Tigers Drop SEC Opener to Gamecocks, 4-1

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Rob Zastryzny fanned 10 for the second consecutive start.</i>
Rob Zastryzny fanned 10 for the second consecutive start.

March 15, 2013

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COLUMBIA, Mo. - Kendall Keeton racked up three hits and scored the only run for Mizzou (5-8, 0-1) as the Tigers dropped their SEC opener by a 4-1 final against the fifth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks (16-2, 1-0). Starting pitcher Rob Zastryzny starred in the contest despite getting tagged with a loss for the Tigers, going seven innings and striking out 10 for the second straight game, allowing just two earned runs against South Carolina. Friday's game was witnessed by a Taylor Stadium regular season-record 3,145 fans.

In a schedule change, Mizzou and South Carolina will play the final two games of the series beginning tomorrow at 2 p.m. in a doubleheader. The scheduled game Sunday will be cancelled if the teams complete two games tomorrow.

A two-out hit by TJ Costen swung momentum in the Gamecocks' favor after Mizzou got on the board, as the South Carolina outfielder drove in two runs to push the lead to three. Logan Pearson had the only RBI for the Tigers, a hard-hit double to the right field wall. The Tigers racked up nine hits in the game, two more than their conference foes, but they stranded 10 runners on base.

Zastryzny needed only six pitches to get through the first inning, forcing two flyouts to right and striking out Joey Pankake looking to end the frame. Keeton led off the bottom of the first with a single to right, and Dane Opel singled to put runners on the corners with one out, but they were left stranded. Zastryzny worked a quick second, striking out two and forcing a flyout to right to end the inning, but Mizzou went down scoreless in the bottom of the inning.

The Gamecocks struck in the third as Grayson Greiner launched a homer to left, and Zastryzny pitched himself into a jam with back-to-back singles and a hit batter. He stepped up in a big way against Pankake, forcing a 1-2-3 double play to get out of the inning. Mizzou went scoreless in the inning, and Zastryzny worked around a leadoff single by LB Dantzler in the fourth to hold the deficit to one.

Mizzou threatened with back-to-back singles with no outs by Dylan Kelly and Case Munson, but they were left stranded. Greiner singled to lead off the fifth, and Pankake singled in a run to give South Carolina a 2-0 lead. Mizzou got on the board in the bottom of the inning after Pearson doubled in Keeton to cut the lead in half. South Carolina threatened again the sixth, putting runners on the corners with no outs after two errors, but Zastryzny responded with a strikeout, a popout before allowing a two-run double to TJ Costen to build the lead to 4-1 before Mizzou went down scoreless in the bottom of the frame.

After another solid inning from Zastryzny, Mizzou threatened with two on and one out. A spectacular effort from Graham Saiko on a diving play led to a fielder's choice to stem the tide, holding Mizzou scoreless in the seventh. Jake Walsh came in to pitch in the eighth, and threw two scoreless frames to hold the deficit to three.

The Tigers and Gamecocks square off again Saturday (March 16) at 2 p.m. All fans who donate a baseball glove get in free. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, follow the team on Twitter (@MUTigerBaseball) or check in to MUTigers.com.



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