Baseball Dominates Ontario, 22-2

<i>Brannon Champagne</i>

Brannon Champagne

Oct. 1, 2011

Columbia, Mo. - The Mizzou baseball team overpowered Ontario, 22-2, in an exhibition game on Saturday (Oct. 1) at Taylor Stadium. Mizzou scored four runs in the first three innings to take control of the game. Jeff Kline started for the Tigers and surrendered just one run unearned run on one hit in three innings of work. Second baseman Sal Belfonte and designated hitter Dane Opel supplied offensive support, as Belfonte added two hits and Opel registered three of his own.

The Tigers started quickly in the game, led by Kline throwing a one-two-three first inning and striking out the first two batters on just six pitches. Mizzou struck first after Sal Belfonte singled and then stole second base, ultimately scoring on a wild pitch. Eric Garcia's single then turned into the Tigers' second run of the game after scoring from second on a two-out hit by Gavin Stark, who later scored on a Blake Brown single.

After another quick inning from Kline, the Tigers added to their lead on a sacrifice groundout from Brannon Champagne. Immediately after, Belfonte added his second hit of the day on a perfectly placed bunt. Belfonte swiped second base again, but was stranded. Ontario responded with it first run of the game. The run was unearned, coming off of a botched ground ball. Kline was able to limit the damage to just that one run after three solid innings of work, giving up just one hit.

The first reliever of the game for Mizzou was lefty Blake Holovach, who an admirable job pitching out a jam in his first inning of work. The lefty held Ontario off of the board despite having runners on the corners with just one out. Holovach showed his ability to pitch through jams again in his second inning of work, pitching through runners on the corners with no outs and still surrendering no runs. Mizzou's offense was able to add to the lead for him in the fifth, as Conner Mach hit a two out RBI single, increasing the Tiger's lead to 5-1.



Pitcher Brett Thomas was able to overcome a throwing error en route to pitching three scoreless innings for Mizzou. Scott Somerfeld added a run in the sixth inning for the Tigers on a single to the left side, increasing the Mizzou advantage to 6-1, and catcher Jake Ivory made a great defensive play on a foul ball pop up preserving the Tigers' lead. In the ensuing inning, Conner Mach started a Tigers' rally by doubling home two runs to expand the gap between Mizzou and Ontario to seven runs, 8-1. Ontario pitcher Sean Ratcliffe then walked the next thee batters, loading the bases and giving up a run before recording an out. Dan Opel added two more runs for the Tigers on a one out single, again increasing the Tigers lead to 11-1. A throwing error by pitcher Brodie Harkness then allowed Mizzou to add its 12th run of the game.

Freshmen pitchers Ryan Yuengel, John Miles, Brandon Platts, and Brett Graves rounded out the 12-inning exhibition for the Tigers. Yuengel pitched two scoreless innings, while the Tigers added onto their lead with a two RBI single by Drew Carlilie in the ninth inning. With a 14-1 lead, Miles threw a scoreless 10th highlighted by a double play on a line drive to second base. Ivory added another run for the Tigers on a RBI double in the bottom of the 10th. Platts gave up a run in the top of the 11th, but got defensive help from a terrific play by shortstop Dillon Everett, fielding a grounder up the middle, spinning, and throwing a strike to first base for the out. The Tigers responded in the bottom of the inning with seven runs. Brett Graves closed out the game with a scoreless 12th inning, giving the Tigers a 20 run victory.

The win for the Tigers puts Mizzou at 1-0 heading into next weekend's two-game home series against the Iowa Hawkeyes in a benefit series for the Joplin Little League.

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