Mizzou's Rally Falls Short at Texas Tech

<i>Jeff Emens threw 6.1 innings of shutout baseball in relief of starter Blake Holovach.</i>

Jeff Emens threw 6.1 innings of shutout baseball in relief of starter Blake Holovach.

April 28, 2012

LUBBOCK, Texas - The Mizzou baseball team had its four-game winning streak snapped on Saturday afternoon (April 28) as it fell to Texas Tech, 4-3, at Rip Griffin Park. The Tigers were only able to muster four hits in the losing effort as all three of its runs in the game were unearned. Junior Dane Opel launched his team-leading eighth homer of the season in the fourth inning and senior reliever Jeff Emens was brilliant in relief of starter Blake Holovach as he pitched a season-best 6.1 innings while allowing just five hits, no runs, no walks while striking out four.

The loss drops the Tigers to 23-18 on the season and 7-10 in Big 12 play. Holovach took the loss for the Tigers - his third of the season - as he allowed four runs on five hits in just 1.2 innings as he struggled on Saturday. The Tigers' four hits were spread among four different players while Eric Garcia tallied two walks in the game. Center fielder Brannon Champagne went 0-for-5 in the game as his streak of reaching base safely in 32 straight games came to an end. He is tied with Aaron Senne for the longest such streak in program history.

The Tigers were retired in order in the first inning on a pair of fly outs and a strike out as Texas Tech starter Duke von Schamann looked very sharp in the opening frame. Holovach took to the mound in the bottom of the first and allowed a leadoff single to Jamodrick McGruder, who was then bunted to second base and he came around to score on a one-out single by Barrett Barnes as Tech took an early 1-0 lead. Holovach then induced an inning-ending double play to send the game to the second inning.

Eric Garcia drew a leadoff walk in the second inning, seeing 11 pitches as it was the first walk of off von Schamann in 26.1 consecutive innings pitched. Garcia then stole second base for his ninth steal of the season, but he was stranded there after a strikeout by Blake Brown and a pair of groundouts from Opel and Andreas Plackis.



The Red Raiders go to Holovach again in the second inning as the first three batters reached, plating another run to put Tech on top 2-0. Then, with runners on the corners and no outs, Holovach induced a 6-4 fielder's choice and then got the second out on a deep fly out to center field. He then gave up a two-out single to McGruder, which plated the fourth run of the day, ending his outing in favor of Emens.

Mizzou's struggles continued against von Schamann as he continued to mow through the Tiger order until Brown reached on an error from McGruder. Then Opel connected on his two-run homer, a shot that carried over the bullpen in left center as Mizzou cut into the lead at 4-2. The homer for Opel was his eighth of the season, matching the team lead for Mizzou this season. That broke a streak of 62.0 innings for von Schamann without a home run.

Emens then retired the Tech batters in order in the bottom of the fourth as he kept Mizzou within striking distance. Scott Sommerfeld -who had a career-best four hits on Friday night - laced a leadoff double down the left field line. After Dillon Everett grounded out, Mach was hit by a pitch and then Champagne grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the scoring threat, wasting the leadoff double.

Mizzou loaded the bases in the sixth inning and got on the board with an error by Tech reliever Shane Broyles off the bat of Sommerfeld. The bases were loaded after Garcia drew his second walk with one out in the frame. Brown then reached on an error by third baseman Reid Redman and Plackis walked before Sommerfeld reached on the error. Tech starter von Schamann was lifted with an apparent injury after loading the bases on the walk to Plackis.

In the bottom of the sixth, Emens allowed two men to reach base before they advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. But he got McGruder to bounce out to second, sending the game to the seventh inning with Mizzou trailing, 4-3. Neither team scored in the seventh but Mizzou threatened in the eighth as Opel drew a one-out walk ahead of a Plackis single, putting two men on for Sommerfeld. On a 1-0 count, he flew out to right field and then Everett hit a soft liner to right that nearly got down, but Jordan Lopez made a running catch to leave the tying run stranded in scoring position.

Emens continued his brilliance as he once again set down the side in order in the eighth as he went 6.1 innings and allowed just five hits, no walks while striking out four. That sent the game to the ninth and Mach led off with a single to center field. But Champagne struck out looking and Turner flew out to right field, bringing in Garcia as the Tigers' last hope. But he bounced out to second, ending the game.

Mizzou and Texas Tech will play the rubber match of a three-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.

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