Mizzou Baseball Falls in Walk-Off Fashion at OU
NORMAN, OK -- The Mizzou baseball team lost a wild, extra-inning game on Friday night (April 13), 6-5, at L. Dale Mitchell Park. Mizzou scored runs in the ninth and 10th innings to go on top 5-4 before giving up a pair of two-out runs in the 10th inning, including a game-winning hit by OU's Garrett Carey. With the loss, eight of the last 10 games between the Tigers and Sooners have been decided by two or fewer runs. Senior Jeff Emens was charged with his first loss of the season as he is now 2-1 while Jordan John earned his fifth win of the year for the Sooners. The Tigers are now 18-15 on the year and 3-7 in Big 12 play.
The day was supposed to feature two games, but a three-hour, 39-minute severe weather delay in the top of the second inning forced the two teams to play just one game. Mizzou ran out to a 3-0 lead due in large part to Dane Opel's sixth home run of the season and then rallied to take a 5-4 lead before falling in the 10th. Opel led the Tigers at the plate, going 3-5 with a run, two RBI and a home run. It was his third straight multi-hit game as he is hitting 8-of-14 over the last three games with four RBI and three runs. Blake Brown also extended his Big 12-best hitting streak to 20 games with a go-ahead single in the 10th inning.
Brannon Champagne singled in the top of the first as he extended his streak to 25 straight games reaching base safely. That is the longest by a Tiger since 2010 (32 straight by Aaron Senne) and the third-longest active streak in the Big 12 this season. But OU starter Dillon Overton struck out the side to get out of the inning. Tiger starter Rob Zastryzny took to the hill in the bottom of the first and OU leadoff hitter Erik Ross reached on an error by Tiger shortstop Eric Garcia, but Zastryzny induced a double play off the bat of Jack Mayfield on an attempted sacrifice bunt and then worked around a two-out hit to get out of the inning on eight pitches, seven which were strikes.
Garcia then atoned for his error in the first with a leadoff single back up the middle in the second. First baseman Michael McGraw then struck out, but a balk advanced Garcia into scoring position. The game then hit a delay due to severe weather at 3:28 p.m. and play did not resume until 7:07 p.m. after a three hour, 39-minute delay. A tornado reportedly touched down about three miles from the stadium during the delay, which forced both teams into the below-ground club houses and an evacuation of the stadium.
Following the delay, Overton took back to the mound and served up a two-run homer to Opel, which gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead. The homer was his sixth of the season and his first since March 18 against High Point. Zastryzny continued to deal following the homer as he tossed two scoreless frames, needing just 32 pitches to get through the first three innings.
The Tiger offense continued to give Zastryzny run support in the top of the fourth as Scott Sommerfeld ripped a two-out single back up the middle to score Garcia from second, giving Mizzou a 3-0. The Tigers nearly added another run as Dillon Everett laced a ball that nearly got up the middle, but OU shortstop Caleb Bushyhead kept the ball on the infield and got a force out to end the inning at second base.
Zastryzny then let the first two Sooner batters reach base in the bottom of the fourth inning and a fly out to right then put runners on second and third with just one out. But Zastryzny hit the next Sooner batter to load the bases and then fell behind designated hitter Evan Mistich in the count and he tallied a ground rule double off the glove of Brown in right cut into the Tiger lead at 3-2. Zastryzny then induced a fly out to right field and Brown then gunned the tying run at the plate on an attempted sacrifice fly, preserving the Tiger lead heading to the fifth inning.
The score stayed that way until the bottom of the sixth with Zastryzny got the first out of the inning before allowing a double and a triple back-to-back, allowing OU to ties the score at 3-3. That ended his day in favor of Dusty Ross, who retired the first batter he faced before allowing a double to Garrett Carey, plating the go-ahead run for the Sooners. The hit came with two outs in the inning.
Mizzou threatened in the top of the seventh as both Ben Turner and Garcia tallied two-out singles, but Michael McGraw struck out looking to end the threat. Ross then came out in the seventh and retired the side, sending the game to the eighth with the Sooners on top, 4-3.
After a scoreless eighth inning, the Tigers tried to mount a comeback as Champagne was hit by a pitch with one out, but Conner Mach hit into a fielder's choice but Turner singled to keep hope alive. Then a passed ball put runners on second and third and Garcia hit a hard ground ball to third, which Carey mishandled for an error, plating the tying run.
Jeff Emens came in to pitch the ninth inning and struck out Mistich before walking Carey. He then retired a pinch hitter before allowing a two-out single to Eryk Ross, putting runners on the corners with two outs. But Emens struck out Jack Mayfield to send the game to extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, Opel led off with a single to right center and then Sommerfeld reached on a fielder's choice for the first out of the inning. With a Sommerfeld on first, Everett then sent a hot shot to second base with was misplayed for an error putting runners on first and second with one out. Then Brown, hitless on the day and riding a 19-game hit streak, laced a ball into right center to plate the go-ahead run.
Nick Moore then made a game-saving play in the bottom of the frame as he snow-coned a high chopper at third base and threw the runner out at first, leaving the tying run at second. But a two-out double by Mistich plated the tying run, knotting the score at 5-5.
Mizzou and OU will play game two of the series tomorrow at 11 a.m. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.