Ninth Inning Nips Tigers in 8-3 Loss
COLUMBIA -- Mizzou (3-7) could not finish its comeback bid on Saturday against San Francisco, rallying from down three to tie the game before ultimately falling 8-3. Starter Brett Graves allowed two runs in the game's opening frame before settling in, shutting down the Dons in the remainder of his time on the bump. He went 5.1 innings, allowing two earned runs on six hits. The loss halted a three-game winning streak for the Tigers, who had previously not lost at home this season, and it evened the series score at one game apiece.
Logan Pearson was solid at the dish in today's game, going 2-for-4 with a RBI. Freshman Josh Lester drove in the first run of the game for Mizzou with a sacrifice fly in the seventh, and Dylan Kelly notched the Tigers' other RBI with a double off the left field wall. Dane Opel also tallied a multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Breckin Williams was tagged with his first loss of the season in a tough-luck effort as he gave up three runs (two earned) in an inning and a third. Haden Hinkle earned the win for USF, pitching 2.0 innings, allowing two earned runs on three hits.
San Francisco got a great start offensively, as Justin Maffei sent the second pitch of the game over the wall in left to take a quick 1-0 lead. A double by Jason Mahood kept the pressure on Graves, and a single by Derek Atkinson put the Dons up 2-0. Graves responded nicely, sitting down the final two batters he faced in the inning, including a 6-3 double play to end the frame. After Mizzou went down in order in the bottom of the inning, San Francisco threatened with a runner on second and one out. Dane Opel gunned the runner at the plate on a single by the next batter, holding the two-run deficit through two innings. The Tigers again went down hitless in the bottom of the second.
Both teams went quietly in the third, with Mizzou getting its first baserunner of the game on a walk to Case Munson, and Opel led off the bottom of the fourth with a single to center, advancing to second on a fielding error. He was left stranded on third after the next three batters were retired. Keaton Steele walked to lead off the bottom of the fifth, and he was waved home on a double by Michael McGraw, but the ball beat him to the plate to keep Mizzou off the board through five.
Graves pitched himself into trouble in the sixth, getting an out to start the inning but surrendering three straight walks, and Jake Walsh replaced him on the mound. Walsh induced a 1-2-3 double play, ending the threat and keeping the Tigers within two. Opel and Scott Sommerfeld both singled in the bottom of the inning, but they were left stranded.
The Dons threatened again in the seventh, putting a runner on second with one out to force a pitching change from Mizzou, who went with Ryan Yuengel. He induced a flyout to left before surrendering a single to left, giving San Francisco a 3-0 lead. After a walk, Ryan Phillips relieved Yuengel on the bump, and he forced a groundout to end the frame. Steele and Munson both reached to start the bottom of the seventh, and Pearson laced a single to left after two Tiger outs to make the score 3-1 after seven.
Williams took over to pitch in the eighth, fanning two of the three batters he faced in the inning. Opel wore a fastball to start the bottom frame, and Kelly doubled off the left field wall to make the score 3-2. Sommerfeld singled to put runners on the corners, and Lester's sac fly tied the game at three into the game's final inning. San Francisco responded with a big inning in the ninth, tallying five runs in the game's final inning.
The rubber match between Mizzou and San Francisco will be Sunday at noon at Taylor Stadium.