Marcus Thomas, 23 Sports

Missouri dropped two of the three games to get the 2019 season underway in Jacksonville, FL to the North Florida Ospreys. The Tigers dropped the first contest 5-4, won the second game 5-4, and then lost the rubber match 4-2.

In the first ever match up between the Tigers and Ospreys, Missouri started Tyler LaPlante, who went five innings and gave three runs, two of them earned, while also striking out three Ospreys.

Ian Bedell recorded the loss for the Tigers and Nick Marchese picked up the win for the Ospreys.

The Tigers offensively were lead by shortstop Chris Cornelius, who went 2-3 with both a home run and a double and drove in two of the Tigers four runs.

The Ospreys were lead by right fielder Wes Weeks, who went 4-4 with two RBIs and a home run.

North Florida was able to strike first in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI groundout by DH David Maberry. They extended their lead the very next inning with a single by Wes Weeks. Missouri was able to get on the board themselves in the third inning with a groundout by catcher Chad McDaniel. The Tigers were able to push across another run in the fifth inning with a foul out by left fielder Alex Peterson. The Ospreys responded in the fifth with a single up the middle by their center fielder Tanner Murphy to give UNF a 3-2 lead. In the sixth inning the Tigers were able to tie up the game with a double by shortstop Chris Cornelius, who then followed up the double with a home run in the eighth inning to tie the game back up after the Tigers gave up a home run to Weeks in the seventh.The game’s final run was scored by Ospreys first baseman Alex Reynolds, who had a sacrifice fly to the right fielder.

The next day the Tigers were able to ride the bullpen and the hot bat of first baseman Kameron Misner to a 5-4 victory for the first Tiger win of the season.

Misner lead the Tiger offense, going 3-4 and driving in three of the five Tigers runs. Misner opened the game with an RBI double in the first inning and then hit home runs in both the third and sixth innings.Third baseman Austin James was able to score a run off of a wild pitch in the second by Osprey’s pitcher Brandon Rietz, who had three on the day in 4.1 innings of work. The fifth Missouri run was scored in the sixth inning off of a double by the designated hitter Peter Zimmerman.

The Ospreys were able to counter the Tigers offensively by scoring two runs in the first with a single by second baseman Jay Prather and with the other two runs coming from a double by shortstop Tanner May.

Konner Ash picked up the first win of the season, pitching three innings and allowing zero runs to score, and TJ Sikkema converted the save opportunity in the ninth while striking out one.

Ethan Michaelis drew the loss for the Ospreys, surrendering two runs in 2.2 innings.

In the series finale the Tigers lost another close one, 4-2.

Missouri starter Jacob Cantleberry was able to go six innings, allowing three hits and striking out ten batters on 89 pitches before handing the ball over to the bullpen.The Tigers were able to push across the first two runs of the game with first baseman Tony Ortiz driving them both in with a single in the first and a ground out in the third.

Unfortunately for Missouri, Lukas Veinbergs wasn’t able to finish what Cantleberry had started, recording the loss for the Tigers by giving up all four Osprey runs in only a third of an inning of work.

Max McKinley recorded the win for North Florida, going seven innings with eight strikeouts. Eddie Miller was able to close out the game and earn the save for his first of the year.

The Tigers are back in action on Tuesday February, 19 in Tallahassee, FL for a single game against Florida A&M at 3 p.m.