Groom, Maffei pitch gems to lead Lions to doubleheader sweep of Ichabods

Joplin, Mo. -- Garrett Groom and CJ Maffei each enjoyed solid days on the mound to lead the Missouri Southern Lions to a doubleheader sweep of the Washburn Ichabods Sunday afternoon (Mar. 28) at Joe Becker Stadium.  The Lions took game one 3-1 and then the nightcap 7-4.  With the sweep, the Lions win the weekend series with the Ichabods, three games to one.

Groom dominated the opener with 10 strikeouts and only one run allowed in seven innings. 

After Cameron Kasel doubled in Dane Simoneau for the first run of the game in the fifth inning for the Ichabods, the Lions gave Groom all the runs he would need by scoring three runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead.

Patrick Deao led off the inning with a triple and scored the tying run on an RBI single by Dane Kolkmeyer.  Kolkmeyer then stole second and scored the go-ahead run on a double by Zach Caldwell.  Joe Lincoln then doubled in Caldwell for the Lions' third run of the inning. 

Maffei followed Groom's gem with an outstanding effort of his own in the second game, also giving up only one run over seven innings and striking out nine.

The Lions (11-16, 9-11 MIAA) got on the board first when Skyler Rawlins singled and later scored on a balk by WU starter Raul Guevara.

Jacob Taylor then doubled the Lions' lead in the third inning with his fifth homer of the season.

With the Lions leading 2-1 in the fifth, Kolkmeyer drew a lead-off walk, stole second and scored on a two-out RBI single by Lincoln that made it 3-1 in favor of the Lions.

The Lions then broke the game wide-open with four runs in the bottom of the sixth.  Caldwell hit a sacrifice fly that plated CJ Matthews and Lincoln doubled in Taylor.  The inning also featured a successful squeeze play by Rawlins that scored Deao.  A throwing error on an attempted sacrifice bunt by Deao led to all four runs in the inning being unearned.

Kasel hit a two-run homer as part of a three-run eighth that brought the Ichabods to within three runs. 

But with the bases-loaded and the go-ahead run at the plate, reliever Corey Wells struck out Thomas Holiday swinging to end the threat and preserve the lead.

Mitch Albright then worked a scoreless ninth to earn his first save of the season.

Lincoln went 3-of-4 at the plate with two RBI to lead the Lions' offensive attack.

The Lions will next play a doubleheader at Pittsburg State on Wednesday afternoon (Mar. 31) at 3 p.m.  The two games will be part of the ongoing Sonic Trophy Series between the two schools.  The Lions and PSU split a doubleheader earlier this year in Joplin.