No. 3 Vanderbilt Completes Sweep of Mizzou
NASHVILLE, TN - The Mizzou baseball team was defeated by No. 3 Vanderbilt, 16-4, on Sunday afternoon at Hawkins Field as Vanderbilt completed the three-game sweep of the Tigers. In the series, Vanderbilt outscored Mizzou 39-10 and pounded out 54 hits in the three-game sweep. Reigning SEC Player of the Week Keaton Steele was tagged with his second loss of the season after allowing nine runs (eight earned) over 3.2 innings while walking four and striking out three. Steele was the first Tiger to start a game on the mound and hit in the three-hole of the lineup since on May 12, 2001, in an 8-5 win over Texas A&M.
Mizzou allowed 16 runs on 18 hits on Sunday while it drops to 12-20 on the season and 4-11 in SEC play. The third-ranked Commodores move to 32-4 on the season and 14-1 in SEC play while they have won 14 in a row. Mizzou pulled as close as 4-3 in the top of the fourth inning, but Vanderbilt answered with six runs in the bottom of that frame and then added five more over the sixth and the seventh innings to pull away.
The theme of the weekend up until Sunday was the ability of Vanderbilt to get infield hits and that's how the Commodores began the game again with a bunt single by Tony Kemp. Steele then allowed a double to two-hole hitter Xavier Turner and an RBI fielder's choice game the Commodores an early 1-0 lead. Connor Harrell then singled back up the middle past the drawn-in infield to plate another run as the Commodores plated three in the first. Mizzou got its first two men aboard in the second on walks, but a diving catch at second by Kemp robbed Kendall Keeton of an RBI single and then Josh Lester was picked off at first before Logan Pearson flew out to left to end the threat.
Vanderbilt then got another run after a pair of tough errors and a single by Harrell, his second RBI knock of the day, to take a 4-0 lead through two innings. After a scoreless third inning, Mizzou finally got to Vandy starter Phillip Pfeifer, tallying four-straight two-out hits to score three runs. With runners on the corners, Pearson singled through the right side to plate Lester and the big hit came off the bat of Shane Segovia, who laced a 1-2 pitch into right field to score Keeton and the throw from right field got away, allowing Pearson to score, pulling the Tigers within one at 4-3.
But Kemp struck again as he used his wheels to leg out a leadoff triple on a ball hit into right center and he scored on a fielder's choice, again off the bat of Harrell. Segovia then committed a throwing error as he tried to get the out at second, allowing the runner to go to third and that runner scored on another fielder's choice, giving Vanderbilt a 6-3 lead. Another single scored a run before Spencer Navin hit a two-run bomb to left center to give the Commodores a 9-3 lead. They added another run as they sent 11 batters to the plate and scored six in the inning to take an 10-3 lead into the fifth.
VU then scored two more in the sixth. Mizzou got a run in the seventh on a Dane Opel single as he tallied a double to right center to score Case Munson from first. The RBI was Opel's team-leading 18th this season, tying him with Dylan Kelly but just as Vandy had done all weekend, it answered with three more in the bottom half of the seventh to take a 15-4 lead.
Mizzou will close its home-and-home series with in-state rival Missouri State on Wednesday (April 17) at 6 p.m. It will be the Tigers' first home game in the month of April after playing the last eight games away from Taylor Stadium.