk against Lion starter Jacob Davis. Holden greeted reliever Corey Cowan with a double down the left field line to even the score.
The Lions took a one-run lead in the top of the seventh. Bearcat starter Spencer Hanson gave up a leadoff single to MSSU’s designated hitter Brad Willis before being lifted by head coach Darin Loe. Following a sacrifice bunt that moved Willis to second, Northwest reliever Phil Brennaman had a 16-pitch battle with MSSU’s Jordan Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick hit an RBI single through the right side on the 16th pitch of the at-bat to score Willis and give the Lions a 3-2 lead.
The Bearcats battled back in the bottom half of the seventh to take a 5-3 lead. Drew Mackie singled to drive in Matt Gastner to even the score at 3-3. Holden drove in two more with a single to left to plate pinch-runner Trevor Dooley and Mackie to put the Bearcats on top, 5-3.
Brennaman retired the leadoff man in the eighth but surrendered a one-out walk and gave way to Zach Shadlow. Shadlow hit a batter and allowed two hits as the Lions scored a run to trim the Bearcat lead to one.
Northwest put two runners on in the eighth, but could not add to the score leaving the Bearcats on top 5-4 heading to the ninth.
Blaine Hnaf got the final out in the eighth and began the ninth looking for his second save of the season. Hnaf retired Troy Gagan on a comebacker and then struck out MSSU freshman catcher Tommy Stevenson. Lions third baseman Henry Kusiak launched a game-tying home run to left on a 2-and-1 count to keep MSSU in the game. Hnaf retired MSSU’s Joe Kinder on a flyout to center to end the ninth.
Mackie led off the bottom of the ninth with a single. Mackie dove back into first on a pickoff attempt, but the throw sailed away and Mackie looked to take second. However, MSSU’s Gagan picked up the errant throw and gunned Mackie down at second as he over slid the base. Northwest’s Ethan Judd struck out and Jacob Pinkerton fouled out to first to take the game into extra innings.
Mackie caught three flyouts in the 10th, but the Bearcat offense went down 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the inning.
MSSU laced back-to-back two-out doubles in the 11th to score the go-ahead run. Gagan doubled to start the rally and Stevenson scored him on a double to left. Kusiak flew out to Mackie to end the top of the 11th.
Koski worked a walk to start the bottom half of the 11th. He moved up to second on a pinch-hit sacrifice bunt from Tyler Peters. Dooley lined out to shortstop and Mackie flew out to left to end the contest.
Northwest will wrap up MIAA play next Friday and Saturday with a three-game series with the Washburn Ichabods. Friday’s doubleheader will begin at 12 p.m., followed by Saturday’s single game at 1 p.m. Prior to Saturday’s game, Northwest will honor its seniors from the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
NOTES: MSSU out-hit Northwest, 12-11 … Holden went 2-for-4 with four RBI … Mackie went 3-for-6 with a run scored and an RBI … Judd went 2-for-4 with a run scored … Hanson worked six innings and allowed five hits, three runs and struck out five.