May 11, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Junior Keaton Steele (St. Joseph, Mo.) pitched a phenomenal game in the series finale at No. 11 South Carolina, but a double and an error in the ninth inning led to a 2-1 loss in Mizzou baseball's series finale at Carolina Stadium. Steele went 8.0 innings, allowing just seven hits, two walks and two earned runs. Joey Pankake's walk-off proved to be the deciding hit in the loss. Mizzou drops to 20-30 on the season and 6-21 in SEC play. Dylan Kelly (Roswell, Ga.) launched a solo homer in the fourth, but that was the only run of the day for the Tigers.
Steele cruised the first inning on 11 pitches, throwing eight of those 11 for strikes. He induced three groundouts in the first inning as the game moved to the second scoreless. Mizzou went down in order in the second and Steele came back on and worked around a two-out hit as he struck out Tanner English looking to end the frame on a 3-2 pitch that painted the outside corner. Steele threw just 27 pitches through two innings.
Freshman Ryan Howard (St. Charles, Mo.) made a dazzling play at third to get the third out of the inning as Steele put together an eight-pitch frame. First time through the order, Steele needed just 35 pitches and struck out one while walking none with one hit. He faced one over the minimum.
Unfortunately for Mizzou, South Carolina starter Wil Crowe was just as sharp. That was until Kelly left the yard on a 1-1 pitch to right field for his third homer of the season and fourth in his career. The dinger came with two outs, improving Kelly's two-out RBI total to 11 on the season, a team-best.
Now pitching with a lead, Steele came out in the bottom of the fourth and retired the first two batters he faced on two-pitches, but he allowed a two-out single to Grayson Greiner on a 1-0 pitch and another hit to Joey Pankake, but he got a groundout for out No. 3 as he threw just eight pitches again in the fourth. He needed just 43 pitches to get through the fourth.
South Carolina got that run back in the bottom of the fifth after an infield hit by English and a stolen base put a runner in scoring position for the first time in the game. He was driven in on a one-out single off of Brett Peel (St. Charles, Mo.) at second base as neither ball was hit particularly hard. Either way, it led to a run and a tied game.
Steele was back to form in the sixth, retiring the side on just 14 pitches as the game moved to the seventh inning in a 1-1 tie. He continued to deal through eight innings, throwing just 91 pitches, allowing just five hits, no walks while striking out four. He came back out for the ninth, but Max Schrock tallied a double and reached third on an error in center field. Then the Tigers loaded the bases intentionally and brought in five infielders, but Pankake singled to center to clinch the win.
For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouBaseball.
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