Tigers drop home opener against UALR

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By Anthony Romano, 23 Sports

Tuesday, April 14—

After controlling the game for the first six innings, the Missouri baseball team was let down by their bullpen, and No. 18 Missouri (24-13) fell to Arkansas-Little Rock (14-19) 4-3 on Tuesday.

The Tigers came into the contest on a two-game winning streak and were looking to move a half game behind Vanderbilt for the lead in the SEC East.

Right-hander John Miles got the nod for Missouri looking for his second win of the season. Miles threw nearly three scoreless innings in Missouri’s win over UALR in 2012.

The Trojans started off strong, however, as left fielder Ryan Scott reached on an error by second baseman Brett Peel and advanced to third on a following groundout. A single from designated hitter Kyle Kirk brought home Scott and UALR took a 1-0 lead in the first inning.

Both teams would go hitless over the next three innings until the bottom of the fourth, when Missouri third baseman Josh Lester smacked a double to right field and advanced to third on a throwing error by right fielder Mitchell Scheuler.

Lester promptly scored on a sacrifice fly from freshman Trey Harris and the score was knotted at one after four innings.

In the sixth, the Trojan defense struggled mightily as Peel singled to lead off the inning followed by a single from Jake Ring which scored Peel after another error by Scheuler.

Then, a throwing error by catcher Drew Merten allowed Ring to come all the way around to score from second, giving the Tigers a 3-1 lead after six.

After allowing a leadoff single in the top of the seventh inning, reliever Andrew Schwaab was pulled and replaced by left-hander Austin Tribby. Tribby allowed a two-out double to Scott which drove in Scheuler from third base, making it a 3-2 Missouri lead after seven innings of play.

In the eighth, after getting Kirk to fly out, Tribby allowed a single to Merten before being replaced by closer Breckin Williams. Williams gave up two more hits in the inning, but the Trojans were only able to plate one as the score was tied heading into the ninth inning.

With Williams still in the game, UALR led off the ninth with a single from Hayden Martin.

two batters later, Tanner Rockwell knocked another base hit and moved Martin into scoring position. The next batter, Kirk, singled to right field, allowing Martin to score and the Trojans to take a 4-3 lead.

The Tigers nearly mounted a comeback in the bottom of the inning with two hits off reliever Cameron Allen, but Missouri’s Jack Klages grounded out to second base to strand both runners and seal the 4-3 Trojan victory.

Despite five strong innings from Miles, the bullpen could not get the job done, allowing eight hits and three runs over four innings of work.

The loss drops Mizzou to a measly 8-8 at Taylor Stadium—a record the Tigers would certainly like to improve on as the conference schedule winds down.

Missouri will host a three game set against Alabama before welcoming in Missouri State to close out the homestand. The first game against the Crimson Tide begins Friday at 6:05 p.m. from Taylor Stadium.