COLUMBIA, Mo. — After four innings on Tuesday night, it looked like the University of Missouri baseball team was well on its way to cruising to its third consecutive win.
It turned out to not be so easy for the Tigers.
Visiting Southern Illinois Edwardsville was able to rally, load the bases in the top of the ninth inning and bring the go-ahead run to the plate before reliever Austin Tribby struck out the final batter to secure a 9-6 non-conference victory at Taylor Stadium.
“We have to keep scoring runs,” Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. “That’s what we did all weekend (against Arkansas) is we kept scoring runs, even when we were up. And we didn’t do that today. It made it a lot more difficult than it had to be.”
Missouri followed up its Southeastern Conference series win against Arkansas over the weekend with a victory against SIU to improve to 18-13 overall. SIUE fell to 4-21.
The Tigers scored four runs in the first inning and three more in the second and led 9-0 after four innings.
Missouri got three runs and three stolen bases from junior center fielder Jake Ring, three RBIs from senior first baseman Zach Lavy and two hits and two stolen bases from sophomore left fielder Trey Harris to lead the offensive attack.
“We kind of let off the gas a little bit, didn’t keep doing what we started doing the first four innings and to be a great team he talked about how teams put up a lot of runs,” Lavy said. “If we were to keep the gas down then we would’ve been able to put up 18 or 20. We have to keep staying in the game, energy and focus.”
After that strong start, junior shortstop Ryan Howard said, the Tigers just couldn’t keep the offense going.
“We came out and got some guys on and Lavy had a big hit and Kirby (McGuire) drove one off the wall,” Howard said. “We just struggled a little bit then kind of keeping that going. I don’t know if it had anything to do with us being up 9-nothing and kind of becoming lackadaisical almost, but that’s the way baseball is sometimes too. Sometimes they just don’t fall like they were.”
Freshman right-hander Grant Macciocchi (1-0) made his debut with the Tigers, starting the game, and needed just 14 pitches to complete two scoreless innings.
The Tigers then used five relief pitchers to finish it out. Tribby, a senior lefty, entered the game with two outs in the ninth, walked the first batter he faced to load up the bases but then struck out the next on three pitches to earn his second save of the season.
“If that was an SEC game I would have been freaking out, honestly, at first base,” Lavy said. “But I sitting back at first base and I’m confident in our guys on the mound and when Tribby came in I knew he was going to fill up the zone and get the guys out.”