April 29, 2011
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou baseball team used a gutsy effort to rally from down 6-1 in the seventh inning to top No. 6 Texas A&M, 10-9, on a walk-off walk in the bottom of the ninth inning on Friday night (April 29) at Taylor Stadium. The walk-off win is the Tigers' second against a top-10 opponent this season and improves Mizzou to 18-24 overall and 5-10 in Big 12 play. Heading into the ninth inning, Mizzou trailed 9-8 but got a pair of bases-loaded walks, including the final one drawn by designated hitter Jonah Schmidt, sealing the win for Mizzou.
Mizzou was led at the plate by Schmidt, who went 2-5 at the dish with three RBI and a run scored. He also drew the bases loaded walk in the ninth to score the winning run. Despite having just one-hit nights, Blake Brown and Eric Garcia both came up with key at-bats when the Tigers needed them. Brown had a key hit in the seventh inning, launching a two-run double off the top of the wall in left center to score two runs, keeping the inning alive. In all, he went 1-4 at the dish with a pair of RBI and a run scored. Garcia had a crucial two-out, bases-loaded walk in the ninth to plate the tying run as well. He went 1-4 with a pair of RBI.
Andrew Thigpen and CJ Jarvis each had two hits on the night and both scored runs in the win. Thigpen also drove in his fifth run of the season in the win. Reigning Big 12 Player of the Week Conner Mach also went 1-3 with a pair of runs scored in the win and Ben Turner went 1-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Senior pitcher Phil McCormick, despite giving up three earned runs in the eighth, earned his fifth win of the season after pitching a scoreless ninth inning before the walk-off win. Mizzou also got a season-long outing from starter Eric Anderson, who went 6.0 innings, giving up just four earned runs (five total) on a season-high 90 pitches. He also seemed to get better as the game went on, throwing three scoreless innings to close out his start.
Down 6-1 to Texas A&M's Jon Stilson, who is a projected top-10 pick in this year's Major League Baseball draft, the Tigers looked down for the count after the top of the seventh inning. But the Tigers showed tremendous heart and finally tagged the Aggie starter in the seventh, plating seven runs in the frame, taking an 8-6 lead. The inning was started by a single from Thigpen that ricocheted off of Stilson. Jarvis then doubled, moving Thigpen to third. Mach was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, but back-to-back strikeouts from Brannon Champagne
and Garcia brought up a two-out bases loaded situation for Schmidt, who came up with maybe the biggest hit of the night. He singled to left on a 2-2 pitch from Stilson, plating a pair of runs, cutting into the lead, 6-3, and keeping the inning alive.
Brown then launched his two-run double to right center in the next at bat, plating two more runs as the Tigers cut into the lead at 6-5. The ball just missed being a home run as it bounced off the top of the wall and back into play. Stilson was then pulled from the game in favor of Nick Fleece, who walked Jesse Santo, the first batter that he saw. Turner then ripped a single into right field and the ball got away from right fielder Tyler Naquin, allowing two runs to score and giving Mizzou its first lead of the night at 7-6. Thigpen then added an RBI double to give Mizzou seven runs in the inning and an 8-6 lead.
But as quickly as the Tigers took the lead, the coughed it up in the top of the eighth as McCormick struggled with command, loading the bases. He then gave up a bases-clearing double to Naquin, giving A&M the lead at 9-8. Mizzou threatened in its half of the eighth but came up empty and after McCormick pitched a scoreless ninth, the stage was set for the Tigers in their half of the ninth.
Ryan Ampleman, who pinch-hit for Turner, was hit by a Joaquin Hinijosa pitch to put a runner on to open the inning. Thigpen then advanced Ampleman to second with a bunt, bringing Jarvis up with a chance to plate the game-tying run. But he was hit by a pitch, giving Mizzou runners on first and second with one out, bringing up Mach, who was also hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Dane Opel, who entered the game as a pinch hitter, then struck out, bringing Garcia to the plate with two outs. He battled in the at-bat and drew a walk to score the tying run. Next up was Schmidt, who went down 0-2 in the count and battled back to draw the game-winning walk.
Mizzou and Texas A&M will be back in action at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Taylor Stadium. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.