Joplin - A three-run home run in the seventh-inning broke a 1-1 tie and the Missouri Southern baseball team dropped the opener of a four-game series tonight to Central Oklahoma 4-1 at Joe Becker Stadium.
Southern (22-20, 15-18 MIAA) saw a solid pitching performance from starter Payton Walker as the sophomore went four innings and scattered six hits. He struck out seven and walked none. Kanon Hoover threw an inning of relief and allowed just one hit, while Tyler Kjellsen threw an inning, as well, striking out one and holding the Bronchos (30-10, 23-10 MIAA) hitless.
UCO opened up the scoring in the second when Jake O'Brien scored on an infield single from Jared Sterling.
The Lions answered back in the third when Jared Lupo doubled off the left field wall and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from Austin White. Lupo then scored on a wild pitch.
The Bronchos picked up a three-run home run from O'Brien to left field in the seventh that proved to be the game-winner.
Logan Moon went 2-4 in the game, while Mitchell Osburn went 2-3. The Lions had a hit each from Matt Smith, Axel Johnson, Dusty Harper, Zack Steadman and Lupo.
The two teams will be back at it tomorrow afternoon in a double-header beginning at 2 pm from Joe Becker Stadium.