April 30, 2003
COLUMBIA, Mo. -
Junior LF Ryan Rallo (Chesterfield, Mo.) hit a two-run homer to left - his second of the game - with two out and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth to lead No. 24 Missouri team to a thrilling 11-10 win over Southeast Missouri State on Wednesday at Taylor Stadium. It is the first walk-off homer for Mizzou (30-15) since Mick Weiss also deposited a shot into the Tiger bullpen against Iowa State in 2001.
Rallo started his night with an RBI single to right-center in the first, and was later walked home as Mizzou (30-15) took an early 2-0 lead. He hit his first homer - also a two-run shot to right - in the second inning to push the Tiger lead to 4-0. Rallo finished the night 3-for-6 with with five RBI and three runs scored.
"I had three sliders to start out, so I had a feeling he was going to throw another," said Rallo of his game-winning homer, his team-leading eighth of the season, off Gary Gilbert (1-3). "We've been doing [picking each other up] all season long."
The comeback appeared doubtful following a strong relief performance by Stan Skakalski, who had allowed just one run and one hit through three innings entering the ninth. Yet Mizzou's rally was started when first-baseman Gary Gilbert threw wildly in an attempt to retire senior CF Jayce Tingler (Smithville, Mo.) on a bunt attempt. That allowed junior RF Kyle Johnson (Omaha, Neb.) to score, and sophomore Bo Davis (Tulsa, Okla.) to move to third. Freshman Zane Taylor (Kirksville, Mo.) then knocked Skakalski out of the game with a shot off the pitcher that allowed Tingler to score on the infield hit. Skakalski then also threw wide to first to allow Davis to score before Rallo's heroics, which made a winner of freshman RHP Stephan Holst (Independence, Mo.) (2-0).
"It was exciting and it was ugly, and we'll take it," Head Coach Tim Jamieson
said. "An ugly win is always better than a well-played loss. I'm disappointed that we played the way we did the first eight innings, but they turned it on in the ninth. It was just your typical mid-week, wind-blowing-out game where the visiting team wants to win, but we found a way to win."
The Indians (22-15) took control of the game by scoring a total of seven runs from the fifth through seventh innings to take a 9-5 lead.
Junior SS Ian Kinsler (Tucson, Ariz.) hit his third homer of the season in the bottom of the fifth to give the Tigers their final lead of the game (5-4) before its conclusion. All three of Kinsler's home runs have come at the friendly confines of Taylor Stadium.
With a sixth-inning stolen base, Tingler passed Jim English (1976-79) for second place all-time at Mizzou. His 64 are now just 15 from the school record held by former Tiger Torre Tyson (1995-98).
The Tigers travel to Stillwater, Okla., for their final Big 12 Conference road series of the season this weekend against Oklahoma State. Friday and Saturday's games begin at 7 p.m., with Sunday's finale set for 1 p.m.