Baseball Uses Homers to Top EIU, 7-5

<i>Eric Garcia hit the go-ahead home run in the seventh inning, his first of the season.</i>

Eric Garcia hit the go-ahead home run in the seventh inning, his first of the season.

April 26, 2011

Box Score

O'FALLON, Mo. - The Mizzou baseball team homered a season-high three times and senior lefty Phil McCormick earned a gutsy save to hold Eastern Illinois at bay, 7-5, Tuesday night (April 26) at TR Hughes Ballpark in O'Fallon. Sophomore Eric Garcia launched a home solo home run in the seventh inning of the game to give the Tigers the lead and they added an insurance run in the eighth before McCormick earned a 1.2 inning save. The Tigers are now 17-23 overall and have won four of their last six games.

In all, the Tigers homered a season-high three times as Ryan Ampleman and Garcia launched their first home runs of the season. Blake Brown also went deep in the win, good for his fourth of the season - all three were solo shots. Freshman CJ Jarvis also had a nice day at the plate, going 2-4 with a pair of RBI as he now has six hits in his last two games. Every Tiger to play on Tuesday had a hit in the game as well. Brown scored a team-high two runs as well and the Tigers got seven RBI from six different players. Junior Dusty Ross earned his second win of the season after throwing 1.1 innings, allowing just one hit. McCormick earned the save, throwing 1.2 innings, allowing two hits and striking out three on 37 pitches. The save was his fourth of the season.

The Tigers got on the board in the bottom of the second inning after Brown led off the inning with a walk. He then stole second base and Dane Opel bunted him to third, setting up an RBI situation for Jesse Santo, who roped a single into left field, plating the game's first run and putting the Tigers up, 1-0.

The Panthers countered with a two-run third inning as they peppered Tiger starter Zack Hardoin for four hits, plating two runs to take a 2-1 lead. But the Tigers came back to tie the game in their half of the fourth as Ampleman launched a solo home run to left field that landed well above the bleachers, good for his first homerun of the season and third of his career. That evened the score at 2-2, making way for Tiger reliever Brad Buehler, who gave the lead back to EIU by giving up two singles and a run in the fourth inning.



Again the Tigers answered immediately as Brown led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo shot to right center, tying the game. The home run was his fourth of the season and his first since the series finale at Oklahoma State. Mizzou continued its big inning as both Conner Mach and Jarvis tallied RBI singles in the inning to gain a 5-3 lead. But Mizzou left the bases loaded in the inning as Jonah Schmidt flew out to the warning track in right field as Mizzou was unable to pile on.

That left things within reach for EIU, who got a two-run homer to right center from Shawn Ferguson, knotting things up at 5-5. The bomb came off of Buehler in the fifth inning. After a 1-2-3 bottom of the fifth, Buehler came back out in the sixth with a 1-2-3 inning of his own. Ross then came on in relief of Buehler in the seventh and threw a scoreless frame, setting the stage for Garcia, who launched his first home run of the season in the bottom of the seventh, giving Mizzou a 6-5 lead. The homer was his seventh career bomb as well.

After pitching himself into a jam in the eighth inning, Ross gave way to McCormick to get out of the jam. With runners on second and third and one out, McCormick got out of the jam, sending the game to the bottom of the eighth with the Tigers' one-run lead intact. They added to the lead in the bottom of the frame as Jarvis launched an RBI double off the wall in right, plating Andrew Thigpen who had reached base on an RBI single and stole second.

McCormick then came back out and despite allowing the first two batters to reach, he retired the next three to earn the save and seal the win for Mizzou. Mizzou will be back in action tomorrow night against Missouri State at Taylor Stadium. The game begins at 6 p.m. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.

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