Clutch Hitting Propels Tiger Past Longhorns
COLUMBIA -- Eric Garcia delivered an RBI double in the bottom of the eighth inning to spur the Missouri Tigers to a 5-4 win over the No. 25 Texas Longhorns Saturday at Taylor Stadium.
Left fielder Scott Sommerfeld laced a one-out single through the left side of the infield. Then with two outs, Garcia ripped the 0-1 breaking ball from Longhorn lefty Hoby Milner over the head of the diving center fielder. Sommerfeld scored all the way from first standing up.
Both teams started out hot offensively, but cooled off in the middle and late innings. Texas jumped out to an early lead in the first inning after right fielder Mark Payton led off the game with a double. Two batters later, Erich Weiss belted the payoff pitch over the right field wall for a home run, his team-leading fifth of the year. Mizzou responded in the bottom of the first by putting two on with one out on an error and a fielder's choice. Andreas Plackis capitalized on the poor Texas defense by lining a double to left-center, tying the game, 2-2.
The TIgers took their first lead in the bottom of the second when Sommerfeld belted the first pitch over the left field wall. Two walks and a hit loaded the bases later in the inning, but Texas starter Dillon Peters got Plackis to pop out in foul territory to end the threat.
Weiss drove in another run for Texas in the third on a sacrifice fly, tying the game, 3-3. The Tigers responded in the bottom of the frame when Blake Brown led off with his eighth double of the year, and was advanced to third on a fly ball. Case Munson pulled a single to left, bringing in Brown to put Missouri back in front.
After Texas plated a run in the fourth to tie the game once again, 4-4, the pitching staffs settled down and kept the game scoreless until Garcia's game-winner in the eighth. Nathan Thornhill pitched five innings of terrific relief for the Longhorns, allowing just one run on three hits and striking out four. Peters, who started for UT, left the game after getting just one out in the third inning. He allowed three earned runs on five hits and two walks. Milner took the loss.
Missouri starter Jeff Emens did not fare much better, as he was out of the game in the fourth inning. His final stat line includes three earned runs on five hits, two strikeouts and one walk. Ryan Yuengel was outstanding in his three innings of scoreless relief, and Dusty Ross picked up the win for the Tigers. Ross struck out three, including a fist-pump-inducing backwards K of Texas center fielder Tim Maitland to end the game.
The game-winner was Garcia's only hit of the game, while Sommerfeld and catcher Ben Turner had two hits apiece for the Tigers. Sommerfeld also scored twice to lead Mizzou. The Texas offense featured its slugger Weiss as the star. He recorded three hits and drove in three runs.
Missouri (24-22, 8-12 Big 12) snaps a five-game losing streak, while Texas (27-17, 13-7 Big 12) had won three in a row prior to Saturday. The Tigers will try to win the series against the Longhorns by taking the rubber match tomorrow at 1 p.m.