Jake Ring tallied a big hit in the seventh inning as Mizzou rallied to top the Vols.
March 14, 2014
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Freshman outfielder Jake Ring (Ingleside, Ill.) led the way for Mizzou (9-7, 1-0 SEC) to beat No. 17 Tennessee (15-2, 0-1) 5-2 on Friday night (March 14) at Taylor Stadium in the SEC opener for both teams. The freshman outfielder claimed the game-tying hit and scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the seventh inning and Dylan Kelly (Roswell, Ga) and Keaton Steele (St. Joseph, Mo.) both tallied RBI doubles in the eighth inning, creating a three-run cushion for Steele to get his fifth save of the season.
Mizzou starter Brett Graves had another strong performance, notching his fourth game of at least seven innings pitched and holding Tennessee to just two runs, scattering seven hits. The junior righty claimed the win for the Tigers, improving to 3-1 on the season. Fifth-year senior Eric Anderson also had a solid outing, hitting his first career triple and driving in the decisive run as Mizzou upset the Vols. The win was the Tigers' first over a ranked opponent since April 21, 2013, when they bested the 19th-ranked Florida Gators.
Anderson tripled in the bottom of the first to lead off the game, but he was thrown out at the plate as he tried to score on a soft grounder to the right side, keeping the game scoreless. Graves was efficient through the next two innings, needing only eight pitches to get through the second and holding the Vols off the bases in the third. He allowed his first hit of the game with one out in the top of the fourth, and a two-out double from Christin Stewart gave UT a 1-0 lead through four innings.
Dillon Everett (Phoenix, Ariz.) singled to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning, but the Tigers couldn't string together hits to push a run across. The Volunteers extended their lead in the seventh, a solo shot from leadoff hitter Scott Price to give the visitors a 2-0 edge. Mizzou threatened in the bottom of the seventh as Zach Lavy (Auxvasse, Mo.) and Everett reached with one out, and Ring's RBI-single to right tied the game with help from a Tennessee error, leaving Ring on third. A sac fly from Anderson brought Ring home, giving Mizzou a 3-2 edge after seven.
Steele entered to pitch in the eighth, looking for the six-out save, fanning the first batter he faced as he threw a scoreless inning. The Tigers added on to the lead in the bottom of the eighth as Kelly doubled in Shane Segovia (Sinton, Texas) to push the edge to two, and Steele followed with a double of his own to give himself a three-run cushion heading to the game's final frame. Steele allowed two baserunners in the ninth but held the Vols at bay to seal the win.
Mizzou and Tennessee battle again Saturday (March 15) in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, follow the team on Twitter (@MizzouBaseball) or check in to MUTigers.com.
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