May 1, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - The Mizzou baseball team lost its third straight game as it fell to No. 18 Arkansas, 6-3, on Tuesday night (May 1) at Baum Stadium. The Tigers were held to just four hits in the loss and Tiger starter Blake Holovach was tagged with four unearned runs in the bottom of the third as he was dealt his fourth loss of the season. The loss drops Mizzou to 23-20 on the season.
The Tigers scored three runs over the final two innings as a slew of newcomers and pinch hitters attempted to rally the Tigers, but the four-spot in the third was too much for the Tigers to overcome. The four Tiger hits were spread out among four different players.
After Mizzou was retired in order, Holovach allowed the first two Akransas batter to reach, putting runners on the corners with no outs. That brought in Dominic Ficociello and he hit a sacrifice fly to center field to put the Hogs on top, 1-0. Holovach then retired the next batter for the second out and third out, the final out which came on a great play deep in the hole by Eric Garcia.
Dane Opel led off the top of the second with a walk, but Blake Brown struck out looking and then Opel was out trying to steal second base. Eric Garcia then drew a two-out walk but was stranded on first base after Andreas Plackis struck out looking. Arkansas then got the first two men aboard in the second and a sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position. But the Tigers caught the lead runner at the plate on an attempted safety squeeze and Tim Carver flew out to right to end the inning.
Arkansas then scored four runs in the third inning due in large part to an error at short by Garcia on what appeared to be a double-play ball. He peeked at the runner and let the ball get past him. That allowed a run to score and then a big two-out triple off the bat of Derrick Bleeker to score two more. The Razorbacks then added one more unearned run before the Tigers got the third out.
After a scoreless top of the fourth, Holovach settled down and retired Arkansas in order in the bottom of the frame as the game moved to the fifth inning with Mizzou trailing, 5-0. The Tigers didn't threaten again until the sixth inning when Ben Turner reached on an error and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. But Opel struck out swinging after working a 3-1 count to strand Turner in scoring position.
Arkansas then got a pair of doubles sandwiched around an out in the bottom of the sixth and that led to the sixth run of the game for the Razorbacks as they took a 6-0 lead into the seventh inning. Those runs came off of Tiger reliever Ryan Yuengel. Mizzou tallied just its second hit in the top of the seventh - a knock up the middle off the bat of Plackis - but once again, the Tigers could not score.
The Tigers finally got on the board in the top of the eighth inning as Dillon Everett opened the inning by reaching base on an error before pinch hitter Gavin Stark walked to put two men on. They advanced to second and third on a wild pitch and then Everett came in to score on another wild pitch, making it 6-1. Patrick Quintanilla then singled to left field to score Stark from third, making it 6-2.
Yuengel came back out for the top of the eighth and worked around a leadoff double as he wound up throwing 3.0 innings, allowing just four hits and a run with four strikeouts in relief of Holovach. The 3.0 innings pitched match his career-best while his four strikeouts were just one shy of his career-best, which was set in a start against UALR on April 10. The Tigers then got a leadoff double in the ninth from Case Munson, his first career double. He came around to score, but that was all the offense Mizzou could muster as it fell, 6-3.
Mizzou and Arkansas will play the series finale tomorrow at 3:05 p.m. at Baum Stadium. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.