Posted: May 22, 2013 9:47 AM
HOOVER, AL - Junior starter Rob Zastryzny gave Mizzou a great effort on Tuesday night as Mizzou's season came to an end with a 2-1, 17-inning loss to fifth-seeded Mississippi State at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. Zastryzny put together a masterful start, going 9.0 innings, allowing just seven hits and one earned run while striking out seven against just two walks. He threw 124 pitches. Keaton Steele also had a very good game on Tuesday - and into part of Wednesday - as he went 7.0 innings, allowing no earned runs while scattering eight hits and striking out five.
The loss ends Mizzou's season as it drops to 18-32 on the year, its inaugural season in the Southeastern Conference. The game played on Tuesday tied the longest in SEC history and was the longest game in Mizzou history. The game lasted four hours and 39 minutes, and despite going 17 innings, Mizzou used just three pitchers. Junior lefty Jake Walsh earned the loss while the win went to Will Cox, who went 3.0 innings, allowing just one hit and striking out two.
The story of the night was the Tiger pitching staff. Zastryzny and Steele put together a great effort for the Tigers, who just couldn't scratch across any runs. Zastryzny now has a career ERA of 2.84 in six career postseason appearances with 25 strikeouts in 38 innings. On full rest in the postseason, Zastryzny has a 1.49 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched (four games). He moved into eighth place all-time at Mizzou in career strikeouts with 228 in his career. Steele was also magnificent, playing 9.2 innings at first and pitching another seven. Even with the loss, Mizzou is still 9-4 in the last four seasons in conference tournament action.
At the plate, Mizzou tallied just 11 hits in the 17 innings. Dillon Everett, Shane Segovia and Brannon Champagne each has two hits while Champagne used great base running to score the Tigers' only run in the game, coming in the third inning.
Mizzou got a leadoff hit from junior shortstop Everett and he was then bunted to second by John Lester, but he was stranded there after a flyout from Dane Opel and a strikeout by Steele. Zastryzny then took to the hill and struck out two batters in the first, working around a two-out walk to Hunter Renfroe. The two strikeouts for Zastryzny in the first pushed his career total to 223, tying him for 10th on the all-time career strikeout list at Mizzou.
The Tigers then went quietly in the second, but Zastryzny continued to deal in his half of the second, retiring the side on 11 pitches. In the third, Jake Ivory grounded out to short to open the frame, but Champagne singled on a hard-hit ball back up the middle. Champagne then used heads-up base running to score. He moved to second on a wild pitch and then scored after he took third on a wild pitch before coming home on an error by catcher Nick Ammirati, who tried to gun Champagne at third.
Zastryzny then got himself into a big jam in the bottom of the third. He walked Ammirati to open the frame and then gave up a one-out single to Adam Frazier, who advanced to second on a throw home, putting runners on second and third. Zastryzny then plunked Alex Detz to load the bases for one of the SEC's best hitters, Hunter Renfroe. But Zastryzny struck him out on a fastball on the inside half of the plate and got cleanup hitter Brett Pirtle to line out softly to short.
Mizzou attempted to put together a rally in the top of the fourth after a two-out walk by Logan Pearson and a single to right by Shane Segovia to put runners on the corners. But Ivory lined out softly to third to end the threat. After scoreless fourth, Mississippi State finally got to Zastryzny in the fifth. Back-to-back singles put two men on, but Zastryzny got Detz to pop out, setting up another big battle with Renfroe and this time, Renfore won, lacing a single past Everett at short to bring a run in to tie the game at 1-1 after five.
The Tigers then wasted a great opportunity in the top of the sixth as Steele drew a walk before a Dylan Kelly double down the left field line, but Steele was gunned a third base for the second out. Pearson then struck out looking, stranding Kelly at second. MSU's Wes Rea then led off the bottom half with a double off the wall in left center and MSU then bunted him to third base as Demarcus Henderson stepped into the box. Zastryzny got him to ground out back to the mound, leaving Rea at third and then Ammirati flew out to right to strand Rea 90 feet from home.
Segovia then doubled to lead off the seventh inning, but Ivory could not bunt him to third and struck out. Champagne the grounded out to second to advance Segovia, but Everett bounced out to short to strand the Tiger third baseman 90 feet from the dish. Things stayed scoreless and Zastryzny went back out for the ninth and got the first two batters quickly. He then allowed a pair of two-out singles, but picked a ball off the bat of Frazier between his legs to retire the side, sending the game to extras. That ended Zastryzny's day at 124 pitches, as he allowed just one earned run on seven hits while walking two and striking out seven.
That gave way to Steele on the mound, who pitched out of a two-on jam in the 10th. Opel then singled to lead off the 11th inning, but MSU closer Jonathan Holder got the next three batters in order to send the game to the bottom of the 11th. Steele allowed a one-out hit to Ammirati, but got a pair of groundouts to the right side to get out of the inning.
Mizzou flirted with danger in the 12th and 13th innings, but got out of it both times on great defensive plays, specifically in the 13th as Pearson ran down what would have been a game-winning hit in the right center field gap with an over-the-shoulder, basket catch. The Tigers also got out of the 12th on a 9-3-2-5 putout, giving Opel his nation-leading 15th outfield assist.
The game stayed knotted at 1-1 until the bottom of the 17th inning when Walsh walked the leadoff batter before allowing the game-winning, two-out, RBI single by Mitch Slauter to end the game.