Southern Baseball opens 2013 season with four games in Minnesota

Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern baseball team will open up the 2013 season this weekend with four games in the Metrodome against Montana State Billings. 

The Lions and Yellowjackets will play a double-header on Saturday and another one on Sunday. Saturday's games start at 11:45 am, while Sunday's contests start at 7 am. 

The Lions are a pre-season No. 6 pick in the MIAA coaches poll and were recently listed at tenth in the pre-season Baseball Writers Central Region poll. 

The Lions were 32-19 last year and 23-17 in the MIAA, good enough for a third-place finish in the final conference standings. Southern has been picked sixth in the preseason MIAA Coaches Poll. The team returns 11 letterwinners and six starters including two players the team missed dearly last season in seniors Dallas Burke and Brett Abell. Both missed 2012 due to injuries, but were All-MIAA picks in 2011 and hope to return to that form this year. 

Also returning are All-MIAA picks from last season in seniors Sam Ryan and Michael McCoy. Ryan should see time back at his familiar catcher spot, as well as some time at third base, while McCoy will make the move back to the infield from the outfield, a position he played at his junior college. 

Abell will be one of the Lions' four starters this weekend with newcomers Drew Noble, Payton Walker and Ryan Bates filling the other three starts.