Mizzou Falls at No. 6 Texas A&M
COLLEGE STATION, TX -- The Mizzou baseball team dropped a wild Friday night game, 8-6, to No. 6 Texas A&M at Blue Bell Ballpark in its first Big 12 road game of the season. The loss drops the Tigers to 15-10 on the season and 2-2 in the Big 12. Mizzou tagged TAMU starter Michael Wacha for 12 hits and five runs but could not overcome some shaky defense as the sixth-ranked Aggies came away with the win. The Tigers outhit Texas A&M, 16-9, in the loss but the difference proved to be a bases-loaded balk in the eight.
Mizzou reliever John Miles was tagged with the loss as he gave up two earned runs in 1.1 innings of work. Starter Rob Zastryzny worked 5.2 innings while allowing eight hits and six runs (five earned). He struck out six and walked two in his second Big 12 outing. He gave up a two-out, go-ahead double to Tyler Naquin in the sixth inning that ended his day. In all, six Tigers tallied multi-hit days, highlighted by a 3-4 performance from Dillon Everett, who has now hit safely in seven straight games.
Ben Turner also hit safely three times in the game as his 3-5 performance is his second three-hit game of the season. Brannon Champagne extended his hitting streak to nine straight games with his 2-5 performance as he has now reached base in 17 straight games, the longest such streak by a Tiger this season. Blake Brown also went 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI as he has now hit safely in 12 straight games, the longest such streak by a Tiger this season.
Mizzou threatened in the first inning as it got runners on the corners after a single by Champagne and a successful hit-and-run off the bat of Conner Mach. But TAMU starter Michael Wacha induced a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Scott Sommerfeld to get the Aggies out of the early jam.
Zastryzny retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the first inning, but he gave up a two-out single to the Big 12's leading hitter, Naquin, and then a blast over the right field fence to Tyler House, putting Texas A&M on top, 2-0. The Tiger lefty then allowed another single before striking out Brandon Wood to get out of the first inning. Zastryzny threw first-pitch strikes to each batter he faced in the first inning.
The Tigers threatened again in the second but could have gotten on the scoreboard. Before catcher Turner singled up the middle, leadoff hitter Eric Garcia was robbed of a base hit by left fielder Brandon Wood as Mizzou nearly had the first two runners aboard. But the Tigers were still able threaten as Turner advanced to second on a balk from Wacha, but back-to-back strikeouts left Turner stranded in scoring position.
The Tigers then committed three errors in the second inning, leading to an unearned run that put the Aggies on top 3-0. But Mizzou rallied with five straight singles to open the third inning, cutting into the lead at 3-2 after a pair of RBI singles by Mach and Sommerfeld. A sacrifice fly by Eric Garcia then tied the game at 3-3 before a double play off the bat of Turner ended the inning.
The Aggies regained the lead in the bottom of the third on three straight singles, plating the go-ahead run, giving TAMU a 4-3 lead. But the Tigers got out of the jam on a pair of base-running mistakes by the Aggies, sending the game to the fourth with the Aggies ahead by a run at 4-3. But the Tigers once again rallied in the fourth with two more runs to take a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
Dane Opel led off the frame with a double to left center and then an error by the third baseman allowed Opel to move to third, giving Mizzou runners on the corners with no outs. An RBI single by Everett plated the tying run and then an RBI groundout from Champagne put Mizzou on top, 5-4.
The score stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth inning. Zastryzny retired the first two batters but then allowed a single and a walk that put runners on the corners with two outs. Naquin then came up and ripped an opposite field double to left field, putting A&M on top, 6-5. That ended Zastryzny's day in favor of Miles.
The Tigers rallied after some good pitching from Miles as Opel led off the eighth with a single to right center and was then sacrificed to second by Gavin Stark. Everett then singled to move Opel to third and Brown then laced a single back up the middle to tie the game at 6-6 as he tallied his second hit of the game.
After Texas A&M induced a couple of fielder's choices to get out of the eighth, Miles then hit a batter and then threw a sacrifice bunt into right field for an error, putting Aggies on second and third with no outs. Jake Walsh then came on in relief of Miles and got a pop-up for the first out of the inning. He then intentionally walked Naquin to load the bases and then balked to plate the go-ahead run, putting A&M on top, 7-6. He struck out Jacob House and then walked in another run to give A&M an 8-6 lead.
Mizzou attempted to rally in the ninth, but a big double play off the bat of Garcia and a strikeout swinging by pinch hitter Case Munson ended the game.
The Tigers and Aggies will play game two of the series Saturday at 2:05 p.m. Blake Holovach will start against Texas A&M's Ross Stripling.