JOPLIN -- The Missouri Southern baseball team was an out away from a win in the opener against fourth-ranked Central Missouri, but a three-run home run put Central Missouri on top and gave the Mules the opener, 5-4 as Central swept a double-header from the Lions today. The Lions dropped the nightcap 9-4.
Southern (12-10, 8-10 MIAA) got a stellar pitching performance from Grant Conrad in game one as the lefty went six innings, allowing just two earned runs and scattering seven hits. Austin Brown got the loss in relief.
Dane Kolkmeyer was 4-4 in the game with a pair of runs scored and two RBIs, while Dallas Burke had a pair of hits, as well.
The Mules (18-3, 13-3 MIAA) trailed for most of the game and were down 4-2 heading into the seventh and got a run to get within two, before Tyler Ruch hit a three-run home run off of Brown to go ahead 5-4. Ruch was 2-3 with three RBIs and a pair of runs scored in game one, while Nick DiBiasse and Will Mulligan had two hits each.
Central got on the board first in game two with a pair of runs in the first and a single run in the second. The Lions were held scoreless until the eighth when Southern got RBIs from Jim Gilkerson and Cullen Baxter. The Lions threatened with two more runs in the ninth, a bases-loaded walk to Kolkmeyer and a sacrifice fly from Shayne Hoke, scoring Patrick Deao, but it wasn't enough.
Southern had two hits each from Jesse Kinzey and Helsel in game two, as four different Lions scored.
Ryan Wheat started and went six innings, striking out two and walking one, while David Reese and Bo Bergen threw the final three innings in relief.
the Lions will have a game on Wednesday night at Drury, before heading back to Joplin to play host to Washburn next weekend.