Bats Lead Mizzou to 14-7 Win Over Central Michigan
COLUMBIA - The Mizzou offense plated five runs in the first inning and led the Tiger baseball team to 14-7 win over Central Michigan on Saturday at Taylor Stadium.
Center fielder Brannon Champagne was one of three Tigers to tally multiple hits on the afternoon as he led the charge, going 3-6 with a pair of RBI and a run scored. Junior starter Matt Stites got the win for the Tigers after throwing 7.0 innings while allowing just two earned runs. He scattered just five hits and struck out a career-best eight batters. The win is the Tigers' fifth straight.
In all, the Mizzou offense was the story of the game as it pounded out 15 hits and scored a season-best 14 runs. Nine different players drove in runs in the contest and 10 different players scored runs in the rout. Freshman outfielder Sal Belfonte led the Tigers with three RBI as he launched a bases-loaded double off the right centerfield wall to clear the bags in the eighth inning. Shortstop Jesse Santo also had a multi-RBI performance as he drove in a pair of runs on one hit while scoring two more. 12 of the 14 players to bat for the Tigers in the game posted hits in the contest.
The Tigers jumped all over CMU starter Bryce Morrow in the first inning, tagging him for five runs. Designated hitter Ryan Ampleman was hit by a pitch to start the game and then back-to-back bunt singles from Champagne and Conner Mach loaded the bases. Eric Garcia then grounded into a fielder's choice to score the first run of the game. Back-to-back singles by Jonah Schmidt and Dane Opel plated two more runs for the Tigers and Santo capped of the inning with a two-run single.
From that point, Stites cruised allowing just two runs over seven innings of work. He was sharp all day as he needed just 105 pitches to get through the seven innings and he struck out a career-best eight batters. His one walk was also a season-low as he commanded the strike zone all day.
Mizzou then scored four runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to put the Chippewas out of reach before CMU added four runs in the top of the ninth. After a lead-off double by Schmidt in the seventh, Ryan Gebhart notched a two-out single to left to score Schmidt and keep the inning alive. Ampleman then doubled to score Santo and Champagne capped the inning with a two-run single.
The eighth inning saw Belfonte tally his first career hit and it was a bases-clearing double that put the game out of reach for CMU and was part of another four-run inning. Central Michigan attempted to rally in the ninth, plating four runs, but it was not enough to overcome the Tigers' 14-run outburst.
The second game of Saturday's doubleheader was postponed due to rain in the area and the teams will now play a doubleheader on Sunday starting at 10 a.m.