Brett Graves went 7.0 innings for the fifth consecutive satrt.
March 23, 2014
OXFORD, Miss. - No. 14 Ole Miss scored six runs in the eighth inning to spoil a great start from junior righty Brett Graves (St. Charles, Mo.) as the Mizzou baseball team fell, 8-3, on Sunday afternoon (March 23) at Swayze Field. The loss completes the sweep for Ole Miss and drops the Tigers to 11-12 on the season and 1-5 in SEC play while Ole Miss moves to 21-4 and 4-2 in league play. Senior righty Keaton Steele (St. Joseph, Mo.) took the loss, allowing the Rebels' eighth-inning rally.
Graves was masterful despite being struck in the head by an errant throw Friday night during pregame warm-ups. He went 7.0 innings, allowing just four hits and two earned runs while walking one and striking out six. He left in line for his fourth win of the season. Senior leadoff hitter Eric Anderson (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) tallied his sixth multi-hit game of the season and senior infielder Shane Segovia (Sinton, Texas) extended his on-base streak to a team-long 17 consecutive games in the loss. Logan Pearson (Bentonville, Ark.) scored a pair of runs as well.
Anderson led off the game with his third double of the season, extending his on base streak to 16 consecutive games. He came around to score on an RBI groundout by Kendall Keeton (Columbia, Tenn.), giving Mizzou a 1-0 lead, its first advantage of the series.
Graves came out and showed great poise and no effects of getting hit in the head during warm-ups on Friday and retired the side in the first inning on just 13 pitches and then breezed through the Ole Miss order on just seven pitches in the second inning. After going through the order the first time on just 30 pitches without a baserunner, Graves allowed a leadoff single and a run on a two-out RBI single by Will Allen as the Rebels evened the game in the fourth.
But as quick as Ole Miss tied the game, the Tigers took the lead back. Pearson, making his second start of the weekend and third since recovering from a hamstring injury, laced a leadoff single through the right side. Steele then roped a 3-1 pitch into the corner in left field and it was bobbled, allowing Pearson to score from third, giving Mizzou a 2-1 lead after 4.5 innings.
After breezing through the fifth, Graves then allowed a leadoff single in the sixth but Segovia and Josh Lester (Columbus, Ga.) turned a slick double play to send the game to the seventh with the Tigers on top, 2-1. Graves needed just 58 pitches to get through six innings.
Mizzou then got Graves another run of support in the top of the seventh. Pearson drew a leadoff walk and an error on a grounder off the bat of Steele put runners on the corners with no outs and Ryan Howard (St. Charles, Mo.) lifted a sacrifice fly into center field to give Mizzou a 3-1 lead. It was his team-leading 13th RBI this season, eight of which have come in his last nine games as he is hitting .346 in that span.
Ole Miss got to Graves in the seventh as he waivered just a bit, allowing a leadoff infield single and a four-pitch walk to open the frame. He then committed a balk to move the runners to second and third with no outs. He struck out Sikes Orvis and allowed a sacrifice fly to Holt Perdzock before a strikeout to get out of the jam still in line for the win.
But the Rebels tallied six runs in the bottom of the eighth off of Steele, the Tiger closer, to seal the win and the series sweep.
The Tigers will be back in action midweek as they will play UALR in a doubleheader at Taylor Stadium at 1 p.m. on Tuesday (March 25). For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouBaseball.
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