March 11, 2011
Ninth-inning rally falls short in series opener
JOPLIN, Mo.-Northwest Missouri State scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning but fell one run short in a 7-6 decision to Missouri Southern Friday in the first of a four-game series. The two teams meet again Saturday in a 1 p.m. doubleheader. The series finale is Sunday.
Missouri Southern (6-4, 2-3 MIAA) led 7-2 after three innings and rode the left arm of starter Brett Abell, who struck out 10 and walked one in eight innings of work.
Abell (3-1) gave up a two-run homer to Evan Connell in the top of the second inning, but rebounded and allowed just two singles over his next six innings of work. Abell allowed the first four runners in the ninth inning to reach base before giving way to Austin Brown, who retired three consecutive hitters to earn his first save of the season.
CJ Matthews and Jim Gilkerson hit back-to-back home runs as part of a five-run, second-inning that allowed the Lions to take a 6-2 lead. Cullen Baxter delivered a three-run double in the inning one pitch after seeing his foul tip roll off Northwest catcher Landinn Echardt's glove to keep the at bat alive.
Nick Caldrone relieved Northwest starter Anthony Moctezuma (0-2) and allowed one run on three hits in 3 1/3 innings of work. Four Northwest relief pitchers combined to allow four hits over the final six innings.
Northwest (0-10, 0-5) shortstop Cameron Bedard's RBI single in the top of the ninth inning extended his hitting streak to five games and closed the gap to 7-4. Brett Paterson's sacrifice fly to centerfield one batter later made it 7-5 and Evan Connell made it 7-6 with an RBI groundout. Brown got Echardt to ground out to short to end the game.
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