May 14, 2011
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Mizzou baseball team fell in the middle game of its series with Texas Tech, 6-4, on Saturday afternoon (May 14) at Taylor Stadium. The loss drops Mizzou to 22-28 on the season and 9-13 in Big 12 play. Mizzou struggled with walks in the game, issuing seven bases on balls as junior starter Matt Stites issued four as he was dealt the loss. Brannon Champagne went 2-2 in the game, extending his hit streak to a season-long 10 straight games.
Stites pitched well through the first three innings, allowing no hits, but he struggled in the fourth as Texas Tech jumped on him for two runs. He walked two of the first three batters in the inning and then gave up back-to-back singles to Nick Popescu and Stephen Hagan, plating the two runs in the inning. The Tigers kept things close by tallying a run on an RBI single by Conner Mach in the sixth inning, cutting into the lead at 2-1. But Tech took advantage of more walks in the eighth and plated four runs off of relievers Dusty Ross and Phil McCormick.
Mizzou attempted to rally in the ninth, scoring three runs. Jonah Schmidt and Blake Brown opened the frame with back-to-back singles, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Jesse Santo then grounded out to short to drive in Schmidt and then Andrew Thigpen doubled to center with two outs to make the score 6-4. But Mach struck out swinging to end the game, ending the threat in the ninth.
Thigpen led Mizzou at the plate, going 2-4 with a pair of doubles, two RBI and a run scored. Champagne also had a nice day, going 2-2. Mach and Santo also tallied RBIs in the loss while Schmidt went 1-3 with a run scored. Ryan Gebhart and Ryan Ampleman, who entered the game in the ninth inning, also scored runs in the loss. Stites went 6.1 innings and was tagged for just two runs while striking out five, but walks came back to haunt him as he handed out four bases on balls as he threw 112 pitches in the losing effort.
Texas Tech starter Trey Masek earned the win and John Neely earned the three-inning save for the Red Raiders. The Tigers and Raiders will play in the rubber match of the three-game series at 1 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.