Tigers Take Series Opener
WACO, Tx. -- Mizzou gets RBI from three different batters as the pitching staff shuts down Baylor.
The Mizzou baseball team topped Baylor, 4-2, in the opening game of a three-game Big 12 series on Thursday night (April 21) at Baylor Ballpark in Waco. The win improves the Tigers to 15-22 overall and 3-9 in Big 12 play. It is also the Tigers' first Big 12 road win this season. Senior righty Brad Buehler earned his second win of the season after throwing 2.0 innings and allowing just one earned run. Mizzou took advantage of two Baylor errors to score two runs in the sixth inning.
Both Blake Brown and Brannon Champagne tallied multi-hit efforts on Thursday, highlighted by a 2-3 outing by Champagne. He also added a big two-out RBI in the fifth inning. Brown went 2-4 at the plate with a stolen base and a double. Conner Mach and Eric Garcia also tallied RBIs in the win.
Mizzou got a nice start from sophomore Eric Anderson who made his third start of the season on Thursday. He threw 3.0 innings (he pitched to two batters in the fourth) and allowed just one earned run on a solo homerun by Cal Towey while striking out three batters and walking three more. The three strikeouts for Anderson are his most in an outing since April 3, 2010, when he fanned six Oklahoma batters. His 3.0 innings pitched in the start is also his second-longest outing since coming off of season-ending shoulder surgery in 2010.
Buehler came on in relief of Anderson in the fourth inning and used some great pitching to get out of the frame. That made way for the Tiger offense in the fifth as designated hitter Jonah Schmidt led off the inning with a hard-hit double to left field. He was bunted over to third and after freshman Dillon Everett struck out, that brought in Champagne with a chance for an RBI. He delivered with a two-out RBI bloop-single to right center, plating Schmidt and tying the game. The run also got Anderson off the hook for the loss.
But Baylor countered right away in the bottom of the fifth as Bear first baseman Max Muncy launched a two-out homer to right field off of Buehler to put the Bears back on top, 2-0. The damage could have been worse, but a 4-6-3 double-play erased the potential for an extra run for the Bears.
Despite giving Baylor the lead in the fifth, Mizzou countered two runs in a wild sixth inning. Mach, hitting in the lead-off spot for the first time this season, led off the inning with a single and he moved to third on a hit-and-run single from Jesse Santo. After a Brown strikeout, things got wild. Eric Garcia reached on an error by Baylor short stop Landis Ware, allowing Mach to score, evening the score at 2-2. The ball hit by Garcia was a routine double-play ball, but Landis dropped the ball at second, allowing Garcia to reach first while Santo to move to third.
The Tigers again attempted the hit-and-run with Schmidt at the plate and Garcia got caught between bases in a run-down after a swinging strike. But he extended the run-down long enough for Baylor to forget about Santo at third and he scored on a heads-up base-running play, giving Mizzou a 3-2 lead.
After a scoreless sixth from Dusty Ross, Mizzou tallied an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Everett and Champagne led off the inning with back-to-back singles and the two were bunted to second and third. Mach then delivered with a fielder's choice RBI to plate Everett, putting Mizzou on top, 4-2. Ross was strong in his outing, going 1.2 innings while allowing no hits and walking just one batter. That made way for McCormick to close out the game. He threw the final 2.1 innings to earn his third save of the season.
The middle of a three-game series will be played tomorrow in Waco at 3 p.m. Freshman lefty Rob Zastryzny will get the start for the Tigers who will look to clinch the series. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.