WARRENBURG, Mo. -- Missouri Western pounded out 14 hits in its conference opener, defeating No. 2 Central Missouri 8-3 on Saturday. Western had three home runs and four doubles improving to 5-3 overall and 1-0 in MIAA play.

Western got on the board early, getting three of its 14 hits in the first inning. Michael Schulze led off the game with a single and Shawn Egge reached on a bunt single. Nate Ramler singled to the left side to score Schulze from third to give Western the 1-0 lead.

Western left-hander Ethan Ward came out focused, holding the powerful Mules without a hit for the first three innings. Western exploded in the fourth and fifth innings, scoring a combined six runs. In the top of the fourth, Western hit three home runs with Bubba Dotson and Grant Fink leading off with back-to-back homers. Two batters later, Spencer Shockley hit his second inside-the-park homer in as many games, putting Western up 4-0 after four.

In the fifth Western tacked on three more as Dotson doubled to center and later scored on a Kyle Simpson single. Simpson would score on a Tony Loeffler single, while Shockley would score after an error, giving Western the 7-0 lead after five.

The Mules got the bats going in the fifth, getting three hits off Ward but only scored one run. Western scored one more in the sixth when Egge doubled leading off the inning and later scored on a Ramler sacrafice fly.

The Mules scored one in the sixth and one in the seventh but would fall for the first time this season. They are 4-1 overall and 0-1 in MIAA play.

Schulze, Egge, Dotson, Fink, Simpson and Shockley had two hits. Ramler had two RBI while Dotson and Shockley each scored twice. Ward went eight innings giving up eight hits and two earned runs while striking out four. Jake Jones pitched one inning in releif giving up two hits while striking out one.

Jones has not given up a run this season in 5 2/3 innings of work.

The Mules had 10 hits with Jon Cotter going 3-for-5 with one RBI. Ethan Gibbons got the loss, going 3 1/3 innings and giving up seven hits and four earned runs while striking out won. He falls to 0-1.