Jake Walters probably pitched better than he has in a lot of victories, but the Alabama starter was on the wrong end of a pitcher’s duel as the Crimson Tide fell to Missouri, 3-0, in the Southeastern Conference opener for both teams at Sewell-Thomas Stadium Friday.
Walters (3-2) threw a career-high 125 pitches in five innings and struck out eight, allowed just one hit. Walters, however, also issued eight walks, the most in his career. He allowed two unearned runs.
Missouri starter Tanner Houck (3-1) bested Walters’ effort, throwing seven innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just one hit and issuing three walks while striking out nine for the win.
Alabama is now 10-8, while Missouri has won 17 games in a row after having lost its season-opener.
The teams meet in the second of three games at 1 p.m. CDT Saturday. Senior right-hander Nick Eicholtz will pitch for Bama, while Mizzou will go with sophomore lefty Michael Pl;assmeyer. SEC Network will televise the game.
"I'm really proud of the way our guys fought tonight,” said Alabama Coach Greg Goff. “The biggest thing that stuck out at me were our 14 strikeouts, which seven or eight of those we were caught-looking. I'm disappointed in myself that our guys weren't as prepared as we should have been. Before the game, I said 'The little things are going to matter,' and we just didn't execute tonight."
In the top of the first inning, Missouri scored all the runs it would need with a lot of help from Bama. The first three batters reached – a single, a walk, and a catcher’s interference to load the bases. Another base on balls scored one and a sacrifice fly made it 2-0.
The Tigers would add one more in the ninth on a solo home run from Trey Harris.