The Tigers reached the .500 mark once again on Wednesday, moving to 14-14 by beating St. Louis University, 19-6 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
Mizzou's offense hit the Billikens early and often. After two innings of play, the Tigers had put a 11-spot on the board, scoring 4 in the first and 7 in the second. In fact, of the 25 combined runs, 14 were scored in the first two frames.
The Tigers did not stop after the first 2 innings, though. Behind the bat of Michael Liberto (4-5, 3 RBI) and his teammates, Mizzou put a run on the board in every inning except the 3rd and 5th. Each starter for the Tigers reached base at least twice in the game. The Tigers scored their season-high 19 runs on only 16 hits.
Greg Folgia, who batted cleanup, said, "I think everybody was seeing the ball well tonight. It was a fun game, I think it gave everybody confidence,"
Mizzou used the pitcher per inning strategy once again, and each pitcher performed well. Pitchers that logged time for the Tigers today were Kyle Gibson, Tyler Clark, Nick Tepesch, Ian Berger, Ryan Clubb, Ryan Gargano (2/3 inning), Phil McCormick (1/3 inning), Greg Folgia, Jeff Emens, and Kelly Fick. Strangely, the hurler who was roughed up the most was the Tigers' ace, Gibson. The impressive junior pitched the first inning and put his team in a quick hole by giving up 3 runs on 4 hits.
The Billikens had success with the bat, too. They only scored 6 runs, but collected 12 hits against Missouri's 10 pitchers.
The Tigers were not completely happy with the game, though, according to coach Tim Jamieson. He thought the team played well at the beginning and end, but in the middle they lost concentration.
"It's like a couple steps forward, and one step back, but we need to keep taking steps forward."
In the field, it seemed as if the ball was playing practical jokes on the players in honor of April Fools Day, as the teams combined to make 7 errors. On two occasions (one for each team), a fielder seemed to have the ball secure and ready to throw back to the infield, but lost the ball on the transfer.
This was the first of two games this season that the Tigers will play in a major league venue. The team will travel to Kansas City on April 22 to take on the rival Kansas Jayhawks. As for today, the team was ecstatic about playing in the Cardinals' home stadium.
"It was an experience I'll never forget." Folgia said.
Coach Jamieson, who is a Cardinal fan, had a great time taking in the place of Tony LaRussa, at least for one game. He hopes that the schools can continue to play at Busch.
"This is a great environment, and I'm glad a couple thousand people turned out. Hopefully that is enough for the Cardinals to do this on a regular basis…It's why you're in the game, to get to play in venues like this."
The team was not intimated by the huge stadium, though.
"I think in high school it would have been, now it's more of just taking it in. If you've ever seen Hoosiers, it says ‘take out the measuring tape, it's the same height, same basepaths," Folgia added,
The Tigers will look to push their record over .500 on Friday, when they return to Taylor Field and at 6:30 PM to resume Big XII play against the Oklahoma Sooners.