Tigers Lose Series Opener Against Baylor
COLUMBIA -- Mizzou (16-12) dropped the first of a three game set against the 16th-ranked Baylor Bears by a final score of 3-1 Thursday night at Taylor Stadium. Gavin Stark supplied the offense for Mizzou with a solo shot in the third inning, his first career home run and his second RBI of the season. Rob Zastryzny gave up three runs in eight innings for the Tigers, another solid start for the sophomore pitcher. The Tigers battled their way to six hits in the contest and loaded the bases in the final inning before falling in the series opener.
Zastryzny recorded the first out of the game with his glove, knocking a hard line drive down and throwing the runner out at first. Flyouts to left and center then ended the top of the inning. The Tigers went down in order in the bottom of the inning, then Zastryzny threw a perfect 1-2-3 inning again in the second. Mizzou failed to score again in the bottom of the second, and Baylor registered their first hit of the game in a scoreless top of the third. Stark led off the bottom of the third with a bomb that flew over the bullpen in left field to make the score 1-0 Tigers. Eric Garcia followed the shot with a single to right, but Mizzou was unable to score again in the frame.
Baylor threatened in the top of the fourth with runners on first and second and one out, but Zastryzny induced a pop up to short and a group out to end the inning. Scott Sommerfeld walked with an out, but a double play ended the bottom of the frame scoreless. The Bears led off the fifth with a double down the right field line, then a pop up on a bunt was followed by a groundout to second to move the runner to third with two outs. A strikeout then ended the inning, and preserved the one-run lead for Mizzou before a scoreless top of the sixth. Baylor jumped on Zastryzny again in the sixth with a leadoff single, then a two-out walk put another runner on base. A flare over Garcia scored Baylor's first run of the game, tying the score at 1-1. With the bases loaded and two outs, a single down the third base line scored two more runs to give the Bears a 3-1 lead. Garcia reached on a Baylor error to start off the bottom of the frame, but a double play cleared the bases in a scoreless bottom of the sixth.
Zastryzny remained on the bump through the seventh, and pitched a perfect scoreless frame, featuring a strikeout against the final batter he faced. Mizzou was unable to put a runner on base in the bottom of the inning, and trailed by two as the game headed to the final two innings of the game. Baylor put a runner aboard with two outs in the eighth, but Ben Turner threw the runner out as he tried to steal second. Dane Opel notched an infield single with an out in the bottom of the inning, but a double play quickly ended the Tigers' chance to score. Dusty Ross entered the game to pitch in the ninth, and a leadoff walk put a runner on first, then a batter's interference call on a steal attempt recorded the first out of the inning. A flyout to center and a pickoff at first by Turner ended the inning. Garcia led off the bottom of the frame with a single to left. After a foul out, Blake Brown's infield single put runners on first and second. Brannon Champagne singled to center to load the bases, extending his on-base streak to 20 games. A flyout followed by a groundout ended the inning scoreless, and Mizzou fell by a final of 3-1.
The Tigers play Baylor again Friday at 6 PM in game two of a three-game series.