Southern drops series opener at No. 10 Central Missouri, 6-4

Warrensburg, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern baseball program scored three runs in the ninth, but couldn't complete the comeback as the tenth ranked Central Missouri Mules defeated the Lions 6-4 in the series opener in Warrensburg. 

Southern (19-8, 12-7 MIAA) scored all four of its runs in the final two innings. Senior Ethan Stenger started for the Lions and went seven and a third innings, limiting the Mules (20-5, 15-4 MIAA) to just five hits, while striking out two. Ryan Taylor and Grant Conrad pitched the final two thirds of an inning. 

The Mules scored three runs in the second and a single run in each of the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to put away the game. 

The Lions picked up a run in the eighth when Tee Helsel doubled to start the inning. Sam Ryan singled behind Helsel putting runners at the corners and Dane Kolkmeyer singled home Helsel. 

Southern scored three more in the ninth. Cullen Baxter singled to start the inning and Michael McCoy singled behind him. Jesse Kinzey then walked to load the bases. Baxter would score on a fielder's choice, while McCoy would score the second run of the inning on a Ryan ground out. Kolkmeyer then singled to score Helsel, but was out at second to end the game. 

Kolkmeyer went 2-4 with a pair of RBIs, while McCoy was 2-3 with a run scored. Helsel had a hit, two runs and an RBI, while Ryan drove in a run, as well. 

The two teams will be back at it tomorrow afternoon with a double-header beginning at 1 pm.