Tigers Drop Series Opener Against Memphis
COLUMBIA -- The Missouri Tigers dropped the series opener against Memphis by a final score of 6-4, giving up a season-high six doubles in the process to the visiting team. Jeff Emens remained a steady presence out of the bullpen, throwing 3.2 innings of shutout baseball, giving up only four hits and striking out four batters in the process. First baseman Andreas Plackis kept his hitting streak alive, extending the streak to 11 games with his single in the seventh inning.
Memphis threatened in the first, loading the bases with one out after hitting two singles and getting a walk, and a single to left then allowed two runners to score for a 2-0 lead, and put runners on the corners for the visiting Tigers. Rob Zastryzny responded by retiring the next two Memphis batters to prevent further damage. Dillon Everett walked with one out in the bottom of the inning, but was doubled off as Ben Turner's screamer to third was caught for an easy double play to end the inning. Zastryzny issued a leadoff walk in the second, and a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second. A strikeout and a flyout to right then ended the inning. Back-to-back walks to Conner Mach and Dane Opel with one out in the bottom of the second put two on with one out, but Mizzou failed to capitalize. A leadoff double in the third let Memphis threaten, but Zastryzny quickly picked off the runner trying to steal third in the following at bat, and the Tigers were held scoreless in the inning. Eric Garcia walked with one out in the bottom of the frame, but was caught stealing before Everett walked for the second time in the game. Turner then doubled to left, scoring Everett from first to cut Memphis's lead to 2-1.
Memphis threatened again in the fourth with runners on the corners and one out, but Zastryzny responded by striking out the next two batters to get out of the jam unscathed. Blake Brown doubled with two outs in the bottom of the inning, and an error by the shortstop on Scott Sommerfeld's chopper allowed Brown to score and put Sommerfeld on second, tying the game at two. Brannon Champagne then shot a line drive down the left field line to give Mizzou a 3-2 lead. Memphis got two runners on with no outs in the fifth, and a double to right center tied the game at three and left runners on second and third with no outs. Zastryzny responded with a strikeout, but then another double brought both runners in to give Memphis a 5-3 lead. Emens entered to pitch with the runner on second and one out, and forced a flyout to center, and a single then scored another run for the Tigers for a 6-3 lead. Mizzou put one man on base in the bottom of the inning, but could not score. Memphis doubled with one out in the sixth, but Emens responded by striking out the next two batters, and Mizzou went down in order in the bottom of the inning.
After a scoreless top of the seventh, Everett singled with one out in the bottom of the frame. Plackis singled to right with two outs, and a bad throw caromed out of play, allowing Plackis to reach second and Everett to score to reduce the Memphis lead to 6-4. Emens gave up a one-out single, and a wild pitch allowed the runner to advance to second. A groundout to third advanced the runner with two outs, and a great defensive play by Mach on a chopper ended the inning scoreless. Sommerfeld singled in the bottom of the frame, and Champagne walked to put two on with two outs. Garcia then reached on a catcher's interference call to load the bases, but Everett's shot to third was gloved to end the inning. A leadoff single in the ninth ended Emens's day on the mound as Jake Walsh entered to pitch. Another single put two on with no outs, and a sacrifice bunt put both runners in scoring position. A flyout to right turned into a double play as Turner's stellar block of home plate nailed the runner who attempted to tag up from third, ending the inning scoreless. Mizzou then went down scoreless in its final chance to tie the game.
Mizzou will honor the seniors Saturday before the second game of the three-game set against Memphis, which starts at 1 PM.