Baseball splits double-header with Central Oklahoma

Joplin, Mo. -- A pinch-hit, two-run, RBI single from Brett Graham, drove in two and the Lions came-from-behind to win game two today, 4-3 as the Missouri Southern baseball team split a double-header with visiting Central Oklahoma. The Bronchos took game one 7-3. 

Southern (23-21, 16-19 MIAA) scored three runs in the sixth inning of game two to complete the comeback. All three runs were scored with two outs. A Central Oklahoma (31-11, 24-11 MIAA) error allowed the inning to continue and Axel Johnson scored from second base to cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth. A walk to Beau Phillips loaded the bases and Graham pinch hit, fighting off an inside pitch to short left field that scored two runs to put the Lions on top 4-3. 

Stephen Vaughn finished off the comeback with a scoreless seventh to earn his third win of the year. Ryan Bates had started for the Lions and went five and two thirds, striking out one and allowing three earned runs. Vaughn threw the final inning and a third, allowing just two hits and holding the Bronchos scoreless. 

Johnson went 2-3 in the game with two runs scored. Dusty Harper had two hits, while Logan Moon, Austin White and Graham had a hit each. Graham drove in two and Mitchell Osburn drove in one and scored one, as well. Lupo scored a run of his own. 

In game one, Central Oklahoma scored two runs in each of the fourth and fifth innings to race out to a 4-0 lead. The Lions came back with two runs in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI triple from Moon, scoring Lupo, while Moon scored on an RBI from Osburn. 

Southern added another run in the sixth on a home run to left from Harper to cut the lead to 4-3, but the Bronchos scored three runs in the top of the seventh to put the game away. 

David Reese started for the Lions and went four and a third innings and struck out five, while walking just two. Vaughn threw two thirds of an inning with a strikeout, while Kanon Hoover and Drew Noble threw an inning each. Hoover struck out two and Noble struck out one as the Lions' pitching staff struck out nine batters in the game. 

Vaughn, with his two appearances today, ran his season total to 26, tying the MSSU single-season record with Travis McGruder from 1997. Reese moved his career appearance total to 61, moving into second place all-time and he sits just three from tying Jake Lawver (2001-04) for the MSSU record in that category. 

Osburn went 2-3 in game two, while Moon and Harper had the Lions' two other hits. Harper drove in one and scored another, while Moon did the same. 

The Lions and the Bronchos will play the final game of the series tomorrow with a single, nine-inning game at 1 pm from Joe Becker Stadium. The team will honor its nine seniors prior to the start of the game.