Missouri Western sweeps doubleheader from Lincoln

It was a matchup of David vs. Goliath. Only this time, Goliath won.

The big-hitting lineup of the Missouri Western baseball team rolled into Lincoln Field on Easter Sunday and the Griffons spent most of the day hunting extra-base hits, not Easter eggs.

Missouri Western racked up 18 extra-base hits — 12 doubles and six home runs — compared to just three for the Lincoln Blue Tigers — two doubles and one homer. The power show was enough to help the Griffons sweep a doubleheader, taking wins by scores of 11-1 and 16-9.

“We hit the ball pretty well today, but as you can tell, we’re a singles team and we need a bunch of hits to get a bunch of runs,” Lincoln coach Jim Dapkus said. “They were able to get runs in easy ways.”

The first game was never close, as the Griffons score in every inning of the regularly scheduled seven-inning contest. Missouri Western got two runs in the first, three in the second, two in the fourth and one each in innings 4-7.

“We couldn’t stop them, we just couldn’t stop them,” Dapkus said.

The Blue Tigers, meanwhile, had trouble getting anything going against Missouri Western starter Banks Born. After four innings, Clint Cashen was 2-for-2 for Lincoln and the rest of the Blue Tigers were 0-for-12.

Caleb Kemna finally ended that streak with a fifth-inning single, but Born left after that frame as the winner thanks to a 9-0 cushion.

But that was one of the few good things to happen for Lincoln in that game, as the Blue Tigers had a little better success against two relievers, which jump-started the offense the rest of the day.

The Blue Tigers got their lone run in the sixth when Andrew St. Pierre led off with a single, Colby Shepherd got hit by a pitch, Ben Stewart singled and Cashen followed with a sacrifice fly.

Lincoln’s starter Scott Jones took the loss after working six innings. He gave up 10 runs (nine earned) on 15 hits while striking out one and walking one. Joshua Register worked the seventh and gave up one earned run on two hits.

In the nightcap, Lincoln actually held a 7-3 lead, but an eight-run fifth inning propelled Missouri Western to the victory.

After the Griffons got two in the top of the first, Lincoln answered with three in the bottom of the inning. An RBI double by Brad Wright and an RBI single by Josh Kennedy were the big hits for the Blue Tigers, while the other run scored on an error.

Missouri Western then tied it at 3 in the top of the second, but Lincoln made it 5-3 in the bottom half of that frame on a two-run homer by Shepherd. Then in the fourth, RBI singles by Wright and Kennedy put Lincoln ahead 7-3.

“We could stop them a couple of times, but we compared it to a boxing match — they just kept coming after us and kept coming after us and we couldn’t answer all the time,”

The Griffons’ eight-run fifth made it 11-7, and the Blue Tigers cut it to a two-run lead by scoring twice in the seventh. Kemna had a sacrifice fly for the first run and St. Pierre plated the other with a single.

But Missouri Western responded with one in the eighth and four in the ninth to round out the scoring.

Things got out of control in both the fifth and the ninth thanks in part to a rescheduled doubleheader with Lindenwood looming today.

“It stinks because we’ve got the two makeup games with Lindenwood and we were trying to save some guys,” Dapkus said. “We’re not designed to play five, six games in a three- or four-day period, and that’s what we’re stuck with. So we just had to deal with it, but we didn’t use some guys that it would have been nice to use.”

Shepherd and Wright racked up three hits and two RBI apiece in the second game, while Kennedy had two hits and two RBI. Jonathan Grishman and James Earlywine chipped in with three hits each.

Jacob Busch took the loss in relief, giving up five earned runs on two hits, two walks and a hit batter in 2/3 of an inning. That was after starter Joe Jungmeyer gave up six earned runs on nine hits with one strikeout in four innings.

Darren Lasley followed and gave up five runs (four earned) on seven hits. He walked two and struck out one in 3 2/3 innings. Cody Huff got the final two outs on a fly out and strikeout after giving up one hit.

For the series — the teams played a single game Friday before getting rained out Saturday — the Griffons hit an incredible .420 (53-for-126).

“That’s the best up and down lineup I’ve seen,” Dapkus said. “They really don’t have a weakness in that order. They’ve got things going and they’re playing good baseball.”

Missouri Western, which is ranked 20th in Division in one poll and 22nd in another, improved to 24-4 overall and 19-1 in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association.

The Blue Tigers, who will host Lindenwood at 1 p.m. today, are now just 2-19 and 2-16 in league play.

“I told the guys, the only way we’re going to get out of this is by playing,” Dapkus said. “With the short part of the season left, we’ve just got to play some more games. Hopefully (today), if the weather agrees, we’re able to continue this hitting and see what happens.

“But it’s frustrating, there’s no doubt about it.”

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