Mach's Walk-Off Secures Series Win
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Tiger junior Conner Mach tallied a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth inning to help Mizzou top Texas Tech, 4-3, on Sunday afternoon at Taylor Stadium. The win secures the Tigers fourth-straight Big 12 series win and moves the team to sixth in the Big 12 standings. In all, Mizzou has won eight of its last 12 conference games and has climbed from 10th in the league to just a half game back of fifth in that time. The Tigers are now 23-28 and 10-13 in Big 12 play.
Hitting was a struggle throughout much of the game for the Tigers as they failed to give Tiger starter Rob Zastryzny much help through the first six innings, tallying just one hit. In that span, Zastryzny allowed just four hits - two of which were solo home runs - and three earned runs while striking out five. But he left in the seventh inning with Mizzou trailing 3-0.
But that is when the Tiger bats picked things up as they finally got to the Tech pitching staff. Brennan Stewart got Tiger shortstop Jesse Santo to bounce out to second to open the seventh inning, but he then issued a pair of walks to Ben Turner and Dillon Everett. Stewart was then lifted from the game in favor of Aaron Corwin, who struck out Andrew Thigpen, brining Mach to the plate with two on and two out. Mach drew a walk to load the bases and two-hole hitter Brannon Champagne followed suit, drawing a bases-loaded walk to put the Tigers on the board and cut into the lead at 3-1.
Then, Tiger first baseman Eric Garcia tallied a huge two-out hit, lacing a single back up the middle to tie the game at 3-3 heading into the eighth. Tiger closer Phil McCormick then pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth innings, setting the stage for the heroics in the ninth. Senior catcher Ryan Ampleman pinch hit to open the inning and was hit by a pitch. He was then bunted to second by Thigpen, bringing up Mach with a chance to drive in the game-winning run. On a 1-2 pitch, Mach drove a ball back up the middle into right center and Ampleman trotted home to complete the win.
The walk-off win is the Tigers' fourth of the season and first since doing so on the Friday night game against Texas A&M two weeks ago. All four of the Tigers' walk-off wins have come in league play against Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas A&M and now Texas Tech. Mach led the Tigers at the plate on Sunday, going 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Garcia also went 1-3 with two RBI, but they were the only Tigers with hits in the game as the Tigers tallied just three in the contest. Walks came back to haunt Texas Tech as they issued seven bases on balls and hit three Tiger batters. Also, all four runs that the Tigers scored came from hitters that reached base with a walk or a hit-by-pitch.
McCormick earned his team-leading sixth victory in the game after throwing three scoreless innings, allowing four hits and striking out two. Tech's Jerad McCrummen was tagged with the loss after throwing 1.1 innings and allowing Mach's game-winning single in the ninth.
The game on Sunday was the Tigers' final regular season home game of 2011 as they will close the regular season at Nebraska next weekend, beginning on Thursday (May 19) at 6:35 p.m. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.