April 23, 2011
WACO, Texas - The Mizzou baseball team earned its first Big 12 series win after topping Baylor, 10-1, on Saturday afternoon (April 23) at Baylor Ballpark. The Tigers' 10 runs and 16 hits are their most in a Big 12 game this season and it marks the first time that the Tigers have scored in double digits during league play since putting up 11 runs against Texas on May 23 last season. Mizzou was led at the plate by senior designated hitter Jonah Schmidt, who went 5-5, good for the Tigers' first five-hit performance since Aaron Senne did so against Purdue on March 30, 2010.
Aside from Schmidt, plenty of Tigers had a great day at the plate. Freshman CJ Jarvis tallied the first multi-hit game of his collegiate career, going 4-4 while tallying his first collegiate RBI in the ninth inning. Catcher Ben Turner also had a nice day at the plate, going 2-5 with three RBI and a pair of runs scored. Conner Mach went 1-4 with a pair of RBI and Blake Brown put together a good performance at the dish, going 2-5 with a pair of runs scored and an RBI. Andrew Thigpen went 1-5 with two runs scored and an RBI as well.
The Tigers got a great start from junior righty Matt Stites, who threw 7.2 innings scattering just four hits and allowing just one earned run while striking out a career-best nine in the start. The only run he allowed was a wind-aided homerun to right field that just snuck over the wall in the fourth inning. He threw a career-high 123 pitches in the game, topping his previous best of 118 at Texas on April 2. He now moves to 2-3 on the season and earned his first Big 12 win as a Tiger.
After Baylor starter Trent Blank threw just 18 pitches through the first two innings, Mizzou finally got to the Baylor starter in the third. Turner singled through the infield on the right side for a leadoff single. After a pop-up from Thigpen, Jarvis tallied his second collegiate hit through the right side, putting runners on the corners with one out for Mach. He continued his hot series by launching a fly ball to right field for an RBI sacrifice fly, scoring Turner and giving Mizzou a 1-0 lead.
Baylor tried to counter in its half of the third as Lawton Langford led off the inning with a double. But Stites pitched very well to get out of the jam, tallying a pair of strikeouts and a fly out to get out of the inning. He left runners on second and third in the inning and kept the Tigers on top, 1-0. After a scoreless top of the fourth, Stites gave up a wind-aided solo shot to Josh Ludy in the bottom of the inning, tying the game at 1-1.
But the Tigers countered in the top of the fifth, plating an unearned run to regain the lead, 2-1. Thigpen, making just his second start of the season reached on an error by Baylor third baseman Joey Hainsfurther. Jarvis again came up with a key single and Mach walked to load the bases with one out, bringing in Champagne. He grounded into a fielder's choice, but the ball batted in play allowed Thigpen to score and give the Tigers the lead, 2-1.
Following a scoreless inning thrown by Stites in the bottom of the fifth, Mizzou put up a crooked number in the sixth, plating three runs. Schmidt tallied his third hit of the day to lead off the inning and Brown followed that with a single. After Jesse Santo bunted the runners over, Baylor brought in Brad Kuntz to relieve Blank and face Turner. The Tiger catcher then lined a ball up the middle that snuck under Langofrd's glove at second, plating a pair of runs for the Tigers, extending the advantage to 4-1. Thigpen then reached on a fielder's choice and Jarvis tallied his third hit of the game to put runners of the corners for Mach. He singled to drive in Thigpen, giving Mizzou a 5-1 lead.
Stites continued to pitch well in the bottom of the sixth and seventh innings, including pitching out of a jam in the seventh inning with two crucial strikeouts. He retired the first two in the eighth before an error by Jarvis ended his day, making way for Phil McCormick to close out the game. He needed just one pitch to get the final out in the eighth. The Tigers then rallied with another crooked number in the ninth, tallying five runs on five hits and McCormick closed out the game in the ninth, setting down the side in order and sealing the win for Mizzou.
Mizzou will play a pair of midweek games next week against Eastern Illinois in O'Fallon, Mo., on Tuesday (April 26) and vs. Missouri State at Taylor Stadium on Wednesday (April 27). The Tigers will then resume Big 12 play as top-10 foe Texas A&M makes its way to Taylor Stadium for a three-game series beginning on Friday (April 29) at 6 p.m. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.