Lion bats explode as Cole Gayman holds Ouachita to 1 hit

Feb. 9—Missouri Southern starter and current National Pitcher of the Week Cole Gayman logged his second one-hit outing in a row and his Lion teammates provided plenty of run support in a 15-1 seven-inning run-rule win over the Ouachita Baptist Tigers on Friday at Warren Turner Field.

Gayman's lone hiccup in Southern's home opener was a solo home run by Ouachita's Isaac Nowell in the top of the third. Gayman fanned nine batters and logged just two walks in his second win in as many starts.

The Lions recorded runs in every inning except the first, including erupting for six runs in the bottom of the third and three each in the second and sixth innings.

"The guys behind me are playing so hard right now," Gayman (2-0) said of the win.

Southern's Treghan Parker reached on a single up the middle, setting the table for a Will Doherty 2-run bomb to left field that put MSSU up 2-0 in the bottom of the second. Nate Mieszkowski went back-to-back with Doherty on a solo shot to left to give the Lions a 3-0 lead.

The Lions (3-1) responded to Nowell's third-inning lead-off homer with 6 runs in the bottom of the frame — all with two outs. Will Doherty hit a 2-run triple that plated Henry Kusiak and Drew Townsend. Doherty stole home on a wild pitch, and Mieszkowski scored on a Drew Davis single that put the Lions up 7-1. A Townsend single to right brought home Davis and Garrett Rice and extended Southern's lead to 9-1.

MSSU added another run in the bottom of the fourth inning when a Mieszkowski sacrifice fly plated Ethan Clark. The Lions' lead swelled to 12-1 in the fifth inning when Townsend scored on an errant pitch and Parker drove in Kusiak with a single.

Southern's final runs came in the bottom of the sixth, when Kusiak plated Chayton Beck and Rice with a two-RBI single and Townsend scored on a Clark single to close out the 15-1 win.

The Lions (4-2) handed Ouachita its first loss of the season and avenged an 8-1 loss to the Tigers last Sunday in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

"I think that just motivated us," Gayman said of Sunday's loss.

Doherty led the Lions with 4 RBIs, going 2-for-3 with two runs and a walk. Parker was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run and Beck was 2-for-4 with a run. Clark finished 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI. Townsend (1-for-2) and Kusiak (1-for-3) each drew two walks. Townsend scored three runs and Kusiak two.

MSSU head coach Bryce Darnell talked about the difference between Friday's game and last Sunday's against the Tigers.

"We were able to get on them early and Cole pitched great. That was huge for us," Darnell said. "They are a good, quality club. Tomorrow will be a different story, so we have to be ready."

The two teams continue their weekend series with a doubleheader Saturday. The first game is set for noon and the second for 3 p.m.