Henke's Grand Slam Leads Lincoln to Win Over Missouri Southern
JEFFERSON CITY -- Kyle Henke hit a grand slam in the eighth inning, leading the Lincoln baseball team to a 10-9 come-from-behind victory over Missouri Southern in the second game of a Friday doubleheader. Henke's runs put Lincoln up by two, and Joe Jungmeyer fired back-to-back strikeouts in the top of the ninth to end any MSSU hope of a rally. The win allowed LU to split the twinbill, as Missouri Southern had earned an 8-1 victory in Friday's first contest.
Trailing Missouri Southern by a score of 8-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth, Craig Jones led LU off with a walk, and Jonathan Grishman cut the deficit to two with a homerun over the left field fence. Caleb Kemna then reached on a walk and advanced to second on a base hit from Martin Gulley, forcing a pitching change by the Lions.
Andrew St. Pierre then came in and attempted a sacrifice bunt. It did the trick, as both runners advanced, but the pitcher's throw to first ended up landing on the ground and hopping toward the baseman, allowing St. Pierre to safely get on base with no outs on the board. That brought up Henke, who's hit not only flew over the left field fence, but also onto the middle of the hill behind the third base line. Those runs made the score 10-8 and put Lincoln ahead for good.
The Blue Tigers initially took the lead in the fifth inning, scoring three runs on four hits, part of a performance at the plate that featured Lincoln outhitting Missouri Southern, 13-11. After going scoreless in the first four innings while giving up runs to the Lions in the first and fifth frames, Gulley put Lincoln on the scoreboard with a base hit that plated Grishman. The inning opened with singles by Grishman and Kemna, with Kemna's allowing Grishman to take third. Colby Shepherd then brought home Kemna with a base hit towards the shortstop while a ground out by Chris Pfau scored Gulley, putting LU ahead, 3-2.
After Missouri Southern tied the game in the top of the sixth on an RBI ground out, the Blue Tigers retook the lead in the bottom half of the frame. Logan Smith led the Blue Tigers off with a single and then stole second. A sacrifice bunt from Jones allowed Smith to take third, and a base hit by Grishman gave Lincoln back the lead. The Blue Tigers had an opportunity to add to that lead, as a Kemna single followed by a throwing error on a failed pickoff attempt put both runners in scoring position, but a ground out and strike out ended the threat.
The Lions retook the lead over the next two innings, scoring three runs in the seventh and two in the eight to take the 8-4 lead. Jungmeyer came into pitch during the eighth and, with two outs on the board and runners on second and third, he kept the Lions from adding to their lead by striking out the first batter he faced. Jungmeyer then pitched the final frame, opening with a popout. After the next batter hit a homerun to cut the Lincoln lead to one, Jungmeyer made sure the game ended with LU on top by striking out Missouri Southern's final two batters.
Jungmeyer earned his first victory of the season with the win, which made Lincoln 6-36 overall and 6-27 in the MIAA while dropping the Lions to 27-17 on the year and 18-16 in league play. John Bisges opened the game on the mound, striking out two in 7.1 innings, while Darren Lasley came in for one third of the eighth frame.
Henke finished the contest with two hits and a walk to go with his run scored and four RBI. Grishman also had a fantastic game, going 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBI to go with the two runs he scored. Kemna and Gulley each went 2-for-3 and scored twice while Gulley also tallied an RBI. Shepherd, Pfau, Smith and Jones accounted for the other hits for Lincoln. Grishman led Lincoln with 13 putouts while Kemna had six assists and Henke finished with three.
The first game of Friday's double header started well for Lincoln, as the Blue Tigers retired three of the first four batters they faced. In the bottom of the first, LU loaded the bases as St. Pierre reached on a throwing error, Pfau was hit by a pitch and Clint Cashen tallied a base hit. A double play ended the threat.
In the top of the second, the lead-off batter for MSSU grounded out, but the next doubled into left field and advanced to third on a passed ball. Starting pitcher Blake Jones struck out the next batter, but during the following at-bat lightning was spotted and rain ensued, causing an hour-and-25-minute delay. When play resumed, Missouri Southern took advantage of the rest, collecting three hits to drive in three runs, putting the Lions ahead for the remainder of the contest.
Lincoln avoided the shutout in the sixth inning, with Cashen leading the frame off with a homerun. The Blue Tigers were only outhit 8-6 in the contest, but LU finished with three errors while MSSU had just one.
Cashen tallied three hits in three at-bats to lead Lincoln while Kemna finished with two hits and Grishman had one. Grishman finished with a team-high 12 putouts while St. Pierre led Lincoln with five assists. Cody Huff had four assists while Kemna ended the game with three.
The Blue Tigers will host the Lions for two more contests on Saturday, with the first game scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. CDT. These will be the last two home games of the season for Lincoln, and in-between the contests a ceremony will be held to honor the four Blue Tiger seniors: Pfau, Henke, Taylor Klugman and Cody Plassmeyer.