The Tigers' struggles at the plate continued on Tuesday, as they fell to the Minnesota Golden Gophers, 7-3 in Game 1 of a 2 game series in Columbia.
Mizzou jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when Ryan Lollis led off the game with a solo homerun. Lollis, who batted in the leadoff spot for the first time this season, went 3-5 with a homerun, an RBI, and two runs.
"I just looked at the lineup card, and I was just really surprised. I haven't hit leadoff since I've been here. It was weird at first, but I kind of like it. Hopefully it will settle, because I liked it a lot," Lollis said.
The lead that Lollis gave the Tigers did not last long, though. Minnesota came right back with a homerun of their own in the top of the 2nd, but this one was of the three-run variety off the bat of Justin Gominsky.
The Golden Gophers added another three-run home run in the 5th inning from catcher Kyle Knudson, and that was enough to bury the Tigers for good. Despite the fact that Mizzou combined to collect 11 hits, they could not capitalize on their numerous opportunities, and only scored three runs.
"They out hit us and they out pitched us," Coach Tim Jamieson said.
The team continues to underachieve at the plate, something that has plagued the team all season.
"Our team on base percentage is down, our team slugging is down, individual performances are down…it's a whole bunch of things and a whole bunch of guys. They're still capable, but it's getting frustrating," Jamieson said.
The team definitely is trying to get out of their funk at the plate as quickly as possible, but it will take time. Why is the team struggling so much at the plate?
"That's a question we'd all like to answer, but it's just not happening right now. We just need guys to go up there with a little more confidence and faith that they can get the job done for everyone," Aaron Senne said.
As the season passes the halfway point, a look to the remainder of the season does not bode well for the Tigers. The prospect of the Tigers making the College World Series is getting slimmer every day. The team definitely does not want this season to end like that.
"We need to win as many games as possible, and we can't come out like this. We just feel kind of flat. [This is] definitely not the same team we've seen in the past. There's a good sense of urgency; we need to win. I don't want to end the season early," Lollis said.
"We're playing every game to win, like it's our last. I mean, we have to," starter Ian Berger said.
"We've got to win each game one game at a time to dig ourselves out," Senne said.
The team will go after their 16th win tomorrow against the Golden Gophers at Taylor Stadium, starting at 2 PM. The plan is to run Johnny Wholestaff out to the mound. In other words, you will see a different pitcher every inning. The Tigers are 7-2 when they have used this strategy this season.
The lineup will continue to get shifted around until a good balance is found.
"We've got to string some guys together that are hot right now, and we don't have a lot of those guys right now. Our run-scoring opportunities may be few and far between, so we need to stack the guys that are swinging it good," Jamieson said.