Missouri Western baseball found themselves in a groove this week for the first time in a long time, defeating Maryville University and conquering rivals Northwest Missouri State University, winning the series. 

On Tuesday against Maryville University, Missouri Western was guided by a Zack Cushing pitching clinic. Cushing pitched his first complete game in his career, striking out nine batters and not allowing a hit until the fifth inning with two outs. Brenden Andersen also had a fantastic game after hitting a three-run bomb in the fifth inning. Missouri Western won 6-2.

Cushing was vocal after the game about how much this win was desired and how much it meant to him. 

"Our pitching staff has given us a ton of chances this year, and a lot of weight was on my shoulders today," Cushing said. "It was more of a relaxed outing but not for me, not for the season we've been having."

After the morale-boosting win, the Griffons welcomed their arch-rivals, the Bearcats, in a three-game series. The Griffons took control early, jumping onto the bearcats in the second inning thanks to an Alex Crouch two-run shot and his 12th homer of the season putting them ahead 4-2. The game would proceed with both teams scoring and trading runs. At one point, the Bearcats would trim the lead to one after a three-run shot, but that wouldn't be enough as the Griffons managed to survive the rally, winning the game 7-6.

Game two, however, was a nightmare for the Griffons as they couldn't get their offense going or slow down the Bearcats at all, a recipe for disaster. The Bearcats would score 11 runs in the first five innings compared to the Griffon's one run. The Griffons managed to score three runs in the bottom of the sixth, but the adversity was too high to overpower as they fell to the Bearcats 14-4

However, Missouri Western didn't lose hope on Sunday's game thanks to a five fun bottom of the fifth inning and a three-run homer thanks to Chaz Verduzco. Missouri Western jumped on top 6-0 and kept that lead to the end, defeating Northwest 7-2  and winning the series.

Verduzco expressed after the game that this was a step in the right direction for the team.

"We don't take anyone lightly. We're preparing and taking every game as it is, like we're going to postseason." Verduzco said.

Head coach Buzz Verduzco also spoke highly on his team despite the heavy tolls of the season, crediting how his players keep their heads up.

"They're ready to practice and ready to play too. We're not down in the dumps." Verduzco said. "They showed a lot of character after last game, and they've been like that all year. I'm very proud."

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