Feb. 27, 2011
Charlotte, N.C. – The Missouri Tigers played longball on getaway day with two home runs, but it wasn’t enough to overcome an early barrage at the plate by Charlotte, as the homestanding 49ers (7-1) scored 10 runs in the first three innings to key a 22-7 win Sunday afternoon in Charlotte, N.C. Charlotte, the defending Atlantic 10 Conference champions, took three of four games in the series, with two of them coming by one run.
Mizzou (2-5 overall) got a two-run home run in the third inning from 1B Scott Sommerfeld (1st career homer) and that followed a solo blast by DH Dane Opel in the second inning (1st of season, 4th of career). Those homers, however, couldn’t outdo the 49er offensive output, as they put up four runs in both the first and third innings, which surrounded a two-run second inning that gave them a 10-4 lead after three frames.
The Tigers nearly got a third home run, when 3B Jesse Santo sent a high fly ball to the wall in left field in the top of the 4th with no outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd. But 49er LF Shane Brown leaped high to make the catch against the wall, and turn a potential three-run homer into a sacrifice fly that scored C Andreas Plackis, who singled to open the inning. That closed the deficit to 10-5, and it stayed that way until the fifth, when the 49ers made it 11-5 thanks to a single, sacrifice and stolen base combined with a throwing error.
The Tigers manufactured a pair of runs in the sixth inning to pull to within 11-7. With one out, LF Ryan Gebhart was hit by a pitch, and he moved to second when Santo singled through the right side. Blake Brown came off the bench to spell Champagne and he walked on four pitches to load the bases. Then, RF Jonah Schmidt bounced one hard to the 49er first baseman, but his throw to second for a potential force out was dropped by the shortstop covering, making everyone safe and scoring Gebhart to make it 11-6. Conner Mach lofted a sacrifice fly to right to score Santo but the rally ended there.
The Tigers had a scoring opportunity in the seventh, but Gebhart went down swinging with runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs.
Mizzou got it going right away as CF Brannon Champagne singled to lead off the game for the third time this weekend. After a bunt single by RF Jonah Schmidt and a sacrifice bunt by 2B Conner Mach, SS Eric Garcia scored Champagne on a sacrifice fly to center. That marked the third time this weekend that Champagne singled and came around to score to open a game.
The 1-0 lead didn’t last long, unfortunately, as the 49ers touched starter Zack Hardoin for four runs in the first inning thanks to three hits and two walks. Hardoin, after a quality start last weekend against North Carolina in which he allowed just two hits and two runs in five innings, could only get one out before Dusty Ross came on in relief. Ross struck out the next two batters looking to end the inning.
Opel opened the second with his solo shot to straightaway right field, which cut the deficit to 4-2, but the 49ers responded with a pair of runs to make it 6-2. After Sommerfeld’s homer made it 6-4, Charlotte broke the game open by scoring four runs with two outs to surge to a 10-4 advantage.
The 49ers kept the attack going late, as they scored 11 unanswered runs with seven in the seventh and four more in the eighth to account for the final score.
After going 2-5 in the opening two road trips, the Tigers return to Taylor Stadium/Simmons Field for a 19-game homestand from March 4-27. The action gets going with a four-game series March 4-6 against Illinois-Chicago. First pitch Friday is set for 6 p.m., with a double-header Saturday (1 p.m. & 4 p.m.) and a single game Sunday at 1 p.m.