Lions erupt for 14 runs in the second game in a split with the Gorillas

Joplin, Mo. -- Jacob Taylor scored four runs to lead an offensive outburst in the second game to help the Missouri Southern Lions salvage a split with the Pittsburg State Gorillas Wednesday afternoon (Mar. 3) at Joe Becker Stadium.  The doubleheader is part of the ongoing Sonic Trophy Series between the two schools.   

Shayne Hoke hit a two-run homer to lead a four-run bottom of the first that got the Lions off and running in the nightcap.

With starter Zak Porath shutting the Gorillas out, the Lions scored three more runs in the fourth on an RBI single by Taylor, a sacrifice bunt by Hoke that scored CJ Matthews and a sacrifice fly by Joe Lincoln that plated Taylor.

Porath held the Gorillas scoreless on four hits through the first five innings. 

The Lions added a run in the bottom of the fifth for an eight-run lead when the Gorillas broke through in the sixth on a two-run homer by Jason Graves.

Lincoln hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the sixth that made it 9-2 when Luke Zeller powered a four-run seventh for the Gorillas with a two-run shot that cut the lead to four runs.

The Lions though put it away with five runs in the bottom of the eighth as Taylor walked to lead off the inning, stole second, advanced to third on a single by Hoke and scored on a base-hit by Lincoln.  Patrick Deao also hit a two-run double in the inning and Michael Zurmehly singled to score Skyler Rawlins. 

Porath got the win after pitching 6 2/3 innings with six runs allowed, but only two earned.  He struck out five batters.  Trent Owens came on in relief and went 2 1/3 scoreless innings to pick up the save.

The opener ended in dramatic fashion as the Lions trailed 6-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh, but rallied with three runs and a chance to tie with two outs. 

Taylor hit a three-run homer that brought the Lions to within a run with only one out.  Deao then drew a two-out walk and Lincoln followed that with a hit to the gap in left center.  Deao tried to score the tying-run but was thrown out at the plate to end the game.

The Gorillas (3-4, 2-4 MIAA) jumped on top with a run in the second before Zurmehly and Vince Pironti each hit RBI doubles in the bottom of the inning that put the Lions in front 2-1.

Jeremy Graves then hit a two-run homer in the third inning to give the lead right back to the Gorillas.

CJ Maffei struck out six in five innings of work for the Lions (3-10, 1-5 MIAA) in a losing effort.  Tyler Jinks followed Maffei with two scoreless frames.

Nate Templeton lasted five innings and recorded seven strikeouts with two runs allowed for the victory for the Gorillas.  Zellner got the final two outs to earn the save.

The Lions will next host Nebraska-Omaha in a four-game series beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon (Mar. 6) at 1 p.m.