Mizzou Falls to Ball State in Home Opener, 5-2

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Landon Lucansky had a two-run triple in his second collegiate at-bat on Friday.</i>
Landon Lucansky had a two-run triple in his second collegiate at-bat on Friday.

March 2, 2012

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Columbia, Mo. - The Missouri Tigers' (2-5) home opener did not go as planned as they fell to the Ball State Cardinals (2-4, 0-0) by a final score of 5-2 in Taylor Stadium on Friday night (March 2). Starting pitcher Eric Anderson went 6.1 innings, while giving up five runs on eight hits and one walk, with three strikeouts on the day. Mizzou never got going offensively in this game, as the Tigers mustered just five hits in the contest.

The Tigers responded well in the field after giving up a single to Ball State's leadoff batter, when the second hitter bunted to third and was thrown out at first, then first baseman Landon Lucansky threw out the runner trying to advance to third. After walking the next batter, Anderson forced a pop out to short to end the inning. Offensively, Conner Mach registered Mizzou's first hit with a two-out flare to right, but Dane Opel's flyout to center ended the inning.

Anderson breezed through the first two outs of the second, but four straight singles plus an error led to two Ball State runs. Scott Somerfeld led off the bottom of the inning with a single to right, and Eric Garcia's sacrifice bunt moved Somerfeld to second. Ben Turner then singled to center, to put runners on the corners for Lucansky, who tripled to right to score both runs and tie the game at two. Dillon Everett and Sal Belfonte then both made outs to push the game to the third tied at 2-2.

Ball State went down in order in the top of the third, highlighted by Anderson's first strikeout of the game. Opel hit a two-out double to left-center in the bottom of the inning, but the Tigers were unable to take advantage. The Cardinals struck again in the top of the fourth with a leadoff home run, then went down in three batters. Missouri was unable to answer in the bottom of the inning, going down 1-2-3.

Neither team was able to score in the fifth, as both teams went down in order in the inning. Anderson carried the load in the field in the sixth, registering two strikeouts and throwing out the third batter at first base on a weak grounder. Mizzou couldn't take advantage, as they went down scoreless as well, including two line-outs to right-center field.

The Cardinals found some separation in the seventh when an infield single was followed by a triple, then a suicide squeeze brought in the runner for a 5-2 lead, ending the inning by taking advantage of a base-running mistake off a solid block by Turner behind the plate. While at bat, Turner drew a one-out walk, but he was left stranded at first.

Ball State threatened again in the eighth with runners on first and second and one out, but pitcher Jeff Emens was able to escape the inning unscathed after Turner's block of home plate with two outs forced the Ball State runner around the plate, and he was able to tag the runner before he could touch the plate for a score. Again, Missouri was held scoreless in the bottom of the inning.

An infield single for Ball State turned into a no out, runner on second situation, but Emens defused the situation by striking out the next batter, then forced a flyout to left with the runner on third, whose attempt to tag up failed due to another terrific block of the plate by Turner. With his performance in the series-opener, Emens has still not given up a run in his five appearances on the season. Mizzou went down in order in the bottom of the ninth.

Missouri's next game is Saturday (March 3) at 2 PM against Ball State in game two of the three-game set. Keep up to date with Missouri Tigers baseball on the team twitter page (@MUTigerBaseball) or on MUTigers.com.



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