Mules thwart Lion comeback in 7-4 win

Apr. 26—WARRENSBURG — In a battle of two top-10 teams, it was the No. 2 Central Missouri Mules that emerged victorious over No. 9 Missouri Southern in a 7-4 game on Friday at Central Missouri's Crane Stadium in Warrensburg.

The game kicked off the final series of the regular season for both teams.

The Mules (42-5, 28-3) got on the board with two runs in the bottom of the first inning when lead-off batter Carter Young hit a triple to right center off Lion starter Cole Gayman. Max Holy plated Young with a double to put UCM up 1-0. The Mules extended their lead to 2-0 when Vance Trobol singled up the middle to score Holy.

Central Missouri stretched its lead to 6-0 with four runs in the bottom of the second inning.

The Lions (36-12, 23-8) refused to go away and narrowed the gap with four runs — two each in the top of the fourth and fifth innings.

MSSU's first run of the game came via a Will Doherty double that drove home Henry Kusiak in the top of the fourth. Garrett Rice then plated Doherty with a double down the left field line to make it 6-2. MSSU's Drew Townsend hit a solo homer in the top of the fifth inning and Kusiak scored on another Doherty double to pull the Lions within two runs, at 6-4.

UCM padded its lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning when Chase Heath hit a shot over the left field fence.

Conner Wolf (10-0) stayed perfect on the season for UCM after giving up four runs on seven hits while striking out five and walking two in five innings. J.D. McReynolds logged his third save of the year, after walking three and striking out four in two innings of work.

Gayman (9-2) got the loss for MSSU after giving up six runs on nine hits with four walks and a strikeout in five innings on the mound.

Three Lions — Kusiak, Doherty and Nate Mieszkowski — logged multiple hits. Doherty finished 2 for 4 with two doubles, two RBIs and a run. Kusiak was 2 for 4 with a double and two runs and Mieszkowski finished 2 for 3.

Heath led the Mules after going 4 for 4 with an RBI and two runs. Holy was 2 for 4 with three RBIs and two runs and Young was 2 for 3 with two runs.

The teams resume their three-game series on Saturday with a noon start and wrap up the regular season with a 1 p.m. Sunday game at Crane Field.