When the teams met again Tuesday night, the host Tigers earned a measure of revenge with a 17-9 victory over the No. 23 Bears and snapped that dubious two-week-long losing skid.
“It’s been a frustrating season, not to mention the last couple weeks,” said Missouri coach Tim Jamieson, whose team improved to 21-21 on the year. “But the way guys came out today, they’re a lot more resilient than us old people.”
The Tigers got a boost from redshirt sophomore right-hander Cole Bartlett (3-4), who started his first home game of the season and pitched a fantastic game. He allowed only one run and two hits through five innings while recording four strikeouts and walking one.
“He pitched his butt off,” Missouri senior first baseman Zach Lavy said. “It was really big for us.”
Bartlett has proved to be a solid reliever for the Tigers, but had made just one career start before Tuesday night. The decision to start him, the righty said, was made about an hour before the game.
“I felt like he has been throwing a lot better,” Jamieson said. “I thought he was our best chance against (Missouri State).”
Missouri found a great deal of offensive success as well, with the lineup producing season highs in runs and hits (17).
Lavy went 3-for-3 with a single, double, home run and six RBIs, the most by a Tigers’ player since Eric Garcia in 2010. He raised his batting average to a team-best .352.
Benes went 3-for-5 with a home run and career-high five RBIs in a performance he called a “confidence boost” after his recent struggles.
“I can play a big role on this team if I do step up and go out there and have fun doing what I did there today,” Benes said.
Howard had two hits and scored four runs. Doherty, also a running back on the football team, had two hits and a career-best three RBIs. Brumfield had two hits and two RBIs.
Missouri will host Tennessee (24-17 overall, 6-12 in Southeastern Conference play) this weekend in a three-game series and will look to improve on its 4-14 conference record.