Kansas City, Kan. -- Behind two separate two-out rallies, the Missouri Southern baseball team has won the 2013 MIAA Baseball Championship defeating fifth ranked Missouri Western 6-3 on a walk-off three-run home run from Sam Ryan.
Southern (34-20) wins its first MIAA title since the 1992 season and the Lions are dancing for the first time since the 2001 season when the Lions made the South Central Regional in Warrensburg.
The Lions utilized two separate three-run innings to win the game. After Western (40-10) had taken a 2-0 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, Southern scored three runs in the inning on RBIs from Michael McCoy, Dallas Burke and Sam Ryan. McCoy had a sacrifice fly scoring Thomas Wilson for the first run, while Burke and Ryan had back-to-back hits, a double for Burke and a single from Ryan to score runs two and three.
Western, who had won game one of the day 12-2 to force the second championship game, tied the score in the top of the ninth on an RBI single from Michael Schulze, scoring Shawn Egge who had tripled to lead off the inning.
In the ninth, the Griffons picked up two quick outs on the Lions, before McCoy singled to right field on an 0-2 count. Burke then singled to left to put runners at first and second, bringing up Ryan for his heroics once again. The catcher worked a 3-2 count and then hit a bomb to right center, clearing the wall, and giving the Lions a 6-3 win and their first MIAA Baseball Championship since 1992.
Not to be lost in the late, walk-off heroics is the strong pitching performance Southern got from starter Drew Noble. Noble went all nine innings, the third complete-game for the Lions in the tournament, and picked up win number seven on the season, striking out five, walking none, and scattering ten hits, while allowing just two earned runs.
Ryan went 2-4 with a run and four RBIs, including the walk-off three-run home run. Burke was 3-5 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI, while McCoy was 3-4 with a run and and RBI. Wilson and Shaun Hoover both had a hit and a run scored, while Tee Helsel went 1-2 with two walks.
The Lions will be playing in a regional next Thursday-Sunday, with the location still yet to be determined. Minnesota State - Mankato was the number one seed heading into their conference tournament and the Mavericks are in the championship game of that event. The NCAA will announce the brackets online via www.ncaa.com at 9 pm on Sunday evening and the Lions will then find out when, where and whom they will play next.