Joplin, Mo. -- The Missouri Southern baseball team took both ends of a double-header today against Northeastern State, winning 6-5 and 5-3, and the Lions advanced to the next round of the MIAA Tournament on Thursday in Kansas City.
Southern (31-19) will face off with Pittsburg State at 2:30 pm from CommunityAmerica Ballpark in Kansas City, Kansas as the Gorillas upset second seed Central Missouri to advance, as well.
The Lions picked up stellar pitching performances in both games today as Ryan Bates went eight innings in the opener, allowing just one earned run and striking out seven. David Reese threw a third of an inning, while Bo Bergen picked up his third save of the year. In game two, freshman Payton Walker went all nine, to earn his fourth complete game of the season and move his record to 6-4. Bates moves to 7-2 on the season.
Southern got on the board first with a big fifth inning in game one, batting around and scoring five runs. Dallas Burke had the big hit in the inning with a bases-clearing double.
NSU added four more in the ninth, but Bergen would shut the door with the final two outs of the game.
The Lions went on top in game two with two runs in the third and another in the fourth. Burke continued his hot hitting with a two-run homer in the third to right center, while Thomas Wilson drove in Tee Helsel for the Lions' run in the fourth.
NSU added a run in the fifth, before the Lions added two more in the sixth on RBIs from Wilson and Zack Steadman. The RiverHawks plated a pair of runs in the seventh, but it wouldn't be enough as Walker closed out the game in the ninth.
Burke went 2-3 with a run and two RBIs on his fourth home run of the season. McCoy, Helsel and Wilson had a pair of hits each, with Wilson driving in two and Helsel scoring twice.
Southern moves on to face Pittsburg State at 2:30 pm on Thursday afternoon in Kansas City. Missouri Western and Central Oklahoma both swept their respective series and will face each other at 11 am on Thursday.