Tahlequah Daily Press

March 21, 2013

Back on track

Northeastern State halts 4-game losing streak with 7-3 victory over Missouri Southern.

Sports Editor

— Cody Robinson supplied the power, and the rest of his teammates provided the leg work.

Robinson hit his Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association-leading 11th home run of the season and the rest of his Northeastern State teammates all recorded at least one hit each as the RiverHawks coasted to a 7-3 victory over Missouri Southern at Rousey Field on Wednesday afternoon.

“We do a good job offensively most games,” Northeastern State coach Travis Janssen said. “I’m sitting here looking at the box score and everyone had a hit, and that’s always nice to see.”

In all, the RiverHawks tallied 12 hits while improving to 12-11 overall and 12-11 in MIAA games.

Missouri Southern posted a 5-4 victory in eight innings in the opening game of the doubleheader.

In the second game of the twinbill, Robinson’s solo home run to left field in the second inning got NSU’s offensive barrage kick-started. From there, after Missouri Southern tied the game at 1 on Sam Ryan’s RBI single in the top half of the third inning, the RiverHawks used a deluge of singles — and a pair of doubles — to put the Lions (11-11, 7-9) away.

Enhancing NSU’s offensive explosion was its ability to score runs with two outs. Not counting Robinson’s home run and Preston Cash’s run-scoring bunt single in the fifth inning, all of NSU’s runs were posted during two-out rallies.

“We try to make an emphasis of just because there are two outs and nobody on base, the inning isn’t over,” said Janssen, whose team reclaimed the lead in the home half of the third inning on Chad Davidson’s RBI single, which was followed up by RBI singles by Kegan Knight and Trent Wilkins.

“We just have to continue to pressure, and we did that today in the second game, and we were fortunately to come away with a win.”

The RiverHawks piled on in the fourth inning on Davidson’s two-run double off the right-field wall. Davidson, a senior second baseman from Noble, finished the game 2 for 3 with three runs batted in.

“We kind of got on a roll,” Davidson said. “We kept it going and got a good lead.”

Once NSU possessed a 6-1 lead, it was well-preserved by pitchers, Trevor Walch, Kyle Shambaugh and T.J. Foster.

Walch — after tossing 4 2/3 innings of work on Saturday at Missouri Western — kept the Lions at bay during five innings of work. The senior hurler from Eufaula scattered seven hits and allowed three runs (all earned) while striking out three and walking one.

“I think Trevor Walch was the key to the game,” Janssen said of Walch, who improved to 1-1. “He’s been telling me over the last week and a half how great his arm feels, and I think he’s been working extra hard in between starts. He’s conditioning himself the way he should be. And for him to give us that many innings, that was an unexpected bonus. He was ready for it and did a really good job.”

Shambaugh and Foster combined to pitch two scoreless innings to salvage a split in the mid-week doubleheader.

David Reese, who picked up a save in the first game, took the loss for the Lions. Reese (2-3) was battered around for six runs (all earned) on nine hits.

With the win, NSU snapped a four-game losing skid ahead of a two-game series on Saturday with Southeastern Oklahoma State.

“Any time you get on a streak going in the wrong direction, you want to get it turned around quickly,” Janseen said. “It definitely felt good to win.”

Mo. Southern 5, NSU 4 (8 innings)

Northeastern State rallied back from a four-run deficit only to fall in extra innings in the first game of the doubleheader.

Missouri Southern’s Michael McCoy hit a sacrifice fly to score Keith Freeman as the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth inning. NSU was retired in order in the bottom of the eighth, leading to the RiverHawks’ fourth straight loss.

Frank Sprick took the loss when Walch allowed McCoy’s sacrifice fly.

Picking up the win for Missouri Southern was Payton Walker, who tossed 2 2/3 scoreless innings.

On offense, Ryan Staggs recorded two runs batted in for the RiverHawks on his two-run, game-tying triple in the fifth inning.