The Griffons opened up their home opener this weekend with the sweep over Northeastern State.
On Fri., Feb 21, Western and the RiverHawks opened the first game of the day’s double-header.
Missouri Western 6, Northeastern State 4
The game started with four hits by the Griffons, all of which scored a run. At the end of the second inning, it was 5-0 Western.
But the RiverHawks came right back in the next inning, scoring three unearned runs.
Trevor LaHonta was the story of the game, however. His solo home run in the fourth put the Griffons up 6-3 at the midpoint of the game. He also had an RBI, a single and a triple in the game.
Western would wrap up the first game with the 6-4 victory. Pitcher Tyler Sanders would pick up the win in his first career start.
Missouri Western 14, Northeastern State 6
Despite going into the bottom of the first down 1-0, the Griffons spared no one in the second game of the day.
Ryan Degner would hit two doubles in the first to help the Griffons pull ahead. Western scored 10 runs in the first inning, quickly making it a 10-1 lead.
After two, Northeastern was able to tack on two more runs, making it 10-3.
Three scoreless innings later, Degner would score David Chew off of a single to center.
Western would sweep the first double-header of the series, picking up the 14-6 victory in the second game. Pitcher Tyler Tuepker would pick up the win.
“We have to play a little bit better defense. Up to this point, we haven’t played as good of defense as we’re capable of. And I think we have to eliminate some walks,” head coach Buzz Verduzco said. “That could be a big factor in tight games.”
The following day, on Sat., Feb 22, the Griffons and RiverHawks came back to the field to open up the second double-header.
Missouri Western 6, Northeastern State 5 – 11 innings
In the closest game of the series, Northeastern held the advantage for most of the game.
The RiverHawks led 2-0 going into the fourth inning. But Western battled for a comeback. Cody Childs double to center, scoring Jake Schrader. Northeastern then walked in a run, tying the game at 2-2.
The game would progress like this. Northeastern would pull ahead and the Griffons would come right back to tie.
The game was sent into extra innings after a double by Will Carter in the bottom of the ninth tied it at 5-5.
Carter would then hit a solo homer in the top of the 11th, snatching the victory away from the RiverHawks.
The 6-5 victory gave pitcher Jake Jones the win.
Missouri Western 6, Northeastern State 2
The second game of the double-header, however, went much differently for the RiverHawks.
Western jumped out to an early 3-0 lead after the first inning.
They quickly made it 5-0 in the fifth after Chew hit a triple.
Northeastern never quite caught up. They scored a run in the sixth inning, which the Griffons quickly answered right away.
The RiverHawks tried for a late comeback, scoring a second run in the seventh inning. But it wouldn’t be enough.
Western locked up the sweep with a 6-2 victory. Pitcher Dylan Roades would pick up the win.
“I think [Northeastern was] a young ball club last year, they had a couple new players,” Verduzco said. “So, with those kids coming back, I think they’re going to be one of the tougher teams in the league.”
The series sweep puts the Griffons at 6-3 overall and 4-0 in MIAA play.
The Griffons will be heading to Marville, Mo. on Fri., Feb. 28 for the series opener against Northwest Missouri State. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.