Maffei named MIAA Pitcher of the Week, Taylor ties record

Cody Thorn

You could say the last Missouri Southern baseball game was a smashing success any way you look at it.

The Lions won 9-5 and then 22-8 over Southwest Baptist University Tuesday in Bolivar and in the process ran its league mark to 15-7 overall.

The victories aided the Lions in pulling away from Central Missouri in the MIAA standings.

Currently, the Lions are sitting in third place in the league, behind nationally ranked Emporia State (No. 5) which is 17-3 in league play and No. 19-ranked Nebraska-Omaha, which is 19-5.

The top four teams in the standings at the end of the regular season, which is April 28 for the Lions, qualify for the MIAA Postseason Tournament in Kansas City, Kan.

The Lions are getting help from almost everybody in the lineup during the stretch.

In Tuesday’s win, Jacob Taylor, a junior transfer from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M, tied a single season school record with his seventh triple of the season.

The record goes back decades, as Joe Janiak (1986), Joe Majeski (1985) and Bob Breig (1980) all had seven triples in a season.

In the second game against SBU, Southern won 22-8.

The 22 runs were the most runs scored by Southern since March 24, 2002, in a 22-5 victory over Pittsburg State.

The two-game sweep also gave Southern a 23-13 record, the highest mark in recent years. In 2005, the Lions had a 24-28 record. The last winning record came in 2003, a 27-23 mark.

The Lions now turn their attention to long-time rival Pittsburg State, as the two squads have a home-and-away set this weekend.

The teams play a doubleheader Friday at Al Ortalani Field in Pittsburg, before restarting the weekend set at noon Saturday at Joe Becker Stadium. This series will be the only time the two MIAA foes play each other this year.

The Gorillas and Lions split the season series in 2008 at 2-2. In 2007, the Lions took three out of four games.

“I haven’t looked at PSU, as the focus has been on SBU, but I do know we will have to deal with (Austin) Kirkwood and (Taylor) House and they have a standout pitcher in (Tim) Brown,” said baseball Head Coach Bryce Darnell. “It should be a fun weekend of baseball.”

House and Kirkwood are both outfielders, while Brown is a right-handed starting pitcher.

The Lions will throw its ‘weekend’ rotation against the Gorillas, which includes MIAA Baseball Pitcher of the Week C.J. Maffei.

The junior, who transferred in from Labette, Kan., Community College, was 2-0 with a 0.00 earned run average in two starts last week.

He has wins over Central Missouri and Washburn and gave up only nine hits in 14 1/3 innings.

Also in line to pitch are Garrett Groom, Carter Lance and the fourth man in the rotation, Ryan Verfurth.

The Lions will wind up the regular season with a two-game series May 1-2 against Rockhurst University.