OXFORD, Miss.- Opening play in its seventh-straight NCAA Regional, the Missouri baseball team fell to Western Kentucky by a score of 11-5 on Friday in Oxford, Miss. It was the first loss for the Tigers in an NCAA Regional opener since 2006.
The first six batters to the plate for Western Kentucky in the top of the first all reached safely and all scored as the Hilltoppers jumped out to 6-0 lead. Wade Gaynor had the biggest hit of the inning with a three-run home run, his 23rd homer of the season. The six runs matched the most runs allowed by the Tigers in the first inning this season. They also gave up six in the first of the series finale with Baylor on April 11.
WKU (40-18) pushed its lead to eight as a pair of runs scored on a two-out single by Matt Payton in the top of the third inning.
Senior Ryan Lollis led off the bottom of the fourth inning with a double, the first hit of the game for Mizzou. After junior Greg Folgia drew a walk, junior Aaron Senne put the Tigers on the board with a three-run home run that easily cleared the right field wall. The home run was his fifth of the year and cut the lead to five.
The Hilltoppers added two runs in the fifth and one in the eighth on a solo homer by Matt Rice. The Tigers scored once in the bottom of the sixth when senior Kyle Mach singled to drive in one and they added a Lollis sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Missouri used eight pitchers in the game. Sophomore Nick Tepesch suffered the loss to fall to 6-5 on the year.
The last time MU lost its opening game of an NCAA Regional was against Pepperdine in the 2006. That year, the Tigers went on to win the Regional.
Mizzou (34-26) will play at 1 p.m. on Saturday against loser of Friday night's Ole Miss-Monmouth game.