April 12, 2013
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Mizzou baseball team squandered a pair of early leads on Friday night (April 12) as it fell to No. 3 Vanderbilt, 11-5, at Hawkins Field. Vanderbilt's Connor Harrell homered twice and drove in four runs for the Commodores as Mizzou starter Rob Zastryzny (Corpus Christi, Texas) was tagged with his sixth loss after pitching 4.0 innings, allowing six earned runs on eight hits while striking out six and walking four.
The loss drops the Tigers to 12-18 on the season and 4-9 in SEC play while the third-ranked Commodores improve to 31-4 overall and 12-1 in SEC play. Mizzou led 2-0 after the top of the first and 4-3 after the top of the second, but Zastryzny, who was feeling a little under the weather on Friday, struggled as Vandy tied the game in the bottom half of each of those frames before taking the lead for good with two runs in the fifth. Kevin Ziomek earned his seventh win of the season for Vanderbilt although the Tigers scored a season-high four earned runs off of him on six hits.
Mizzou got to Ziomek early as Case Munson (St. Charles, Mo.) led off the game with a walk before being sacrificed to second by Dane Opel (Edwardsville, Ill.). After an out by Keaton Steele (St. Joseph, Mo.), Dylan Kelly (Roswell, Ga.) and Kendall Keeton (Columbia, Tenn.) hit back-to-back, two-out doubles to give Mizzou a 2-0 lead after the top of the first inning.
But Zastryzny struggled in the first inning as he allowed a double to two-hole hitter Xavier Turner before issuing a one-out walk to Conrad Gregor. That set the stage for Connor Harrell who hit a three-run bomb to left field to put Vandy on top, 3-2, as the Mizzou lead was short-lived.
The Tigers then answered in the top of the second inning as a one-out, two-run single by Munson drove in a pair of runs to give Mizzou the lead back at 4-3. But again, it was short lived as Kyle Smith homered from the No. 8 spot to tie the game at 4-4 before Zastryzny retired the side.
Both pitchers settled in from there until Zastryzny ran into some trouble in the fifth, allowing a leadoff homer to Harrell, his second of the day, before back-to-back doubles gave Vandy a 6-4 lead. Jake Walsh (Plano, Texas), making his 12th appearance in the last 17 games, was filthy in relief of Zastryzny retiring the Commodores and stranding a Zastryzny runner on third, sending the game to the sixth with Vandy on top 6-4. But after a 1-2-3 Tiger half of the sixth, Walsh struggled and Vandy added three runs in the frame to take a 9-4 lead into the seventh. And that was all that Vandy needed as the Commodore bullpen shut down the Tiger lineup from there, with the exception of Opel's third homer of the season in the seventh, a solo shot to right.
The middle game of the three-game series will be played tomorrow at 4 p.m. in a nationally broadcasted game on ESPNU. Tom Hart and Ben McDonald will have the call. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.