Holovach tossed the Tigers' first complete game shutout since 2009.
March 17, 2012
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Blake Brown's bat helped power the Mizzou baseball team (12-5) to its second win of the weekend on Saturday (March 17) by a final score of 4-0. Brown's two-run home run in the fifth inning gave the Tigers a four-run cushion, which proved to be more than enough separation for starting pitcher Blake Holovach, who threw his first career complete game, striking out four and surrendering just four hits along the way. Holovach's career-best performance was also the first complete game for Mizzou since Nick Tepesch during the 2010 season and the first complete game shutout since Kyle Gibson's in 2009. The win also boosted Missouri's win streak to double digits as they have now won 10 straight, their best winning streak since 2008.
Holovach started his day by throwing a perfect 1-2-3 inning, highlighted by a great snag on a line drive at the hot corner by Conner Mach. Brannon Champagne doubled to lead off the bottom of the first, then Brown's sacrifice bunt moved Champagne to third. The Tigers then had runners on the corners after Mach was plunked with a fastball, and Scott Sommerfeld walked to load the bases with two outs. Eric Garcia's hard line drive was gloved by the High Point third baseman to end the inning, keeping the Tigers off the board. After a scoreless top of the second, Ben Turner led off the bottom of the frame with a single to right, but was doubled off when Gavin Stark's liner was caught by the second baseman, and the game went scoreless to the third.
Holovach remained strong in the third, sitting down all three batters he faced in the inning. Mach singled with two outs, then scored on Dane Opel's single to right to make the score 1-0 heading to the fourth. High Point registered its first hit of the game with two outs in the fourth on an infield single, a dribbler between first and second. The single was followed by a double down the left field line, but the following batter popped up in the infield to end the inning. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Turner launched his first career home run over the left field fence to make the score 2-0 in favor Tigers. Mizzou held High Point scoreless again in the fifth, then threatened in the bottom of the frame as Champagne reached second after an error followed by a passed ball. Brown then came up and launched a moon shot cleared the bullpen in left field to take a 4-0 lead.
The Panthers led off the sixth with a bunt single, then a sacrifice bunt moved the runner to second, but they were held scoreless again. In the bottom of the inning, Mizzou had the bases loaded with two outs for Champagne, but his lineout to center ended the threat. Holovach remained dominant in the seventh, sending High Point down in order before the Tigers went down 1-2-3 themselves. The Panthers were held hitless again in the eighth, featuring a great effort play by Stark at first, fielding a hot shot and diving to beat the runner to the base. Sommerfeld led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch, but was caught stealing two pitches later. Turner, Stark, and Everett all reached base with two outs, but were left stranded.
Holovach took the mound in the ninth in search of his first career complete game. After surrendering a single to the first batter, Holovach forced two flyouts, and then walked a runner. The ensuing batter's flyout to Brown in right field sealed Holovach's complete game and the victory for Mizzou.
The Tigers look to complete the sweep of High Point Sunday (March 18) at noon. Keep up to date on Mizzou baseball by following the team twitter page (@MUTigerBaseball) or on MUTigers.com.
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