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Missouri wins shootout in SEC Baseball Tournament, now tries to beat LSU for first time

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Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

It was kind of the worst-case scenario at first. In a game that was absolutely vital for Missouri’s NCAA Baseball Tournament hopes, ace Tanner Houck just didn’t have it. And even if he did have it, a lengthy rain delay was likely going to keep him from going deep in the game either way.

So Mizzou just slugged its way to victory over A&M. In the single-elimination opener to get into the main double-elimination field, the Tigers hit three home runs — including a Robbie Glendinning grand slam in the fourth — and then shut the Aggies down after a sixth-inning rain delay. Mizzou 12, A&M 7. The Tigers are still alive.

Houck went just 4.1 innings and gave up six earned runs. Pitching early on a Tuesday, as opposed to a Saturday night, he just never found his touch. But instead of having to rely on a battalion of arms (which is about the worst thing possible in the first game of a long tournament), the Tigers simply leaned on Andy Toelken. The junior went the rest of the way, striking out five and allowing just five base runners. Mizzou was up 11-7 when the rain hit and scored the only run of the game after the break.

The Tigers scored just four runs against A&M in three games at Columbia earlier this year, then tripled that in nine innings in Hoover.

So now it’s TJ Sikkema’s turn. Mizzou got one monkey off of its back by actually performing well against A&M. An even larger monkey awaits.

Mizzou will send freshman LHP T.J. Sikkema to the mound. Sikkema is a Freshman All-SEC selection and is the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week. In his last start, Sikkema threw a complete-game shutout over Tennessee, scattering just five hits while striking out seven. He leads the SEC in WHIP (0.80), opponent batting (.169) and hits per nine (5.28). He is fifth in the SEC in wins (eight) and ERA (2.28).

Mizzou and LSU have met 11 times and Mizzou has never won a game vs. the Bayou Bengals. The two teams have met in each of the last two season with LSU winning all six games. LSU swept Mizzou in 2015 at Alex Box before coming to Columbia last year and sweeping Mizzou in 2016. LSU won 7-5 Friday night, 9-5 Saturday and then 15-2 on Sunday.

It’s Tigers vs. Tigers at approximately 4:30 pm CT today.

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