Mizzou Baseball Drops Home Finale
COLUMBIA -- The Mizzou baseball team battled from as far as three runs back to take a 6-4 lead, but the Memphis Tigers scored three runs over the last three innings to steal Missouri's home finale by a final score of 8-7. Dane Opel supplied offensive fireworks for the Tigers with his three-run bomb in the fourth inning, his Big 12-leading 11th home run of the season. Andreas Plackis extended his hitting streak to 13 games with his single in the fifth inning, good for the second-longest hitting streak for a Tiger this season.
A two-out single in the first turned into a run for Memphis as a fly ball by the next hitter to the gap in right-center hit off Brannon Champagne's glove and allowed the runner to score for a 1-0 lead. Mizzou then went down in order in the bottom of the inning. Memphis capitalized on a two-out walk issued by Brett Graves in the second, as the runner stole second and then scored as the next batter doubled down the left field line to make the score 2-0, and Mizzou was retired 1-2-3 again in the bottom of the frame. Graves hit a batter with one out, and the runner then stole second to reach scoring position. A single to center scored the runner to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead. Opel walked to lead off the bottom of the inning, but he was caught stealing two batters later before Champagne doubled to the right field corner with two outs. Eric Garcia reached base on catcher's interference, and Dillon Everett singled in Champagne from second to cut the Memphis lead to 3-1.
Graves issued two walks in the second with a groundout in between the two, putting runners on first and second with one out as his day on the mound ended. Ryan Yuengel replaced Graves, and quickly induced a pop up to Garcia, but a single up the middle scored a run for Memphis to give the Tigers a 4-1 advantage. Blake Brown notched a bunt single with one out in the bottom of the frame, and Conner Mach walked to put two on for Opel, who launched one over the trees in right field to tie the game at four. Yuengel breezed through the fifth, sitting Memphis down in order. Garcia led off the fifth with a walk, and a hit-and-run with Ben Turner two batters later was executed perfectly to put runners on the corners with one out. Plackis's single to left then scored Garcia to give Mizzou its first lead of the game at 5-4. Turner then scored on Mach's single to left to give Mizzou a 6-4 advantage. Yuengel walked the first two Memphis batters of the sixth on eight pitches, and Jeff Emens took over on the mound. He hit the first batter he faced to load the bases with no outs, and a 6-4-3 double play allowed a run to score, reducing the Mizzou lead to 6-5. A groundout to third by the next hitter ended the inning. Garcia tallied a two-out triple in the bottom of the inning, but a flyout ended the frame scoreless.
Emens gave up a one-out double in the seventh, and a single tied the game at six as the runner advanced to second on the throw. Jake Walsh took over on the mound for Emens, and he did not allow further damage. Plackis and Brown walked with one out in the bottom of the inning, but both were left stranded. Dusty Ross entered to pitch in the eighth inning, and retired the first two batters he faced before surrendering a double to the left field corner, but a pop up to Everett ended the threat. Champagne singled to left with one out, but was left stranded. Memphis got a leadoff single, then a double to the right field corner put two runners in scoring position with no outs. A wild pitch and a single scored both runners, giving the visiting Tigers an 8-6 lead in the final inning. Brown homered with two outs in the ninth, a bomb that hit over the left field fence, to cut the Memphis lead to 8-7.
Mizzou will now take its talents to Lawrence next weekend as the Tigers battle the Jayhawks in the final regular season series before the Big 12 Tournament.