Perhaps the Tigers have found the starter they've been trying to find all season long. Freshman Ryan Clubb pitched 4 2/3 shutout innings in Mizzou's 8-1 win on Tuesday over Indiana State.
Clubb made his first collegiate start against the Sycamores of Indiana State, and pitched as well as he could have. Through his 4 2/3 innings, he gave up 1 hit and 3 walks while striking out one.
"I was definitely nervous, just because it was my first collegiate start. I've been working towards this for a long time, and it was a lot of fun. I just went out there and threw like I knew how to throw," Clubb said.
Clubb got the green light from Coach Tim Jamieson to get the mid-week start against a non-Big XII opponent because of his performance throughout the season.
"He's just got it done. He's been the most consistent guy in Johnny Wholestaff. He's shown consistent improvement each time out. He gets a little bit better, a little more confident. It was an easy decision, he was the best of those guys, so it was his turn," Jamieson said.
His teammates were impressed with the quality of his first collegiate start.
"He set the tone for the game, no doubt about that," relief pitcher Scooter Hicks said of Clubb."
After Clubb was done, Scooter Hicks, who has 3 saves on the season, came in, seemingly to just pitch an inning or two. But when Hicks got Koby Kraemer to fly out to right to end the game, he picked up his third victory of the season. Hicks pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up one run on only 4 hits.
"I don't think I've ever thrown that long. I was definitely running out of gas at the end, as you could probably tell. I'm usually a one, inning and a third guy, but [Coach Jamieson] kept telling me after inning ‘how do you feel, how do you feel?' and I said ‘I feel fine,' so he [says] ‘all right, keep going out there,'" Hicks said.
The Tigers appreciated the great pitching performance, especially after giving up 19 runs in one game to Baylor over the weekend.
"I thought both guys did a good job of competing, and doing what we needed them to do, because the game was in the balance until about the 6th or 7th inning," Jamieson said.
On the offensive side of the game, the Tigers performed well, also.
"Some of our outs were productive or hit hard. I thought that, throughout the game, up and down the line up, we had a lot of quality at bats," Jamieson said.
Trevor Coleman particularly played well. The senior catcher reached base all 5 times he went to the plate, drawing 3 walks to go along with a double and a homerun, his 5th of the season.
"I've just been getting dirty, doing whatever I have to do to get on base, and that has helped my focus." Coleman said. "If I walk, I win. It's just a result of not getting a pitch to hit, and not chasing their pitches. It's something I take pride in."
The Tigers scored their 8 runs on 13 hits against the Sycamores, particularly getting at Kevin Mann a lot. The Indiana State pitcher went 2 2/3 innings and gave up 4 of the 8 Tiger runs.
The Tigers conclude their short 2-game series on Wednesday in a matinee affair. The game starts at 3 PM central time at Taylor Stadium. The Tigers will once again look to move to .500.