No. 19 Florida Takes Marathon Game In Thriller
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Mizzou (12-22, 4-13) dropped a 15-inning contest against No. 19 Florida (22-18, 10-7) by a 4-3 final Saturday (Apr. 20) afternoon at Taylor Stadium. All three of the Tigers' runs came in the first two innings, highlighted by a Keaton Steele two-run homer in the first over the left field fence and a RBI single from Logan Pearson in the second.
Mizzou starter Brett Graves went 5.1 innings, allowing just one earned run and five hits while fanning two batters. Steele stole the show on the mound for the Tigers, throwing seven innings in relief while hurling 109 pitches, giving up two runs and striking out five in his time on the mound. Case Munson extended his on-base streak to 16 games. The game also featured the second-highest attendance for a home game this season with 2,563 fans packing into Taylor Stadium.
The Gators put one runner aboard in the first on a leadoff walk, but Dylan Kelly gunned him down as he tried to swipe second in the scoreless frame. Steele launched a two-run homer to left in the bottom of the inning, scoring Dane Opel for a 2-0 lead after one. Mizzou added on to the lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of three straight two-out hits, as Pearson brought in Shane Segovia with a single to right for a 3-0 lead.
Florida got on the board in the third on a single to right by Casey Turgeon to bring home Richie Martin, cutting the Mizzou lead to 3-1. The Tigers threatened again in the bottom of the third, as Kelly doubled and reached third with one out, but he was left stranded. The bats went quiet in the next three innings as both teams made pitching changes, the Tigers going to Jake Walsh in the sixth before handing the ball to Steele in the seventh.
The Gators put their first two batters on board against Steele, and a sac bunt moved both into scoring position with one out. Both runners scored, but Steele limited the damage to a tie game. Florida threatened again in the eighth with two on and no outs, but a failed sac bunt attempt gave Mizzou the first out of the inning. An errant throw on a double play attempt then gave Florida a chance to score, but Josh Lester found the ball and nailed the runner at the plate to keep the 3-3 tie.
Steele pitched around a walk and a single in a scoreless top of the ninth, and Mizzou put two on in the bottom of the inning, but couldn't score. Florida started the 10th with a single, and a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second, but a fielder's choice eliminated him in the scoreless inning. Steele singled in the bottom of the inning, but he was the only Tiger to reach base in the frame.
Both teams went quiet into the 13th, where Florida got two singles to start of the inning and a sac bunt advanced both runners into scoring position. Steele responded by striking out two of the next three batters he faced, sandwiched around a walk, to end the inning scoreless. Lester had the only hit in the inning, and Brannon Champagne pinch ran but was stranded on second.
Eric Anderson took over on the bump for Mizzou in the 14th inning, and he worked around a double and a walk in the scoreless frame. The Gators struck in the 15th, taking advantage of an error, a walk and a single as a fielder's choice allowed a run to score for a 4-3 lead. Mizzou threatened with two runners in scoring position with two outs, but they were left stranded.
The Tigers' series finale against Florida will be Sunday (Apr. 21) at noon.
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