Mules Baseball splits doubleheader with Missouri Southern

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(WARRENSBURG, Mo.) – The fifth-ranked Central Missouri Mules split a doubleheader to open their three-game series with Missouri Southern on Saturday at Crane Stadium/Tompkins Field. The Mules won the opener 9-1, but came up just short in game two losing 9-8.
The Mules (26-8, 20-7 MIAA) jumped on top in game one scoring five runs in the third inning. Brad Wilson brought home two runs with bases-loaded single to put UCM in front. Kevin Gratza added an RBI single, Seth Wheeler had an RBI sac bunt and Tucker Cross singled home another run.
UCM tacked on three more runs in the fourth to make it 8-0. All three runs in the inning came on errors by Missouri Southern. The Mules added one more run in the fifth on a Kyle Grieshaber RBI double to make it 9-0.
The Lions (25-14, 19-12 MIAA) scored one run in the seventh on a Tee Helsel RBI single, but the Mules closed it out from there.
Travis Higgs (5-0) earned the complete game win for UCM. He allowed just two hits and the one run, while striking out five. He took a no-hitter into the seventh inning, but gave up a one-out single.
Payton Walker (4-4) took the loss for MSSU after giving up nine runs, six earned, on eight hits in 4.1 innings.
The Lions jumped on top early in game two scoring a pair of runs in the first inning on a home run by Will Wagner. They tacked on four more in the second to take a 6-0 lead.
The Mules came back with four runs in the bottom of the second to pull within 6-4. Cross was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in the first run of the inning. Two runs scored when Trevor Jones reached on an error to make it 6-3 and Jon Cotter added an RBI sac bunt.
The Lions scored a run in the third on Thomas Wilson’s RBI double to make it 7-4. The Mules got that run back in the fifth on John Oropeza‘s sacrifice fly, but UCM stranded a pair.
Missouri Southern tacked on two runs in the sixth to extend the lead to 9-5. Sam Ryan had an RBI single and later scored on a UCM throwing error.
The Mules got a run back in the seventh on a Kevin Gratza RBI groundout and two more in the eighth to pull within one. The first run came across when Grieshaber reached on a fielding error by the pitcher and Oropeza was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to force in another run. The Mules, however, left the bases loaded in the eighth and would not score again.
Kurtis Schuyler (3-3) took the loss for UCM after giving up six runs on five hits in just one inning of work. Ryan Bates (4-1) got the win for the Lions allowing six runs, four earned, on eight hits in 6.1 innings. David Reese recorded the final four outs for his fourth save of the season.
The series wraps up Sunday at 11 a.m. with a single nine-inning game. The game has been moved up two hours from the originally scheduled 1 p.m. start time due to the increased chance of rain in the afternoon. The game can be heard live on 98.5 The Bar and