Lions go 4-0 at Metrodome before start of MIAA play

The Missouri Southern baseball team will head to Lindenwood tomorrow to open up the team’s MIAA schedule.

Head Coach Bryce Darnell expects Lindenwood to pose a challenge in its first year of MIAA play.

“We need to play better [this season] on the road,” Darnell said. “We always have high expectations though.”

Darnell says that preparation for this season went smoothly due to warm weather that allowed them to practice outside. Senior Sam Ryan says that the team is excited to start playing in-season against other conference teams.

“We’ve been stuck scrimmaging for way too long,” Ryan said. “We’ve got 21 new players this year but our returning core leaders from last season as well. Players like Michael McCoy, Brett Abell and myself lead by example for our younger guys on the field and show them the ropes of how we do things.

“We’re ready to play that first [MIAA] game and I’m confident that we won’t skip a beat on the field,” Ryan said. “We’ve got a great pitching staff and great starters this year. It should be a really exciting season for us.”

Darnell says that the coaching staff is excited about this season.

Senior Michael McCoy is confident it will be a great season for the Lions and more specifically a great weekend against Lindenwood.

“We like the mix of returning players along with the players we recruited,” Darnell said. “Also, a big plus to our team is the return of Brett Abell and Dallas Burke who both missed last season with injuries.”

“As long as we play our game I don’t think there is anyone that could beat us,” McCoy said. “There isn’t a weak point in our lineup so I’m not worried about scoring runs.

“We still have some things to work on because it’s the first of the series but I think we are going to be a great team,” McCoy said.

Last weekend the Lions traveled to Minneapolis, Minn. to face Montana State University at the Metrodome. The team went 4-0 and started each game with strong pitchers and didn’t fail to score runs. Southern swept the weekend set by scores of 10-3, 7-4, 11-6 and 7-3.

“Our starting pitchers came out [last weekend] and gave us four good starts and I think that is what we are going to need to happen week in and week out to do well this season,” McCoy said. “I think if our pitching staff can keep doing that then we are going to have a very successful weekend against Lindenwood.”

Abell pitched strong, starting in the first game of the weekend returning from Tommy John surgery last year. Drew Noble started pitching for game two and ate up the first four innings. Senior Will Wagner notched the first homerun of the season on day one.

On day two, Peyton Walker and Ryan Bates toed the rubber for the Lions.  McCoy went 2-3 with two RBIs and a pair of runs scored. Ryan went 2-4, while Wagner drove in two. Tee Helsel hit his first homerun of the season.

Darnell says that the team was successful last weekend and was proud to bring home the four wins.

“We were pleased with how we played this weekend in the dome,” Darnell said. “We really don’t concern ourselves with wins, we really just put our effort into playing good baseball.  If we do that we will give ourselves a shot to win games.”

“4-0 is a really good start to our season and definitely gives us confidence going into Lindenwood,” Bates said. “We’re going to go in with that same mindset of beating the opposing team in every aspect of the game: defense, offense and pitching.”