Justin Camp (above) was dominant in Auburn's loss to Missouri on Friday night (Nate Lasch photo)
Columbia, Mo.--Auburn's Justin Camp allowed just an unearned run in seven innings of work, but Missouri's Tanner Houck was just a little better as his complete game shutout evened the series as Butch Thompson's club fell 2-0 on Friday night. Managing just four hits against the talented sophomore and striking out 10 times, Auburn's offense met its match in Houck.
Camp (2-2) was the hard-luck loser on Friday as he was dominant in his best performance of the year. The only offense of the night for Missouri came off an Auburn (15-16, 3-8) error in the first inning as Camp gave up a leadoff single to Kirby McGuire before a sacrifice bunt moved him into scoring positon with one out. Getting a ground ball from Trey Harris to the right side, Camp was bitten by the error bug as Melvin Gray’s throw was wild to first to allow McGuire to score.
That would be it for Missouri off Camp as he gave up just one run on five hits in seven innings while striking out three. Thompson said he thought his senior was special and was right there with Houck every step of the way in the loss.
"Houck did a great job, but I was equally just as proud and impressed with Justin. I thought he gave us a chance all night and saved some of our arms, but I thought he really settled in and started pitching. He was pitching with all three pitches and stayed down in the strike zone. The ball was blowing out hard to right field and I thought Justin just did a great job for us. We just battling and I think we left four on base. The guy pitched a really good game against us."
Auburn's offense was led by Niko Buentello, who had two of the four hits for the Tigers. Kyler Deese and Jackson Burgreen had the other two hits for Auburn as they just couldn't get anything going in the loss. They were hurt in a big way because of the absences of both Josh Palacios and Daniel Robert because of injuries, two of the better left-handed bats in the lineup. Robert injured his thumb on a collision at first base in Thursday's game and is out for the rest of the weekend. Palacios banged up his thumb on Thursday and was a late scratch from Friday's lineup.
The only real threat in the game for Auburn came in the fifth inning as when Burgreen singled and Melvin Gray walked to put the pressure on Houck. Following a Cody Nulph groundout to retire Gray at second, J.J. Shaffer came to the plate with a chance to do some damage but his strikeout ended the inning.
With very little offense Auburn kept the game close thanks to Camp until they gave away a run in the eighth inning to give Houck the cushion he needed to finish things off. Coming on for Camp, reliever Izaac Yarbrough walked three in his only inning of work to load the bases and a passed ball by catcher Blake Logan allowed the second and final run to score for Missouri. That was all Houck needed as his complete game improved his record to 4-2 on the season.
Auburn will send junior Andrew Mitchell (4-1, 4.17 ERA) to the mound on Saturday looking for its first SEC series win of the year. He'll face off against freshman left-hander Michael Plassmeyer (2-2, 5.13) for Missouri. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. and can be seen on SEC Network+.