Feb. 26, 2011
Charlotte, N.C. – An outstanding pitching performance by freshman LHP Rob Zastryzny was spoiled when Charlotte rallied with two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning off the Tiger bullpen to post a 3-2 comeback win. The loss dropped Mizzou to 1-4 on the young season, while Charlotte, the defending Atlantic 10 champions, improved to 6-0.
Zastryzny, who ended with no decision, was in line to get the first win of his collegiate career, after allowing just one run in 6.1 innings of work. The Tigers opened the ninth with a 2-1 lead, and looked to be in great shape to add some insurance for the rookie starter. Mizzou loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the ninth on two singles (by Eric Garcia and Ben Turner) and a hit batter (Scott Sommerfeld).
But the 49ers got out of the jam with three straight ground balls, the first two going to third baseman Shane Basen in a drawn-in infield. Basen corralled both choppers and threw home for consecutive force outs, and the threat was ended when leadoff hitter Brannon Champagne grounded to first, with the pitcher covering.
Charlotte’s Corey Shaylor singled off Mizzou reliever Brad Buehler (0-1) on the first pitch of the bottom of the ninth, and the 49er crowd sensed a rally. They got just that, when the next batter, Tony Montalbano singled to right on a full count, putting runners at 1st and 2nd. After Eric Garcia moved to pitcher from shortstop, a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up, and the game ended on a sharp single to center by leadoff hitter Cory Tilton. Champagne’s throw from center was strong but to the 1st-base side of home, allowing the winning run to score.
For the second straight game, Champagne led off the game with a single, and he came around to score from second on a single up the middle by 2B Conner Mach. The hit extended Mach’s hitting streak to 13 games.
Zastryzny was masterful in his second start of the season, as he worked around trouble in each inning. He negated leadoff doubles in both the third and fourth innings without allowing a run, and stranded eight runners in all on the day. The freshman struck out three and walked three while allowing six hits on 95 pitches.
After Charlotte tied the game in the 5th on an RBI groundout, Mizzou struck back with a single tally in the top of the 6th to take a 2-1 lead.
Blake Brown began the Tiger 6th by drawing his second walk of day (team-leading 5th of season). He stole third base of the season with one out and advanced to third on a single through the left side by Jonah Schmidt. Garcia was next and flared one toward short that looked like it might get into left center, but Charlotte’s SS Justin Roland made a leaping grab to rob a potential run-scoring hit for the second out. But just when it looked like the Tigers would go empty, a fly ball lofted into short right field by C Ben Turner was dropped by RF Tony Montalbano, scoring Brown from third. The threat ended when Scott Sommerfeld fouled out to first.
In the bottom of the seventh, Zastryzny was chased after a one-out walk, but LHP Phil McCormick came in to close the inning, getting a couple of ground outs that he took care of himself. McCormick pitched to the first batter of the eighth inning, and retired him on strikes, before giving way to RHP Brad Buehler, who got the next two batters to set up the dramatic ninth inning.