Eric Garcia has now hit safely in 14 of 16 games.
May 3, 2011
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou baseball team fell, 5-0, on Tuesday night (May 3) at in-state rival Missouri State as Bear starter Pierce Johnson threw a great game en-route to his fourth win of the season. Johnson stifled the Tiger lineup, giving up just four hits while striking out eight over 7.0 innings. Mizzou used a `Johnny Wholestaff' approach on the mound on Tuesday, using eight different pitchers, but starter Jeff Scardino took the loss after allowing a run in the first inning, which was his only inning of work in the game.
Offensively, the Tigers saw several streaks extended. Eric Garcia singled in the first and ninth innings as he has now hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games. Sophomore outfielder Blake Brown also doubled in the second inning, giving him an extra-base hit in six of his last eight games. Senior designated hitter Jonah Schmidt singled in the game as he has now hit safely in 11 of his last 14 games and Brannon Champagne also got on base with a bunt single in the sixth, extending his hit streak to five straight games.
Missouri State jumped out to an early advantage as leadoff hitter Aaron Conway tripled right field on the first pitch of the game. He was then driven in on fielder's choice to second base in the next at-bat by MSU's Kevin Medrano. But Scardino retired the next two batters via the strikeout to get out of the first.
Mizzou attempted to answer in the second inning as Brown led things off with an opposite-field double. He was advanced to third by Jesse Santo, giving center fielder Dane Opel a chance to bring Brown in from third with one out. But Opel popped up the first pitch to the infield and Andrew Thigpen struck out to end the threat.
Myles Smith relieved Scardino in the second and threw a scoreless frame, but Missouri State jumped all over Tiger reliever Zack Hardoin in the third. He retired the first batter on a strikeout but allowed two straight hits and four stolen bases in the inning as Missouri State scored two more runs in the inning, taking a 3-0 lead. The Bears tacked on an unearned run in the fourth as well, going on top 4-0.
At that point, MSU starter Pierce Johnson had settled in, sitting down 14 consecutive Tiger batters before Champagne reached base with his bunt in the sixth inning. But Johnson pitched his way out of that jam, retiring Garcia to get out of the inning. MSU's Brent Seifert homered off of Dusty Ross in the eighth to add insurance, giving Missouri State a 5-0 lead and its bullpen allowed just one hit over the final two innings to keep Missouri off the scoreboard. Mizzou threatened with two men on in the ninth, but couldn't score as Santo lined out to left.
The Tigers will be back in action this weekend as they will face Kansas State in Manhattan for a crucial Big 12 weekend series, starting Friday at 6:30 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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