Southern Miss Spoils Mizzou’s Season Opener

Friday, Feb. 15-

It was a bittersweet day for the Mizzou baseball squad as the Tigers officially began a new chapter, kicking of their inaugural SEC season. However, they did not come out victorious Friday, losing 5-2 to No. 23 Southern Miss.

The Tigers were shut out on the road by preseason All-American pitcher Andrew Pierce. He earned the win after seven strong innings, allowing only six hits, one earned run and a walk, while striking out nine on the night. On the other end, Tiger starter Rob Zastryzny got marked with the loss after allowing four hits and three earned runs over 5.1 innings.

The highlight of the game for the Tigers came from junior transfer Kendall Keeton. He was able to reach base in each of his four at bats, while bringing in an RBI single in the ninth. The Tigers unfortunately had their fair share of mistakes. They surrendered 10 extra base runners on the night. Mizzou pitchers issued six walks and the defense suffered two errors.

After going three up three down in the first, Zastryzny took the mound and allowed a leadoff single. Luckily, the Tigers were able to get out of it, putting Pierce back on the mound.

Following a quick second, the Tigers bats began to rally in the top of the third. Keeton’s double down the left field line led things off, setting the scene for Sal Belfonte. The quick-footed Belfonte laid down a bunt down the third base line and beat out the throw to get on base. He then stole second and got into scoring position. It allowed Mizzou to manufacture its first run of the Tigers’ SEC career.

The momentum took a quick turn for the worse as USM answered and quickly shut down the Tigers hopes. Mizzou attempted to rally back in the ninth but sophomore Case Munson hit into a double play to end the game.
The Tigers are back in action Saturday at 2 p.m. as they search for redemption over USM.

-Jenna Baker
23 Sports
Staff Writer