WARRENSBURG, Mo. — The Missouri Southern Baseball team got three RBIs from Garan Stevens and two each from Troy Gagan and Denver Coffee, but the Lions fell victim to a late comeback falling 10-9 to 14th-ranked St. Cloud State University in the NCAA Tournament.
The Lions (35-21) end their season in the NCAA Tournament with the third trip to the NCAA post season in the last six years.
Stevens, in his first start of the season, didn’t disappoint as the senior went 2-for-4 with three RBIs in the game. Troy Gagan was 3-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored, while Freddie Landers was 4-for-5 with a pair of runs scored. Matt Miller and Mike Million had a home run each, while Landers, Gagan, Coffee and Dan each had a double. Dexter Swims had a hit with an RBI and a run scored.
Zac Shoemaker started and went five and two thirds of an inning with three strikeouts. Will Bausinger and Joey Reeves went an inning, while Logan VanWey and Bradly Hershey threw, as well with Reeves picking up the loss in relief.
SCSU (41-13) got four hits from Ethan Ibarra and three from Najee Gaskins.
The Lions started the scoring with three runs in the first. Million homered to lead off the game and Gagan doubled home Landers and Ryan Hunter.
The Huskies scored a single run in each of the second and third innings to get within one run (3-2) going to the bottom of the third. Southern answered and scored four runs in the third with Swims starting things off with an RBI, beating out a double-play to score Landers. Coffee doubled home Miller and Stevens hit a two-RBI single to score Coffee and Swims to put the Lions up 7-2 going to the fourth.
The Huskies added a run in the fourth to make the score 7-3, but the Lions answered with two runs in the fifth on RBIs from Coffee and Stevens.
SCSU, however, scored seven unanswered runs over the final four innings, going ahead for good in the eighth inning. Southern had a chance in the ninth when Landers singled to start the inning, but the Lions couldn’t finish off the comeback.
The Lions set the school record for season strikeouts by the pitching staff as Southern punched out 558 opposing hitters this season, finishing just five away from tying the MIAA single-season record. Zach Parish broke the single-season individual strikeout record with 136 k’s, 20 more than the previous record. The Lions’ .971 fielding percentage was just shy (.973) of breaking the school record in that category.