Wendell Shepherd – 23 Sports

Mizzou baseball kicked off their 2021 campaign this weekend against the Lopes of Grand Canyon at GCU Ballpark in Phoenix, Arizona. The 2020 Tigers ended last season 11-5 on a seven-game win streak heading into SEC play prior to the pandemic shutdown. The Tigers return 21 scholarship players, including 10 seniors. Among those is first baseman and outfielder Brandt Belk who finished last season leading the team with a .467 batting average. Belk is 2021 Pre Season All-American.

The Tigers got off to a rough start to the season, dropping 3 of 4 games to the Lopes. Pitching struggled this weekend. Grand Canyon scored at least seven runs in every game. The Tigers hit the ball pretty well this weekend. In the 11-3 game one loss, senior Chad McDaniel led the team with two hits. Joshua Day and Andrew Keefer led the team in RBI’s with one each.

In Saturday’s doubleheader, Mizzou lost game one 8-4 and snagged a late-inning 9-7 win in game two. McDaniel continued his strong performance at the plate, going 3-6 across both games including a home run and two RBI’s. Redshirt sophomore Luke Mann had a very strong Saturday at the plate, going 3-7 across both games. Mann knocked in four of Mizzou’s nine runs in game two including a solo home run.

In Sunday’s dismal 10-3 loss, the Tigers had three errors and allowed nine hits to the Lopes. Seniors Mark Vierling and Andrew Keefer tied for the team’s lead in hits with two each. Senior Brandt Belk had a two-run HR and was responsible for all of the Tigers’ runs. The Tigers will look to get on track as they return home for a four-game series against Omaha beginning on Friday at Taylor Stadium.

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