April 11, 2013 - In a battle of the two hottest teams in the MIAA, Emporia State swept Missouri Southern to move into third place in the league standings. The Hornets won game one 5-4 and took the second game 7-4 at the Trusler Sports Complex.
After getting out of a two on with one out jam in the top of the first inning of game one, the Hornets responded with three runs on four hits and an error in their half of the inning. Jordan Slade led off with a single and went to second on a passed ball. Blake Sturgeon doubled him home and went to third on Aaron Rea's single. Luke Slagle scored Sturgeon when he reached on a throwing error by Tee Helsel. David Richards RBI single scored Slagle and gave the Hornets an early 3-0 lead.
Will Wagner led of the top of the second with a double and scored on Shaun Hoover's single to get Mo. Southern on the board. An inning later Wagner gave the Lions a 4-3 lead with a three run home run to right field.
The Hornets would tie the score in the fifth. Sturgeon worked a one out walk and went first to third on Rea's single up the middle. He then scored when Eric Dawson reached on a fielder's choice to beat out a double play.
Neither team would score in the sixth or seventh as the game went into extra innings. Keith Picht, who came on in relief in the seventh, struck out the side in the top of the eighth to set the stage for the Hornets. Richards led off with a single and went to second when Tyler Spencer was hit by a pitch. Andrew Blackwell sacrificed them both over to bring Todd Reller to the plate with one out. Reller was on as a defensive replacement after starter Todd Schultz was run for in the seventh. Reller delivered a looper that dropped in front of the right fielder and allowed Richards to score.
Picht retired all five batters he faced to pick up the win. Rea was three for three with an intentional walk and a run scored while Richards went two for four with a run and an RBI.
The Hornets had to play from behind in game two as well when Southern took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Emporia State quickly scored in the bottom of the inning when Sturgeon doubled with one out and Dawson doubled him in with two outs.
Daniel Lorenzen led off the second with a single and went to second when Blackwell reached on a throwing error by Helsel. Slade singled up the middle to give the Hornets the lead and Sturgeon reached on a fielding error by Helsel that allowed Blackwell to score for a 3-1 lead.
The Lions tied the game in the third with two runs on two hits with a walk and a sac fly. With two outs in the bottom of the fourth Sturgeon hit his second double of the day and came home on a single by Rea to give the Hornets a 4-3 lead.
The Hornets added an insurance run in the fifth without a hit. Zack Carlson got a one out walk and pinch runner Dalton Piecukonis went to second when Richards was hit by a pitch. Reller hit a ground ball to short and was able to beat out the throw to avoid the double play and Piecukonis scored from second for a 5-3 lead.
Emporia State added two more in the sixth. Blackwell scored as Slade reached on a single and throwing error by pitcher Bo Bergen. Slade would score the final fun on a squeeze bunt by Dawson.
Kevin Shaffer, the reigning MIAA Pitcher of the Week, went 5.0 innings and gave up three runs on five hits to improve to 3-0 on the season. Andrew Polly worked the final 2.0 and faced the minimum to pick up his first save of the season. Dawson was two for four with two RBI and a double. Sturgeon went two for three with two runs and two doubles.
The Hornets improved to 22-14 on the season and 21-11 in the MIAA. They have the second most wins in conference action so far this season. Emporia State will host Northwest Missouri this weekend in a three game series. First pitch for Saturday's double header at Trusler is set for 1 p.m.