Mizzou Rallies Past Arkansas Little Rock
COLUMBIA -- Timely hitting was the theme of the day for the Tigers as a two-out rally in the seventh inning scored three runs and put Mizzou (17-14) ahead for good. The Tigers fell behind 4-2 early on, and scratched their way back throughout the contest en route to the 10-5 victory. Right fielder Blake Brown increased his hitting streak to 18 games and center fielder Brannon Champagne kept his on-base streak going at straight 23 games. Michael McGraw also came through at the plate with three RBI on the day as did short stop Eric Garcia.
Ryan Yuengel started the game off with a scoreless first inning, the only baserunner of the frame coming from a passed ball on a strikeout. Brown was hit in the helmet to lead off the bottom of the inning, then stole second two pitches later. Champagne was then hit by a pitch to put two on with no outs. Conner Mach's single then loaded the bases, and Dane Opel singled to center to score a run for a 1-0 lead. Eric Garcia's one-out walk scored Mizzou's second run of the game, and the Tigers took a 2-0 lead to the second. Yuengel struck out the first two batters of the second and induced a groundout to third from the final batter. Nick Moore doubled with one out, his first career double in his first career start. Brown followed Moore's double with a single to put runners on the corners with one out, but the Tigers couldn't capitalize on the opportunity.
The Trojans registered their first hit of the game to lead off the third, but the runner was caught stealing on the next pitch with a strike from Ben Turner to Moore at second. After two singles, Arkansas Little Rock had runners on the corners with two outs, and a walk loaded the bases before a two-run single to left tied the game. A balk moved both runners up a base, then a single to right scored both runners to give the Trojans a 4-2 lead before a strikeout ended the inning. Opel led off the bottom of the inning with a single, then Turner wore a breaking ball that rode inside. Mizzou was unable to score in the inning. John Miles took the mound to start the fourth, and the leadoff batter got a single, but Miles picked him off at first after two pitches. Brown singled with two outs in the bottom of the inning, but was caught stealing to end the frame. Arkansas Little Rock led off again with a single, but a lineout to Garcia turned into a double play as the shortstop rifled a throw across the diamond, and the inning ended scoreless. Mach singled to right with one out, and a throwing error by the first baseman on a double play ball put runners on the corners with one out. A fielder's choice scored Mach from third, cutting the Trojan lead to 4-3. Garcia then singled up the middle to bring Opel in from second, knotting the game a four.
A leadoff walk put a runner on first for UALR, and a fielder's choice allowed the runner to advance to second with an out. Another fielder's choice put a runner on first as well as a runner on second, as no out was recorded. The Trojans were able to load the bases with two outs, but Jake Walsh recorded a strikeout to end the inning. The Tigers then went down in order in the bottom of the frame. Walsh started off the seventh with a walk and a hit-by-pitch, and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out. A walk to the following batter loaded the bases, and a sacrifice fly to right scored to make the score 5-4 Trojans. Opel walked with two outs, then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Three straight singles by Garcia, Scott Sommerfeld, and McGraw gave Mizzou a 7-5 lead. Dusty Ross closed the deal for Walsh in a scoreless eighth inning, shutting the door with runners on first and second. The Tigers threatened again in the eighth with runners on first and second and no outs, and converted to score three runs on the inning before keeping UALR scoreless in the ninth, sealing the 10-5 victory.
Mizzou takes the show on the road to St. Louis tomorrow night as they take on the Illinois Fighting Illini in Busch Stadium. The game starts at 6:30 PM and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.