Posted: Feb 15, 2013 6:44 PM
Updated: Feb 15, 2013 8:44 PM
HATTIESBURG, MS -- The Missouri Tigers baseball team opened its season Friday with a 5-2 loss to non-conference foe Southern Mississippi.
Mizzou sent junior left-hander Rob Zastryzny to the mound while the Golden Eagles countered with senior right-hander and preseason All-American Andrew Pierce.
USM struck first, but newcomer Keaton Steele tied the game for MU in the top of the third with an RBI single. USM retook the lead on a two-run single after Zastryzny walked back-to-back batters to start the sixth inning and then broke the game open in the seventh with two unearned runs to take a 5-1 lead.
Mizzou managed to get a run back through Kendall Keeton's ninth-inning RBI single, but the rally fell short.
Keaton went 3-3 with an RBI, a walk and a run scored and highly-touted freshman Alec Rash, a second round draft pick of the Philadelphia Phillies, pitched a perfect eighth in his college debut, striking out the first batter he faced.
Mizzou and USM play the second game of the three-game series Saturday at 2 p.m.