June 2, 2012
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TUCSON, Ariz. - The Mizzou baseball team kept its season alive by scoring five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning as it rallied to defeat second-seeded New Mexico State, 6-2, on Saturday evening at Hi Corbett Field in game three of the NCAA Tournament Tucson Regional. Michael McGraw and Scott Sommerfeldboth hit RBI triples in the eighth inning as the Tigers, who trailed 2-1 heading into the inning, rallied to earn the win. The Tigers will now play Louisville tomorrow at 6 p.m. (CT) in another elimination game on ESPN3.
Senior reliever Jeff Emens continued his brilliance as of late as he earned his fourth win of the season after pitching the final 3.0 innings, allowing just three hits and no runs while striking out three batters. His performance backed a great start from Rob Zastryzny, who made his fourth start in nine games. He went 6.0 innings, allowing two runs on six hits while striking out six Aggie batters. Sommerfeld led the Tigers, going 3-for-4 with a run and three RBI while McGraw went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs.
New Mexico State jumped on Zastryzny in the top of the first inning as he allowed a leadoff single and then a walk to the first two hitters before getting the first out on a hard-hit liner to right field. Then Zach Voight stepped in and roped a triple to right center to score two runs as the Aggies took a 2-0 lead to the bottom of the first.
Garcia reached base to open the game for the third straight contest as he drew a leadoff walk, but the Tigers could not drive him in as starter Adam Mott got the next three batters. After a 1-2-3 frame from Zastryzny in the second, McGraw and Andreas Plackisput together back-to-back one-out singles, putting runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the second. That brought in Sommerfeld who singled back up the middle to score a run and cut the Aggie lead in half at 2-1.
Zastryzny pitched out of some jams in the third, fourth and fifth and Mizzou didn't threaten until the bottom of the fifth when the Tigers put two men on with two outs for Conner Mach. But on a ball that appeared to scoot away from Aggie catcher Zac Fisher, Dillon Everetttried to advance to third and was gunned for the third out of the inning, ending the threat.
The Tigers looked to be in shape in the bottom of the seventh as Sommerfeld singled through the left side for his second hit of the day, but Everett could not lay down the sacrifice bunt to move him to second base. Eric Garcia then struck out swinging and Blake Browngrounded out to short to end the inning.
Emens was brilliant in relief of Zastryzny, getting through the seventh and eighth innings with two strikeouts and just two hits as he continued his masterful pitching as of late. His performance kept the Tigers in the game headed to the final two innings. That sent the game to the bottom of the eighth in which the Tigers were finally able to string a few hits together to score the tying run. Mach doubled to left center with one out and then Dane Opelsingled to left field to score Mach, knotting the game at two runs a apiece.
McGraw then delivered the hit of the game, drilling a triple to left center to score Opel from first, giving the Tigers their first lead of the day. The triple came on a 0-1 pitch as McGraw continued to be one of the Tigers' best hitters with men on base this season. Sommerfeld then delivered his two-run triple to break the game open at 5-2. Garcia added an RBI single to give the Tigers a 6-2 lead headed to the top of the ninth. Emens then got the first two batters (strikeout swinging and a 6-3 groundout) before allowing a two-out single. He then got the final out on a fly out to right field.
Tomorrow's game will air live on ESPN3 and Tex Little and Hunter Mense will have the call live on KTGR. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball. ¬¬