COLUMBIA, Mo.- With the score tied and one out in the bottom of the ninth inning, Mizzou sophomore catcher Ryan Ampleman hit the first home run of his career to give the Tigers a 13-12 walk-off win over Kansas on Sunday at Taylor Stadium. That came after KU scored five runs in the top half of the ninth inning to tie the game at 12 all.
With the victory, Missouri concludes Big 12 play with a 16-11 record, matching its final record from a year ago. The Tigers won 10 of their final 12 conference games. They improve to 30-23 overall, marking the seventh-straight season in which the Tigers recorded at least 30 wins.
Mizzou had jumped out to a 6-1 lead after two innings on Sunday behind back-to-back three-run innings to start the game. The Tigers answered a two-run top of the fourth by the Jayhawks by posting a third three-run inning in the bottom of the fourth, which included a two-run triple from senior Ryan Lollis.
Kansas (35-18, 13-11) scored in four-consecutive innings to cut the lead to two, but the Tigers put two runs on the board in the seventh and scored one in the eighth to carry a five-run advantage into the ninth inning.
In the ninth, the Jayhawks plated a run on a single from Brian Heere and then, with the bases loaded, Tony Thompson hit his 17th home run of the season, a grand slam that tied the game. The next batter, Casey Lytle tripled, to put the go-ahead run on third base. But, after Preston Land was hit by a pitch, sophomore Phil McCormick came out of the bullpen to strikeout pinch hitter Jason Brunansky. McCormick then got James Stanfield to fly out to end the inning.
Senior Steve Gray led off the bottom of the ninth with a deep fly ball that was caught near the fence in centerfield. Ampleman stepped in next and sent a 2-0 pitch over the wall in right centerfield, giving the Tigers the win. The homer also gave MU the series victory and clinched the Border Showdown series for Missouri.
Ampleman was just 1-for 4 on the day, but had the biggest RBI of the game. Lollis, junior Greg Folgia and senior Kyle Mach all had three-hit games and Lollis drove in four runs. Mach had three RBI and extended his hitting streak to a career-best 13 games. That is the longest hitting streak by a Tigers since Jacob Priday hit safely in 14 straight games in 2006.
Missouri will conclude the regular season with a three-game series against Cal State-Bakersfield next weekend at Taylor Stadium. Game one is set for 6:30 p.m. on Friday.