Mizzou Takes Rubber Match, 9-2

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Blake Holovach tossed a career-best 5.0 innings and fanned eight Cardinal batters.</i>
Blake Holovach tossed a career-best 5.0 innings and fanned eight Cardinal batters.

March 4, 2012

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COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou baseball team (4-5) jumped on Ball State (2-6) early, taking a 5-0 lead after four innings en route to a 9-2 win on Sunday (March 4) at Taylor Stadium. Starting pitcher Blake Holovach had a career day in his first start, registering career bests in innings pitched with 5.0 and strikeouts with eight. Dillon Everett had a breakout game at the plate with three line-drive hits, including two doubles and two RBI. Blake Brown also had three RBI on the day.

Holovach was dominant early, striking out the side in the first inning. In the bottom of the frame, Conner Mach registered the only Tiger hit with a single to center. Holovach induced a groundout to second to start off the second inning, then surrendered his first hit to the following batter, followed by a double to right-center. Ball State's suicide squeeze attempt by the next batter failed as the pitch ran inside, and Ben Turner and Mach executed the run down perfectly. The next batter grounded out to short, and Mizzou escaped the inning without conceding a run. Eric Garcia singled in the bottom of the inning with one out, then stole second base two pitches later. Ben Turner's infield single drove in Garcia with a bad throw from the third baseman across the diamond, giving Mizzou a 1-0 lead into the third.

Holovach breezed through the third, striking out two of the three batters he faced in the inning. Mach singled again in the third inning, the only hit the Tigers tallied in the frame. The Cardinals opened the fourth with a single, then a fielder's choice allowed the runner to advance to second with one out. After striking out the following batter, Holovach gave up a walk and hit a batter with a pitch, but he struck out the next hitter with the bases loaded and two outs. The Tigers threatened in the bottom of the inning with runners on first and second and no outs, and the runners executed a perfect double-steal with each advancing a base. After Ben Turner walked, Everett doubled to left-center, scoring two runs for a 3-0 lead. Brown then singled in both runners, giving the Tigers a 5-0 lead. Brown stole second base with two outs, and an errant throw allowed him to advance to third, but Mach flew out to left to end the inning.

Holovach recorded his eighth strikeout in the fifth, again holding the Cardinals off the board. In the bottom of the inning, Scott Sommerfeld came through with a one-out, stand-up double down the left field line. After Garcia walked to first, Landon Lucansky reached base safely with an infield single to third base, but a double play ended the inning without Mizzou scoring. John Miles took over for Holovach in the sixth, and pitched a perfect 1-2-3 inning to start his day. Everett starting the bottom of the inning with a single to left, then advanced to second on a hit-and-run with Brannon Champagne's groundout to second. Mach flew out to center to end the inning.

Miles struck out the side in the seventh inning. Sal Belfonte took over on the bases after Sommerfeld walked in the bottom of the inning, and he swiped second before the inning ended. Jeff Emens took over on the mound after Miles gave up a leadoff walk, and Ball State scored their only two runs of the game from hits by the next two batters, cutting the Mizzou lead to 5-2. Jake Walsh came in from the bullpen with runners on first and second and one out, and he ended the Ball State rally without giving up another run.

Ben Turner walked to open the bottom of the eighth, then Everett doubled to left-center. Brown's walk loaded the bases for Champagne, who walked in the Tigers' sixth run. Mach singled in two runs with the bases loaded, then Dane Opel singled in a run to make the score 9-2. Walsh closed the game by facing four batters in the ninth, striking out two.

Mizzou takes on Nebraska-Omaha Tuesday (March 6) at 6 PM at home. Keep up to date with the Missouri Tigers baseball team by following the team's twitter page (@MUTigerBaseball) or on the University of Missouri's athletics site, MUTigers.com.



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