Opening day split for Lions

C.J. Maffei delivers a pitch during the first game of Tuesdays doubleheader.

T.R. Hanrahan

C.J. Maffei delivers a pitch during the first game of Tuesday’s doubleheader.

Derek Ezell snapped a 7-7 tie by smashing a three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to lead the Missouri Southern Lions to a come-from-behind 11-7 win in the second game against the Northeastern State Riverhawks Feb. 10 at Joe Becker Stadium.

The Lions fell 8-3 to NSU in the opener to settle for a split to open the 2009 season.

The Lions trailed 7-5 entering the bottom of the sixth when they drew four consecutive walks to come within one run. Zach Caldwell then reached on a fielder’s choice that plated Gabe Wyatt that tied the score to set up Ezell’s heroics. Jacob Taylor scored on a wild pitch later in the inning for the Lions’ 11th run.

NSU struck for five runs in the top of the first behind a two-run single by Joel Eusebio and a two-run homer from Austin McArdle.

The Lions scored a run in the bottom of the first and then tied the game with a four-run fourth inning. Justin Beal, Trent Owens and Shayne Hoke each had run-scoring singles for the Lions in the fourth.

The Riverhawks quickly regained the lead on a solo homer by Blake Neighbors in the fifth and another solo blast from Eric McKinney in the sixth.

Garrett Groom got the victory for by pitching six innings and allowing three earned runs with seven strikeouts. Beal came on and threw a scoreless seventh inning to close the door for the Lions.

NSU (4-2) also jumped out to a big lead in the first game with four runs in the first inning.

After Southern starter C.J. Maffei struck out the first two batters, he gave up a single and two walks that led to McKinney hitting a grand slam for a 4-0 lead.

Beal helped the Lions answer with a two-run double in the bottom of the first that brought Southern within 4-2.

NSU added another tally in the second before Kenny Hart hit a towering blast for the Lions (1-1) that cut the lead to 5-3 after two innings.

The Riverhawks then plated two in the third and Eusebio led off the seventh with a homer for the final 8-3 margin for NSU.

Tyler Patterson was the winning pitcher in game one for the Riverhawks by going six innings and giving up only one earned run.

The Lions will remain at home for a doubleheader with St. Cloud State at 1 p.m. tomorrow.

The Huskies brought their season record to 5-1 with a pair of weekend victories over Wisconsin-Parkside.

SCSU plays in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.