Mules baseball rallies for 7-3 win over Missouri Southern

Written by Muleskinner Staff

(MANKATO, Minn.) – The Mules rallied for seven runs in the final two innings for a 7-3 win over Missouri Southern in an NCAA-II Central Regional elimination game Friday at Franklin Rogers Park.
The Lions led 1-0 when the Mules began their rally in the eighth.
Missouri Southern (34-22) took their 1-0 lead in the first inning. Michael McCoy led off with a single, went to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Sam Ryan’s single to center field.
For the majority of the game it looked as though the single run might stand up. MSSU starter Drew Noble held the Mules (36-12) without a hit through 6 1/3 innings retiring 11 straight UCM hitters at one point.
The Mules broke up the no-hit bid in the top of the seventh with a one-out single by John Oropeza, but a double play ended the UCM threat to keep the 1-0 lead intact.
That all changed in the eighth, however. Barrett Noirfalise led off the inning with a walk. Trevor Jones had a bunt single and Noirfalise went all the way to third on a throwing error by the first baseman.
Jon Cotter brought home Noirfalise to tie the game 1-1 with a sacrifice bunt, but was able to reach safely on an error by the second baseman. Samuel Domingue laid down the third straight bunt for the Mules to score Jones and give UCM the lead. He also was able to reach on an MSSU error setting up the Mules with runners at second and third with no outs.
Chase Graskewicz then singled to left center field to score Cotter and extend the lead to 3-1. Following a double play and a walk to Brad Wilson, Oropeza laced a double to right center to score two more runs and give the Mules a 5-1 lead.
UCM tacked on two more runs in the ninth to take a 7-1 lead. Domingue singled home Noirfalise to plate the first run and Cotter later scored when Domingue was thrown out trying to steal second.
The Lions mustered two two-out runs in the bottom of the ninth, but it wasn’t enough as the Mules earned the win and advanced to another elimination game at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Travis Higgs (6-2) picked up the win for UCM, allowing just the first-inning run and scattering seven hits in 7 2/3 innings. He walked two and struck out five. Zach Davis recorded his team-leading seventh save of the season after recording the final four outs of the game.
Drew Noble (7-4) took the loss for MSSU. He allowed three runs, two earned, on two hits in seven innings.
Oropeza finished the day 2-for-4 with two RBI, while Noirfalise and Cotter each scored two runs.
Saturday’s game can be heard live on 1450 KOKO, 98.5 The Bar and with Shawn Jones and Bob Jackson on the call. The Central Missouri School of Graduate and Extended Studies Dugout Show will begin at 3:05 p.m.