Mizzou Baseball Squanders Early Lead
COLUMBIA - Mizzou (12-21, 4-12) and No. 19 Florida (21-18, 9-7) combined for 30 hits on Friday night, as the Tigers dropped the series-opening contest by a score of 8-6. Dillon Everett went 3-for-4 from the plate, including a walk in the contest. Starting pitcher Rob Zastryzny got tagged for six earned runs in 5.2 innings, falling to 2-7 on the year.
Dane Opel led Mizzou with two RBI while going 3-for-5 in the contest, driving in runs in each of the two innings that Mizzou scored (the first and the eighth), and Logan Pearson scored twice for the Tigers. Florida took advantage of timely hitting in the contest, scoring six two-out runs as the Gators overcame an early 4-1 deficit after the first inning. Tiger outfielder Case Munson also extended his on-base streak to 15 games with a single in the first inning and Opel added his team-leading 11th outfield assist.
The Gators got on the board in the first, taking advantage of a two-out bloop single from Justin Shafer to score Casey Turgeon for a 1-0 lead. Mizzou answered in the bottom of the frame, as the first four Tiger batters reached base, with Opel and Keaton Steele getting RBI for a 2-1 lead before Dylan Kelly's sac bunt. A fielder's choice from Kendall Keeton and a two-out single by Josh Lester gave Mizzou two more runs for a 4-1 lead after one.
Two quiet innings in the second and third followed until Florida broke through in the fourth, scoring a run on three hits including a single that hit off the top of the wall, cutting the Mizzou lead to 4-2. The Tigers threatened in the bottom of the inning, putting Everett and Pearson aboard with one out, but they were unable to score. Florida kept going in the fifth, tallying three runs off of Zastryzny to retake the lead, 5-4. Mizzou again was held off the board in the bottom of the frame.
Florida kept swinging in the sixth inning, tacking on another run for a 6-4 lead, giving the visitors five runs in three innings. The Tigers got two aboard in the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles by Everett and Pearson, but they were left stranded. The Gators kept their foot on the gas in the seventh, taking a 7-4 lead over the Tigers thanks to more two-out hitting.
Florida added another two-out run in the eighth, a double off the wall in left brought in a run to push the lead to 8-4. Everett stayed perfect at the plate with a single to right, advancing to second on a fielding error, and Pearson hit him in with a single to right to cut the deficit to 8-5. Opel came through with a big single to left center to make it 8-6 at the end of the eighth. Both teams went scoreless in the ninth.
Mizzou gets a rematch against No. 19 Florida Saturday at 2 p.m.