Posted: Feb 24, 2013 10:54 PM
Updated: Feb 25, 2013 10:29 AM
MEMPHIS, TN - The Mizzou baseball team dropped the series finale at Memphis, 8-2, on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 24) at FedExPark. The loss drops the Tigers to 0-6 on the season while Memphis goes to 4-3 on the year. The highlight of the day for the Tigers was the season debut for redshirt junior Eric Anderson, who made his first start and first pitching appearance since March 9, 2012, after undergoing Tommy John surgery in May of 2012. Anderson went 2.0 innings, allowing two hits, a walk and an earned run in his 2.0 innings of work. He threw 31 pitches in the start, 19 for strikes.
Mizzou spoiled a great relief outing by freshman Alec Rash, who went 4.0 innings, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out three. He was a tough-luck loser on the day after the leadoff man in the seventh reached on an error at short and eventually came around to score as the go-ahead run after three wild pitches. Mizzou tied the game at 1-1 with a two-out, two-strike single by Jake Ivory in the top of the seventh, but Memphis took advantage of wild pitchers and errors in its half of the seventh to score two in the frame. After Mizzou added one more run in the eighth, Memphis added five more runs in the its half of the eighth to ice the game. John Reed earned the win for Memphis, his second of the season. Dylan Kelly led Mizzou with three hits on the day.
Anderson, in his first start since March 9 of season, retired the first two batters that he faced before allowing a double to Memphis three-hole hitter Tucker Tubbs and then walked cleanup hitter Bryce Beeler on four pitches before giving up a double to Drew Griffin to put Memphis on the board, 1-0. Anderson then got Jake Little to bounce out to third base to get out of the inning, stranding a pair of runners in scoring position.
Anderson mowed through the order in the second inning despite hitting the leadoff batter. He induced a flyout and then got a one-out double play to end the inning. Anderson's day ended with him giving up two hits, one earned run and one walk while hitting a batter. He threw 31 pitches over the two innings, including 19 for strikes.
That gave was for the freshman Rash who mowed through the Memphis order, retiring the first six batters that he faced including one strikeout. He walked the first batter that he faced, the second walk by Mizzou pitchers in the game, in the fifth inning. After getting his second strikeout of the game, Rash allowed a single and then a double steal to put runners on second and third with one out. But he rang up Ford Wilson on strikes for the second out and then got Zach Willis to ground out to second to get out of the jam.
After the Tigers went in order in the top of the sixth, Rash came back out for his fourth inning of work and got the first two batters to ground out to first base before an error on a pop-up by Keaton Steele allowed a runner to reach second base. But Rash got a pop up to get out of the jam as he went 4.0 innings, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out three, throwing 54 pitches through those 4.0 innings.
Kelly led off the seventh with his third hit of the day and was lifted for a pinch runner, Case Munson. He advanced to second on an errant pickoff attempt and then to third on a groundout to second by Shane Segovia. Michael McGraw struck out, bringing in Jake Ivory who delivered a clutch, two-out hit to center, just in front of the diving Wilson as he wound up on second with an RBI double.
Rash came back on in the bottom of the seventh for his fifth inning of work. But it was cut short as he induced a grounder to short which was bobbled by Segovia, putting the leadoff man aboard for Memphis with via the error. That came back to haunt Mizzou after a bunt and wild pitch moved the runner to third and he was singled in by Ethan Gross to put Memphis back on top, 2-1. Gross then came around to score after stealing a base and a pair of wild pitches from Jake Walsh, giving Memphis a 3-1 lead headed to the eighth. Walsh had three wild pitches in the inning in relief of Rash.
Mizzou got one of the runs back in the eighth as Dane Opel hit a two-out single back up the middle and then Steele had another two-strike, two-out single to plate Opel from second, making him 4-for-7 with runners in scoring position this season. But Memphis jumped all over Tiger reliever Ryan Phillips in the eighth, taking on five more to ice the game.
Mizzou will return home for its home opener against Northwestern next Friday at Taylor Stadium. The game is slated for a 6 p.m. first pitch.