Horns Drop Opener to Mizzou
A desperate Missouri team upended Big 12 champ Texas, 6-5, Friday in Columbia. The outcome meant relatively little to the Horns; it meant the entire season for the Tigers.
Missouri needed a win to secure the eighth and final spot in the Big 12 Tournament which begins Wednesday, May 24, in Oklahoma City. Meanwhile, Texas boasts a No, 3 rating in the current RPI and is certainly a lock to at least host an NCAA Regional.
The setback, however, snapped a season-best 10-game winning streak for Texas. Head coach Augie Garrido commended the "championship spirit" of his club that rallied from a 6-1 deficit and had the tying run at third base before Hunter Harris grounded-out to end the contest. The Horns are now 38-16 on the season, 19-5 in Big 12 play. Missouri raised its record to 27-24, 10-15 in league action.
Tiger ace Max Scherzer (6-1) picked up the win while RHP Adrian Alaniz (7-3) shouldered the loss for the Horns. Both teams tallied eight hits while commiting an error,
Texas got on the scoreboard first but settled for one run despite loading the bases with no outs in the top of the third. Preston Clark drew a leadoff walk before Chais Fuller drove an 0-2 breaking ball into right field to put both runners in scoring position. Nick Peoples walked to put a Longhorn on every bag but Texas settled for an early 1-0 lead when Chance Wheeless hit into a double-play but plating Clark.
The Tigers knotted the affair in the home half of the frame, courtesy of two walks and an RBI-single from Hunter Mense.
Alaniz walked the third straight leadoff batter in the bottom of the fourth but worked his way out of the inning with a pop fly, a foul-out, and a strikeout. Missouri took the lead with Derek Chambers' solo-shot. Ryan Lolis issued a free bag following a catcher's intereference call on Clark. It led to another Tiger run. Lolis stole second and then rounded home on Brock Bond's RBI single. Texas trailed 3-1 after five.
Kyle Walker relieved Alaniz in the bottom of the sixth but the Tigers broke things open in the bottom of the seventh, The leftie gave up two walks and a wild pitch, bringing LHP Joseph Krebs out of the bullpen. The junior surrendered a bunt single, a two-RBI single to right, and a sacrifice fly as MU pushed three runs across. Texas now trailed, 6-1, with six outs remaining.
Missouri LHP Taylor Parker came on in relief in the top of the eighth. He didn't last long, Nick Peoples drew a lead-off walk before Chance Wheeless singled into left. Drew Stubbs walked to load the bases and Parker was done. RHP Travis Wendte (1.78 ERA) became the third Tiger hurler of the contest. Carson Kainer fanned for the third time Friday but Hunter Harris drove in a pair with a line drive up the middle to make it a 6-3 ballgame, (It matched a career-best five-game hitting steak for the senior).Bradley Suttle and Kyle Russell went down swinging to end the frame.
Krebbs gave up a two-out single in the bottom of the eighth before retiring the side to give Texas a chance in its final at-bat. Leadoff batter Preston Clark reached on an E5 while Chais Fuller followed with a ground ball into left field. Nick Peoples popped-up the catcher before Chance Wheeless' groundout moved both runners into scoring position. Drew Stubbs' infield single plated Clark to make it a 6-4 ballgame. Carson Kainer. 0-4 on night heading into the final frame, sent an 0-2 pitch into right to narrow the Tiger lead, 6-5. Stubbs represented the tying run at third but Harris grounded out to cap the opener of the three-game series.
Game Two is set for 2 p.m. (CST) Saturday,
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