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Tigers Tally Walk-Off, Comeback Win, 4-3

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Brannon Champagne tallied walk-off walk in the bottom of the ninth.</i>
MUTIGERS.COM
Brannon Champagne tallied walk-off walk in the bottom of the ninth.
MUTIGERS.COM

April 21, 2012

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COLUMBIA, Mo. - Mizzou (20-17) put on a show for all 2,049 fans that were on hand for today's (April 21) game against Kansas State, coming back from down 3-0 to win by a final score of 4-3 with a walk-off walk in the ninth inning. The seventh-largest crowd in the history of Mizzou baseball watched as Brannon Champagne's ninth-inning walk, his third of the game, sealed the deal as Jake Ivory scored from third. Starting pitcher Blake Holovach went five innings, giving up three runs on five hits while fanning four before the Tiger bullpen threw four shutout innings to close the game. Champagne and Blake Brown kept their on-base streaks going, with Champagne's reaching 29 games and Brown's reaching 25.

Holovach started the game by walking the leadoff batter on five pitches, then a sacrifice bunt advanced the runner to second. A single to right put runners on the corners, then another single to right scored the run and put runners on first and second. A hot shot up the middle ricocheted off Holovach's leg to the glove of Eric Garcia, who flipped the ball to Dillon Everett at second before nailing the runner at first for the double play. Champagne singled with one out in the bottom of the inning, but was caught stealing for the second out of the scoreless inning. Holovach pitched a perfect 1-2-3 inning in the top of the second, throwing just 11 pitches in the frame. Garcia walked to start the bottom of the inning, but the Tigers were held scoreless. The Wildcats put two runners on base with one out in the third, but Holovach pitched out the jam without surrendering a run. Sal Belfonte singled with one out in the bottom of the inning, but was caught stealing at second.

Holovach sat the Wildcats down in order in the fourth, and the Tigers got two runners on base in the bottom of the inning but failed to score. Holovach kept dealing in the fifth inning, surrendering the first hit since the first inning en route to a scoreless frame. Brown led off the fifth inning with a line drive single to center, but a double play in the next at bat ended any Tiger threat. Kansas State threatened in the sixth with the bases loaded and no outs, and a single to right scored a run to make the score 2-0 Wildcats. Jeff Emens entered to pitch after the RBI single, and induced a flyout to center that scored another run to give Kansas State a 3-0 lead. After hitting a batter to load the bases again, a 4-6-3 double play ended the inning and kept the damage to just two runs. Conner Mach singled with two outs, then Champagne walked to put two on with two outs and force a pitching change for the Wildcats. Ben Turner's line shot to the gap was gloved before it could drop, and Mizzou was again held off the board.

Kansas State led off the seventh with a single, and a sacrifice bunt advanced the runner to second. Emens then forced two pop ups to end the inning scoreless. Garcia reached base on error to start off the bottom of the inning, and Andreas Plackis's single to right moved him to third with one out. Dane Opel's sacrifice fly to center scored Garcia from third, cutting the deficit to 3-1. After a passed ball allowed Plackis to advance to second, Belfonte's single to center brought Plackis in to score, reducing the Wildcat lead to 3-2. Jake Walsh entered in the eighth with an out and a runner on first, and forced a pop up to first base before striking out the final batter of the inning. Mach walked to start off the eighth, and Champagne advanced him with a sacrifice bunt, but he was left stranded on second. Walsh and Dusty Ross combined to pitch a scoreless top of the ninth, then Brown singled to left to start off the bottom of the inning. An error on Plackis's sacrifice bunt attempt then put runners on the corners with no outs, and Opel's line-drive single to center tied the game at three. Belfonte walked to load the bases with no outs, but two straight strikeouts led to Champagne's walk-off walk, winning the game 4-3.

The Tigers go for the sweep over Kansas State Sunday (April 22) at 1 PM. Keep track of Mizzou baseball on the team's twitter page (@MUTigerBaseball) or on MUTigers.com.