Mizzou Drops Finale, Takes 12-Seed to SEC Tournament
COLUMBIA - A three-run homer for Kentucky in the top of the ninth gave Kentucky (30-24, 11-19) a cushion into the game's final frame as Mizzou baseball (18-31, 10-20) dropped its regular season final by a 5-1 final score Saturday afternoon at Taylor Stadium. Freshman Griffin Goodrich started the game for the Tigers, going four innings and giving up one run to the Wildcats on five hits, striking out one. John Miles took the loss for the Tigers, allowing one earned run in 1.1 innings.
Josh Lester had the only RBI of the game for the Tigers, a sharply-hit double to right in the fifth to score Jake Ivory. Saturday's contest was the last home game for Tiger seniors Brannon Champagne, Dane Opel, and Scott Sommerfeld. The loss also locked Mizzou in to the 12-seed for the SEC baseball tournament in Hoover, Alabama, beginning on Tuesday. The Tigers will play in the nightcap in the first day's action against the No. 5 seed.
Goodrich worked a quick first three innings, holding the Wildcats off the board and allowing just two singles to right field in the game's opening third. The Tigers threatened in the bottom of the second with two one-out singles, but both runners were left stranded. Kentucky struck in the fourth inning, taking advantage of three straight singles as Paul McConkey tallied the game's first RBI for a 1-0 lead.
Jake Ivory roped a double in the bottom of the fifth with one out, sending a 2-0 fastball to the wall in left-center, and Josh Lester's two-out double to right after a Dillon Everett walk scored Ivory to tie the game 1-1. Miles worked himself into trouble in the top of the sixth, allowing three singles for Kentucky to load the bases with one out, and he was lifted for Breckin Williams who allowed a single to put Kentucky back up by one. Mizzou stranded two runners in the bottom of the frame, the potential-tying runner on second.
Ryan Phillips took over on the mound for the Tigers in the seventh, throwing a scoreless frame before Mizzou went quickly in the bottom of the inning. A leadoff triple for J.T. Riddle had the Wildcats in business in the eighth, but the Tigers were able to escape thanks to Opel nailing Riddle at the plate to end the frame and keep the deficit to one run; it was Opel's 14th outfield assist this season, a national-best. Another extra base hit for Kentucky started the ninth, as Micheal Thomas sent a liner off the wall in left, and Zack Powers hit a homer two batters later, a three-run shot to put the Wildcats up 5-1. Jace James closed out the frame for the Tigers.
Mizzou now faces the No. 5 seed Mississippi State in Tuesday's finale in Hoover.