Tigers Squander Late Lead at Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, AL - The Mizzou baseball team carried a 6-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning but Alabama tallied four hits and put up three runs off of reliever Jake Walsh as the Tide came back to top Mizzou, 7-6, Sunday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The loss drops Mizzou to 16-30 on the season and 8-19 in the SEC.
Junior lefty Rob Zastryzny was in line for the win as he went 6.0 innings, allowing four unearned runs on seven hits while striking out four against just one walk. Dillon Everett continued his hot weekend, going 2-for-5, including a triple in the seventh that started a five-run, two-out rally. Dane Opel went 2-for-4 with two runs and a big two-run triple in the seventh to tie that game at 4-4. Scott Sommerfeld also drove in the go-ahead run in the seventh as he went 2-for-5 with a run and RBI. The heart of Alabama's order - Kyle Overstreet and Ben Moore - combined for six of the Tide's seven RBI. Five of the seven runs scored by Alabama were unearned.
In the bottom of the second, Zastryzny got out of a jam in large part thanks to a great play by Opel who gunned a runner at the plate for the third out. An error at short with one out led to back-to-back two-out hits, one off the bat of Andrew Miller as Mikey Smith tried to score from second, but Opel's throw from right field was on the money to send the game to the third at a scoreless tie.
Mizzou committed another one-out error in the third and this time it cost the Tigers a run. Kenny Roberts hit a ball under the glove of Zastryzny that was fielded at short by Everett, who sailed the throw wide of third base. Mizzou then appeared to have Roberts picked off with two outs, but he slid around the tag at second and was then singled home by Kyle Overstreet to give the Tide a 1-0 lead headed to the fourth.
But Mizzou got that run back in the top of the fourth as Opel led off the inning with a single and then Sommerfeld singled and Opel advanced to third on an aggressive base running play, allowing Sommerfeld to take second on the throw, putting runners on second and third with no outs for Dylan Kelly. Kelly lifted the first pitch he saw to left for a sacrifice fly, but that is all Mizzou got in the fourth as the games was tied at 1-1.
But it was errors that cost the Tigers again in the bottom of the fifth as Keaton Steele let a slow roller to first go between his legs, putting runners on the corners with one out. Kyle Overstreet then hit a sacrifice fly to right field and then Ben Moore launched a two run shot as Alabama plated three unearned runs in the inning to take a 4-1 lead into the sixth.
The Tigers cut into the lead in the seventh despite two quick outs in the frame. Everett continued his hot weekend at the plate, lacing a 2-2 pitch into the right centerfield gap for a two-out triple. Josh Lester then singled on the first pitch he saw to score Everett, pulling the Tigers within two at 4-2. That hit also ended Tide starter Justin Kamplain's day as he 6.2 innings and struck out 10 against no walks. He scattered just eight hits and three earned runs in the outing.
But Mizzou kept pouring it on off of Tide closer Ray Castillo. Steele drew a walk and then Opel lifted a triple to left center, just out of the glove of center fielder Georgie Salem to tie the game at 4-4. The Sommerfeld singled to third base to score Opel before advancing to second on an error. Kelly then singled into right field to score Sommerfeld and Mizzou, which entered the inning down 4-1, scored five two-out runs in the frame to take a 6-4 lead.
From there, Zastrzyny's day was done, going 6.0 innings, allowing seven hits while striking out four against just one walk. He did give up four runs, all of which were unearned. That gave way to Walsh who allowed two singles in the seventh, but he got a strikeout and a pair of groundouts to get out of the inning.
Walsh came back on in the eighth and made quick work of the Tide, getting a pair of flyouts to center and a strikeout to send the game to the ninth. After a scoreless top of the frame, Walsh came back out and allowed four hits around an error as Alabama scored three runs in the frame to win the game, 7-6. Five of the seven runs allowed by the Tigers on Sunday were unearned.
Mizzou will return home for its final regular season series as it host Kentucky for three games, beginning Thursday at 6 p.m.