COLUMBIA, Mo. — The Missouri Tigers baseball team won its first home series of the season against the University of Illinois- Chicago over the weekend, winning three of four games.
The Tigers improved to 11-3 on the year, outscoring Illinois-Chicago (4-7) 32-18 over the four-game series. Missouri committed an alarming 10 errors, however, which could have swung the balance of the series.
Friday: Missouri 7, Illinois-Chicago 4
Right-handed veteran pitcher Reggie McClain started the series opener, tossing 7 2/3 innings and allowing two runs on seven hits. McClain recorded a career-high seven strikeouts before being replaced by Cole Bartlett in the top of the eight inning. Bartlett faced only two batters in eighth and allowed one hit and a run. Brian Sharp replaced Bartlett in the ninth inning. Sharp retired the first two batters he faced, before allowing a single that would spark a two-out rally. Sharp (2-0), allowed a second single before balking in the tying run but earned his second victory of the season.
Brumfield scored three runs, one of which came from a key single in ninth inning, and Ring added three hits in four at bats with one RBI. It was Howard, however, who stole the show with a walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of ninth to give the Tigers a 7-4 victory.
Saturday Game 1: Illinois-Chicago 4, Missouri 2
Junior right-hander Tanner Houck (2-1) suffered his first loss of the season after allowing three runs on six hits while recording six strikeouts and hitting a batter.
Illinois-Chicago took control of the game with a three-run third inning, a rally that started with the Flames’ leadoff hitter striking out but reaching base on a wild pitch.
Missouri didn’t make much noise on offense in the first game of their double header. While the Tigers did have nine hits, they left seven base runners stranded.
Despite general struggles on offensive, the bottom of the order did see some success. First baseman Zach Lavy, who batted eighth in the order, went 3-4 with three singles and an RBI.
Saturday Game 2: Missouri 10, Illinois-Chicago 5
Senior left-handed pitcher Austin Tribby (2-0) allowed five runs on five hits, along with seven strikeouts, but earned the win after the offense came alive.
Tribby ran into trouble early in the game, walking and hitting the first two batters he faced, and allowed three of his five runs in the first two innings of the game. Redshirt sophomore righty Cole Bartlett replaced Tribby in the top of the sixth, and allowed only two hits in his 3 1/3 innings and earned his second save of the season.
Missouri seemed to forget the offensive struggles they faced in their first game of the day, as the Tigers scored 10 runs on 11 hits. Howard had three singles and scored two runs to lead the Tigers offensively. The 10 runs came off of the bats of five different Tigers. Sophomore left fielder Trey Harris plated a season-high four RBIs with a sacrifice fly in the first and a three-run double in the fourth.
Sunday: Missouri 13, Illinois-Chicago 5
Freshman left-hander Michael Plassmeyer (1-1) started his first game at Taylor Stadium and earned his first win, allowing four runs on seven hits and striking out four in six innings.
“He did a good job,” sophomore catcher Brett Bond said of Plassmeyer. “He’s a freshman guy coming out here and he had good composure.”
Plassmeyer was replaced in the seventh by Liam Carter, who allowed one run on two hits in two innings. Freshman righty Graham Ruopp replaced Carter in the ninth, striking out two batters and walking one to finish the game.
Missouri had an absolute slugfest at the plate on Sunday, with home runs from Howard, Ring, Lavy and Bond and some some help from the strong wind blowing out to left field.
“Hunter [Mense] actually told us that if we get the ball up in the jet stream, as he called it, then it was going to go, and it sure as heck did,” Lavy said.
Harris showed good discipline at the plate, going 3-for-3 as well as reaching on a walk and being hit by a pitch.
The bottom three hitters in the lineup — Harris, Bond and freshman second baseman Ian Nelson — combined for six hits in 11 at bats.
“It’s huge … obviously if those guys are getting on base ahead of your best hitters,” Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. “It’s a lot easier to score runs.”
Missouri will face Alabama A&M (2-11) in a mid-week non-conference series on Tuesday and Wednesday.