Pitching prowess

David+Johnson+tags+out+Cody+Hull+on+2nd+base+during+the+second+game+against+Ozarks+held+on+Wednesday.

David Johnson tags out Cody Hull on 2nd base during the second game against Ozarks held on Wednesday.

Ian Taylor, Sports Editor

Lions led from the rubber 

Finally, baseball is back in action. With the beginning of this 2015 season slowed by the four states rendition of a winter wonderland, these games bring not only the excitement of what the Lions hope will be a solid season, but the dream of attending a game in shorts and a T-shirt.

For Southern, the start has looked solid, most notably from atop the mound. The addition of senior transfer Tyler Burgess has given the roster a bookend in the rotation, and when Burgess pairs with junior Payton Walker, the Lions compare with any team in the MIAA.

Also cementing a spot of importance on the squad is another Division I transfer, senior Nick Pettus. After spending last season at Texas Tech, Pettus comes to Southern and immediately fills a need, securing the back end of the bullpen along with fellow senior Kanon Hoover.

The pair displayed their potential on day one, coming in to shut down the final innings against Upper Iowa, helping the Lions win the opening contest on their new home field. And after last season, which saw the Lions squander game after game by the slimmest of margins, the team feels like these additions can be the difference.

“We’ve got guys that have grown up in our system like Payton and Goosetree; that will help us a lot, but we always have a ton of transfers,” said senior Tee Helsel. “This is the most complete staff I have ever played with, but I think the big difference is having a great catcher with an understanding of what everybody can uniquely throw in certain counts.”

After a fast 4-0 start for the Lions, the team gets back to action against Southwest Baptist on Sunday at 3 p.m. The first game of back-to-back double headers the teams will play to begin March.