Tiger Baseball Battles Through Tough Series with No. 19 Florida

Sunday, April 21-

With just over a month left in the regular season, it’s do or die time for the Missouri baseball team. However, the final stretch hasn’t started off so hot, as the Tigers dropped a weekend home series to No. 19 Florida.

In the opener on Friday night, it was all offense as the teams’ Friday night starters were torched, with the two squads combining for 30 hits.

After giving up a run in the first, the Tigers answered back in the home half when four runners crossed the plate, with Dane Opel, Keaton Steele and Josh Lester each picking up RBI singles.

Missouri’s offense floundered after that while Florida’s flourished, as the Gators took an 8-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth. The Tigers picked up two in the eighth but couldn’t tie things up, and fell 8-6.

In game two on Saturday, the Tigers once again got on the board early thanks to Steele’s two run blast in the bottom of the first. They’d extend the lead to three in the second, but the bats died after a hot start. Luckily Mizzou was able to get great work on the mound as Brett Graves pitched 5.1 innings giving up only one run.

Later on, Steele moved to the mound. He was shaky at first allowing the first two Gators to reach base. After a sacrifice bunt and a ground out gave Florida a runner on third and two outs down only one, he had a chance to work out of the jam. But Casey Turgeon, who homered on Friday, drove in the tying run with a single.

The two teams each put runners in scoring position multiple times after, but failed to capitalize, as the contest went deeper and deeper into extra innings. Finally, in the top of the 15th, Turgeon once again came through, driving in the eventual winning run on a fielder’s choice, and Florida took game two 4-3.

Sunday’s game saw freshman Alec Rash go to the mound for Missouri, and the offense was able to give him run support from beginning to end. Logan Pearson homered to lead off the bottom of the first.

Rash never gave up the lead, and the Tigers piled on the insurance runs in the late innings, winning the series finale 8-2.

The final game of the series was something Mizzou can build off of, as the Tigers try to make a late season run before the conference tournament in May. The team has a quite a few winnable games coming up on the schedule, starting with a home game against Murray State at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

-Mike Bonomo
23 Sports
Staff Writer