Brett Graves has not allowed a run in 15.0 innings.
March 1, 2014
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Junior righty Brett Graves extended his shutout streak to 15.0 consecutive innings as he pitched Mizzou to a 4-0 win over UIC on Saturday night (March 1) at Gary Hogan Field. It is Mizzou's first shutout since April 5, 2013, at Georgia. Graves went 8.0 innings, throwing 96 pitches, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out six, just one off of his career-high. Dylan Kelly went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Josh Lester and Kendall Keeton each turned in two-hit performances. The Tigers are now 4-6 on the season and snapped a five-game losing streak. Over his last two starts, Graves has allowed just five hits and a walk while striking out 12 in 15.0 innings.
The Tigers got on the board first in Saturday's nightcap as Eric Anderson scored on a single by Dylan Kelly to start the game. Anderson set the tone with a great at-bat as he was hitting in the leadoff spot for the first time in his career, hammering a ball into center field for a single. That set the tone for the Tigers, who tallied three hits in the inning. But despite those three hits, the Tigers left a pair on base in the top of the first. Either way, the run in the first was more run support than Graves got in his last start against Wake Forest and he cruised through the next eight innings.
Graves came out in the first and pitched around a two-out single to retire the side on three come-backers to the mound. He then came out in the second and worked around a pair of errors, one on his own accord as he tried to pick off the runner at first base, but he look dominant through two. Graves allowed a two-out hit in the third on a ball he nearly gloved, but he was able to work through it, throwing just 41 pitches through three innings (32 strikes).
The Tigers nearly scored again in the top of the fifth inning after Jake Ring led off the frame with a single and moved to second on a throwing error. Josh Lester tallied a hit through the right side and ring tried to score from second, but UIC right fielder Conor Philbin threw Ring out and the Tigers failed to score.
Graves was dominant again in the bottom of the fifth and Mizzou then scored on an RBI fielder's choice off the bat of Zach Lavy. The Tigers had another run thrown out at the plate, but took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth. Graves walked his first batter in 13.2 innings to open the bottom of the sixth inning. After a pair of groundouts, Graves got a strikeout on a 2-2 count to send the game to the seventh with Mizzou on top, 2-0.
The Tigers added another run in the seventh inning as Graves continued to deal, taking a 3-0 lead into the bottom half of the inning. Graves worked around an error in the frame thanks to a great 5-4-3 double play and then he retired the side in the eighth in dominating fashion, needing just 95 pitches to get through eight innings. Keaton Steele pitched an easy 10-pitch ninth to seal the victory.
The Tigers postponed their final game of the weekend with UALR and will head back to Columbia, Mo., tonight to avoid bad weather. Mizzou and UALR will make up the game later this season in Columbia. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouBaseball.
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