The Central Missouri Mules had their backs against the wall in the MIAA tournament this weekend and needed to pull off a double-header sweep of second seeded Emporia State. The Mules came through.
The top-seeded Central Missouri Mules became the first MIAA team to win both the regular season and conference titles with 22-12 and 8-4 wins over Emporia State in the championship round on Sunday.
Center fielder Steffon Williams went 3-of-4 with six RBI as the Mules scored in every inning and put up a season-high 22 runs on 20 hits. In the second game, ESU starter Austin Anderson went 5.1 innings and gave up just five hits and one run.
The Mules offense stayed patient though, forcing him out of the game in the fifth with the Hornets leading 2-1. ESU tallied two runs in the top of the sixth to extend its lead to 4-1 off southpaw reliever Austin Church, with one run due to an error by the Mules. Church was clutch though, tossing six innings and giving up only four hits in the appearance, four more innings than he had thrown in any outing this year.
He held the Hornets long enough for the Mules to get back in it. Williams scored on an RBI single from Tyler Ruch to make it 4-2, but the eighth inning proved to be the killer. The Mules scored six runs to take an 8-4 lead, with the tying tally coming on another RBI from Williams through the right side with two on base. The game-winning RBI came on a single from catcher Albert Selanders to center.
The win gave UCM an automatic bid to the NCAA South Central Regional. They will play Nebraska-Omaha, another MIAA conference rival in the opening game. It will be the third weekend in a row that the Mules will face the Mavericks.