Tigers Rally Falls Short as Texas Wins Series Opener
COLUMBIA -- After falling behind 5-0, the Mizzou baseball team (23-22) battled back but could never quite match the No. 25 Texas Longhorns as it dropped the series opener by a final score of 6-4. Friday night at Taylor Stadium.
The Tigers cut the Texas lead to as low as 5-4, but could never even the game. Starting pitcher Rob Zastrysny gave up five earned runs over 7.2 innings, holding the Longhorns to just one run over the final three he pitched. Mizzou notched just five hits in the game, with three going for extra bases as Andreas Plackis tripled and Ben Turner and Eric Garcia doubled.
Zastrysny's first pitch went for an out, the first of a perfect first inning before the Tigers were also sat down in order in the bottom of the first. The Longhorns tallied their first hit of the game with a leadoff single in the second, and a sacrifice bunt advanced the runner to second. A double from the following batter gave Texas a 1-0 lead. After the runner was able to steal third, Zastrysny tallied his second strikeout of the game. He then walked the next batter before forcing a pop up to Eric Garcia to end the inning. Dane Opel's one-out walk in the bottom of the second supplied Mizzou with their first baserunner of the game, and a fielder's choice put him on second with two outs, but a flyout ended the inning. Texas got a one-out single on a ball that caromed off Zastrysny's glove, and the following batter hit a home run that easily cleared the left field wall to give Texas a 3-0 lead. A single after an error by Zastrysny put runners on first and second with one out, but a 1-6-3 double play ended the threat. Dillon Everett reached on error with one out, and advanced to second on a tapper back to the pitcher, but a groundout to third ended the inning.
Texas registered one his in the fourth, but was held off the board for the first time in three innings as Turner nailed the runner trying to steal second for the final out. Conner Mach was hit by a pitch with one out, but a double play quickly ended the inning. Texas struck with two outs again, scoring two runs as they were down to the final out of the inning for a 5-0 lead. Plackis got the Tigers' first hit of the game to lead off the fifth with a triple off the left field wall, and Case Munson walked with one out to put runners on the corners. A balk then brought in the Tigers' first run, and advanced Munson to second. A flyout to center moved Munson to third, but a groundout ended the threat with the score 5-1, favoring the Longhorns. After getting the first out of the inning, the Longhorns got a runner aboard by virtue of a walk, and a sacrifice bunt advanced the runner to second. A flyout to center then ended the inning scoreless. Blake Brown led off the bottom of the sixth with a walk, then Turner's double to left-center scored Brown to make the score 5-2. Turner then advanced to third on Mach's flyout to center, and then scored on Opel's groundout to first, cutting the Texas lead to 5-3.
The Longhorns went down in order in the seventh as Zastrysny remained strong. Garcia then led off the bottom of the inning with a double to left, and Sal Belfonte's sacrifice bunt advanced him to third with one out. Everett's grounder to short allowed Garcia to score to cut the Texas lead to 5-4, and Everett reached as the shortstop fell down. An error on a pick off move allowed Everett to move to third with two outs, but a strikeout ended the inning and stranded Everett on third as the game headed to the eighth. After Texas put two on with two outs, Jake Walsh entered to pitch, and walked the first batter he faced to load the bases. The next batter was hit in the shoulder with a curveball, extending the Longhorn lead to 6-4. Mizzou went down in order in the bottom of the eighth. Ryan Yuengel pitched the ninth inning for the Tigers, and he struck out two batters in the scoreless inning. Mizzou was able to put two aboard in the ninth with two infield singles, but the Tigers were unable to score in the final frame.
Mizzou will take on the Longhorns Saturday at 1 PM. Mizzou basketball coach Frank Haith will be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch for that contest.