Mizzou Baseball Takes One of Three vs. No. 6 Texas A&M

Sunday, April 1-

The Missouri Tigers baseball team traveled to College Station, Tex. for their toughest test of the young season when they took on No. 6 Texas A&M in a weekend series.

The Tigers bats got going in the series opener on Friday tallying 16 hits to the Aggies nine. Six tigers had multi-hit games including second basemen Dillon Everett who went 3-4. Blake Brown also went 2-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Even with an excellent offensive output, fielding errors and shaky pitching were Missouri’s downfall on Friday night.

With Aggies on second and third with one out and the game tied 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth, Missouri closer Jake Walsh entered the game in relief for John Miles. Walsh intentionally walked his first batter to load the bases but then balked to allow the go-ahead run to score. Another walk in the inning allowed the Aggies to take an 8-6 lead and eventually win by that score.

The second game of the series was nothing like the first, featuring pitching dominance early on followed by a few thrilling innings. Junior pitcher Blake Holovach made his fifth start of the season and continued his recent dominance. Holovach pitched six and one-third innings and gave up only three earned runs.

Holovach started the game by pitching over five innings of no-hit baseball, which extended his streak of 24 innings without allowing an earned run. Eventually the Aggie batters got to Holovach and scored all three of their runs in the seventh.

The Tigers put up two runs in the fourth inning off of a solo home run by Brown and a Scott Sommerfeld sacrifice fly. Center fielder Brannon Champagne and third basemen Conner Mach both hit two-out RBI singles in the fifth to increase the Tigers lead to 4-0.

After Holovach gave up his three runs in the seventh, the game became close and very tense. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Aggies had a runner in scoring position on second. After Jeff Emens allowed a single, Champagne threw the runner out at home from center in a bang-bang play to end the game and give the Tigers a 4-3 victory.

The rubber matchup of the series on Sunday afternoon was once again a thriller. Each team jumped out early and the game was tied 1-1 after the first inning. Mach hit a one out double to score Brown for the Tigers. Kyle Barbeck made his first start of the season, but lasted only two-thirds of an inning and, giving up one run on two walks and one hit.

Missouri was forced to use six pitchers including Emens, who pitched the final inning of Saturday’s game. He pitched for over an inning on Sunday and gave up three earned runs. After all of the Tigers pitchers got banged around, Missouri was down 6-1 heading into the ninth inning.

After back-to-back singles, a walk and two consecutive fielder choices, the Tigers had scored three runs and were suddenly down just 6-4. Texas A&M seemed to panic in the worst moment, committing two errors and throwing two wild pitches to allow the Tigers to tie the game 6-6. Missouri could not score the go-ahead run and headed to the bottom of the inning tied.

After pitcher Brett Graves allowed a leadoff single, he picked the runner off at second after a sacrifice bunt moved the runner over. However, Graves then walked back-to-back hitters and Texas A&M’s Kray Bratsen hit a walk-off single just past Mach at third to give the Aggies a 7-6 win and a 2-1 series victory.

The Tigers are now 16-11 and 3-3 in Big 12 play. They will continue conference play when they take on the Baylor Bears at Taylor Stadium next weekend starting at 6 p.m. on April 6.

-Walt Scher
23 Sports
Staff Writer