Tigers Move Closer to SEC Tournament
COLUMBIA, MO - The Mizzou baseball team (17-30, 9-19) moved closer to earning a spot at the SEC Tournament on Thursday (May 16) night against Kentucky (29-23, 10-18), taking advantage of RBIs from Keaton Steele, Logan Pearson and Shane Segovia in the 4-2 victory at Taylor Stadium. Tiger senior Dane Opel also knocked in a run, scoring freshman Josh Lester in the fourth inning.
Brannon Champagne also had a big day for the Tigers, going 1-for-3 at the dish and scoring a run in addition to getting his first outfield assist of the year, gunning a runner at home plate. Brett Graves scored his second win of the season, allowing just three hits and one earned run over five innings of work, striking out three along the way. Relievers Jake Walsh and Steele finished off the game with four scoreless frames, finishing off a big win. Steele earned his first cave of the season after pitching the final two innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three.
Steele had the only hit for either team in the first inning, and the Tigers threatened again in the second as they loaded the bases with two outs, but a lineout to right ended the frame scoreless. Graves then worked himself into a jam in the third, issuing three straight free passes with one out to load the bases, but a 4-6-3 double play held Kentucky off the board. Mizzou jumped on top in the third, scoring two runs as freshman Josh Lester and senior Scott Sommerfeld crossed the plate on RBI hits from Opel and Segovia.
Kentucky responded with one run in the fourth, loading the bases with two outs before single by Paul McConkey brought home one run. Champagne nailed a second runner trying to score, keeping the Tigers on top 2-1. Champagne then wore a fastball to start off the bottom of the frame, eventually coming around to score on a two-out single from Steele for a 3-1 edge. The Wildcats wasted no time answering, tacking on their second run of the game to make the score 3-2.
Mizzou extended the lead in the bottom of the inning, cashing in on a two-on, no-out situation with Pearson's one-out groundout to second for a 4-2 advantage. The scoring then slowed in the sixth, as Walsh threw two scoreless innings for Mizzou until Steele took over on the bump in the eighth inning, throwing a scoreless frame. He worked a quick ninth inning, too, striking out the final two batters he faced.