No. 4 Central Missouri baseball went 2-1 in the Houston Winter Invitational at Minute Maid Park, losing its season-opener before rattling off a pair of wins.

Flagler 4, Mules 2

Flager knocked off Central Missouri in the Mules season opener with a two-run home run in the top of the ninth to claim a 4-2 win on Friday, Jan. 31.

The scoring started for the Mules in the first. With the bases loaded and two outs, Erik Webb broke for home once a pitch got away from the catcher for a 1-0 Mules lead.

Mason Green made that run stand up until the fifth when a leadoff error eventually came back to bite the Mules as the Saints tied the game on an unearned run.

The Mules had chances for more in the second after Cole Taylor led off with a triple and in the seventh when they loaded the bases, but couldn’t find a way to bring a run across.

Flagler took the lead in the sixth. UCM was fortunate only one run scored in the inning after the Saints loaded the bases with nobody out. The Mules cut down two runners at the plate, but a run-scoring single put Flager ahead 2-1.

UCM was finally able to cash in in the eighth. John Prudhom pinch hit and led off the inning with a single. He moved to third and with one out, scored on a comebacker to the pitcher off the bat of Dusty Stroup. Prudhom was able to get under the tag to tie the game at two.

Stroup made it all the way to third on a wild pitch with one out. But a line out and a pop up stranded him there.

Tied at two in the ninth, Flagler led off with the single. Two batters later and the runner was still at first with two outs when on an 0-2 pitch John Fiorenza hit one over the fence in left off Chase Plymell for a two-run home run and a 4-2 Saints lead.

Brennan van Breusegen pinch hit to lead off the bottom half of ninth for the Mules and reached with a single, but he was doubled off first base for the final out after Josh Schumacher’s sinking line drive was caught in left field.

Mason Green started and threw the first five innings. He allowed one unearned run on one hit while striking out eight.

Conor Dryer was the first out of the bullpen and allowed a run in 2.2 innings with three strikeouts.

Mules 10, Millersville 0

Mules brought both the offense and the pitching to pick up their first win of the year in shutout fashion on Saturday, Feb. 1.

UCM scored 10 runs on 11 hits with five hits going for extra bases.

Making his first UCM start, Jordan Fowler set the Marauders down in order in the first. He allowed a hit in the third and that was it for the Ole Miss transfer.

UCM got on the board in the second as Cole Taylor’s ground ball scored Harrison Schnurbusch who doubled to lead off the inning.

The Mules made it 2-0 and again it was Taylor’s RBI. Dusty Stroup kept the fourth inning going with a two-out double. Taylor then reached on an infield single up the middle, but Stroup never stopped running and scored from second on the hit.

RBI hits from Erik Webb and Alex Madera made it a 4-0 game after five innings.

UCM’s offense had a field day against the Millersville bullpen. They scored four more runs in the seventh inning and two in the eighth. Josh Schumacher started it off scoring after stealing third and coming home after a wild throw sailed into left field. One batter later, Madera scored Webb with a sacrifice fly and it was 6-0 Mules.

Harrison Schnurbusch kept the scoring going with an RBI double just over the third base bag. He then scored himself on a double steal for an 8-0 lead after seven.

The Mules ended things early scoring two more in the eighth. Madera ripped an RBI double to left and a bases loaded error scored the game’s final run.

Fowler got the win in his first start pitching five scoreless innings allowing just one hit while striking out eight.

Collin Jones pitched the final three innings to get the save. He allowed one run while striking out one.

Mules 5, Colorado School of Mines 5, 10 inn.

UCM came down to their final out before Erik Webb tied things with a long home run to left. One inning later, Josh Winkler ended it with a sacrifice fly for a 5-4 walk-off win on Sunday, Feb. 2.

UCM got the scoring started in the first when Harrison Schnurbusch tripled to right center to score Erik Webb.

Colorado Mines tied things in the first on a two-out RBI single to right. Erik Webb’s throw home was on time, but high as the runner slid under the tag with the tying run.

One inning later, the Orediggers tacked on a pair with a another two-out hit. This time an RBI single when Brennan vanBreusegen’s diving attempt came up just short.

VanBreusegen made up for it an inning later drawing a leadoff walk. He came around to score on Josh Schumacher’s two-out RBI single to make it a 3-2 game.

The Orediggers threatened in the sixth loading the bases with one out. But back-to-back strikeouts looking from Tyler Kuhlman and Chase Plymell stranded three.

Colorado Mines got an insurance run in the seventh with another two-out RBI, putting UCM behind 4-2.

Michael Sinks led off the bottom of the ninth with a single to left. Two batters later, Webb launched one deep to left to tie the game at four-all and send it into extra innings.

Evan Rathburn stranded a pair in the 10th to give the Mules a chance. UCM loaded the bases without the ball leaving the infield. Schnurbusch led off with a walk, followed by a Dusty Stroup infield single and an error on Cole Taylor’s sacrifice bunt attempt put three runners on. Two batters later, Josh Winkler ended it with a sacrifice fly to right as Schnurbusch came in with the game-winning run.

Jonathan Sprinkle started for the Mules and tossed two innings before being relieved in his first career start. He struck out four but threw 49 pitches while allowing a hit and a run.

Tyler Kuhlman threw three scoreless innings in relief with four strikeouts.

Erik Webb supplied the big two-run home run. He finished 2-5 with two runs and two RBI. The home run was Webb’s 39th of his career. He is five behind the UCM record of 44.

The Mules will come home to Warrensburg for a four-game set with Arkansas Tech next weekend. Game 1 is slated for Friday, Feb. 7 at 4 p.m.

Sports Editor Randy Speer can be reached by emailing randy.speer@dsjnow.com, by calling (660) 747-8123 or on Twitter at @RandySpeer_DSJ.

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