The top-ranked Central Missouri St. baseball team won their opening round game of the NCAA Division-II Regional on Thursday with an 8-0 win over Emporia St. The Mules, which are hosting the regional for the eighth straight year, needed a great pitching performance from starter Danny Powers to give them the win. Despite the lopsided nature of the score, Central and Emporia played tight until CMSU broke open a 2-0 game with a six-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Powers, who hails from Carl Junction, Missouri, tossed a five-hit, complete-game shut out to put the Mules in the winners’ bracket. He struck out 13 batters along the way and walked just one. Powers tied two MIAA Conference records with his performance Thursday night. He earned a share of the MIAA Conference single-season mark of 14 wins and four shut outs.
To say Central Missouri St. had Emporia St.’s number this year is an understatement. CMSU beat ESU each of the seven times they met. Central will face Wayne St. (Neb.) today in the winners’ bracket. The Wildcats advanced with a 3-0 win over in-state rival Nebraska-Omaha. The championship game is Saturday afternoon. The winner of the regional will move on to the Division-II College World Series in Montgomery, Alabama.