Oct. 8, 2011
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Missouri baseball team topped the Iowa Hawkeyes, 9-1, on Saturday (Oct. 8) at Taylor Stadium. Missouri got a strong effort from the pitching staff, led by starter Eric Anderson. The Tigers pitchers were able to hold Iowa off the board until the sixth inning and only surrendered one run. Missouri's offense was able to capitalize off of walks and errors from Iowa, scoring nine runs on 10 hits.
The game took the feel of a pitchers' duel early on, as Anderson threw a 1-2-3 inning to start the game. Anderson was assisted by two great defensive plays by shortstop Eric Garcia. Mizzou was then held off the board in the bottom of the first, despite a two-out single and stolen base by Garcia. Iowa was unable to crack Anderson until a two-out infield single in the second, again failing to score. The Tigers were held off the bases until a two-out walk to Dane Opel. Blake Brown then singled, advancing Opel to second base. An Iowa error off of a Scott Somerfeld ground ball then allowed the Tigers to score first, taking an early 1-0 lead.
Jeff Cline took over for Anderson in the third inning. Kline was aided early on by a stellar play defending an Iowa bunt by third baseman Nick Moore. Walks came back to bite the Hawkeyes yet again in the bottom of the third, after consecutive walks to Garcia and Dillon Everett put runners on first and second with just one out. Conner Mach then singled in Everett, allowing the Tigers to take a 2-0 lead. With the bases loaded after a Gavin Stark single, Opel then reached on a fielder's choice, allowing Garcia to score from third as Mizzou went on top, 3-0.
Cline pitched his way into a jam in the fourth, allowing runners on first and second with no outs. The pitcher battled back, striking out the next batter and forced a groundout after putting runners on second and third with two outs. A flyout to left field by the ensuing batter meant that Cline escaped unscathed. The Tigers were able to make walks hurt the Hawkeyes again in fourth, when Brown stole second after walking to lead off. Brown then advanced on a groundout and scored on a Brannon Champagne single. Everett tallied an RBI after an Iowa throwing error enabled Champagne to score.
Jeff Emens took over for Cline in the fifth with a 5-0 lead. Iowa was able to get on the scoreboard in the sixth after two consecutive hits, but Emens responded by striking out the next two batters, limiting the damage to just one run. Missouri padded the lead in the bottom of the seventh, scoring their sixth run of the game off of a wild pitch. Stark's groundout enabled the Tigers to score their seventh run of the game, taking a commanding 7-1 lead late in the game.
Ryan Yuengel took over pitching duties in the top of the eighth. In his first inning, Yuengel walked the first batter he faced but then forced two groundouts and recorded a strikeout to hold Iowa scoreless. Michael McGraw sent a blast over the left field fence in the bottom of the inning, adding two runs to make the score 9-1.
Brett Graves came in to pitch the final inning for the Tigers. After allowing a hit to the first batter he faced, Graves forced a double play by the ensuing batter. Graves then drew a groundout, ending the defensive game for the Tigers, giving up an impressive lone run on eight hits. Missouri was held scoreless in the bottom of the ninth inning, keeping the score at the 9-1 final.
The game featured various raffles, contests, and other ways for fans to be involved in the game in an effort to raise money benefitting the Joplin Little League. Objects raffled off included a bat, an autographed jersey, and a team pullover jacket. Fans were also able to call innings over the PA system and sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." Fans were invited to run the bases after the game, and players then signed autographs.
The win against Iowa brings the Tigers' record to 2-0 in exhibition play. Mizzou will look to complete the two-game sweep over Iowa tomorrow at Taylor Stadium. The game will start at 1:00 PM, and will also benefit the Joplin little league.