Missouri raises profile, dominates No. 8 LSU
One of the things missing from Steve Bieser’s profile in his time as Tiger head coach has been a collection of statement wins. Yes, in baseball even bad teams can down good teams on any given day. However, Missouri has never had a meaningful chance to make a statement about the program.
This weekend’s series against perennial powerhouse LSU provided them an opportunity. And after losing an extra-inning heartbreaker Friday, the Tigers showed their mettle by rallying to take the next two, including a no-doubter on Sunday.
Steve Bieser agreed that this was an important series for the Tigers, calling it a, “statement,” after the game.
“We’re here to stay, and we’re here to compete,” Bieser said. “That’s exactly the type of message I want my players to understand every series we go into. It doesn’t matter if you go down 0-1 like we did in this series, we’ve got to continue to battle and if you do enough right things, you’ll end up winning the series.”
The Tigers did it in impressive — and unexpected — fashion. Bieser had to change his regular plan of action due to injury, and the roster responded about as well as they could have.
With regular starter Tyler LaPlante unavailable while nursing forearm tightness, lefthander Art Joven (3-0) joined the weekend rotation and gave the Tigers six strong innings, allowing only three hits in 6 2/3 innings with six strikeouts. Joven has been MU’s midweek starter most of the season but smoothly stepped into the new role. Both LSU runs against Joven were unearned.
Even if Joven wouldn’t have been on his A-game, the offense provided more than enough support.
All nine starters got at least one hit Sunday, and right fielder Clayton Peterson knows that for his team, hits are “contagious.”
”When one person hits, then the entire team starts hitting,” Peterson said.
Kameron Misner was the last to catch the bug, sending a ball to the top of Devine Pavilion in the bottom of the eighth for a two-run shot to seal the ballgame. The home run had a projected distance of 457 feet.
The series win comes at a good time too. The Tigers next two series against ranked teams (No. 2 Georgia and No. 7 Vanderbilt) will both come on the road, and Mizzou will take on cross-state rival Missouri State in two of the next five games. The series against LSU likely represented the best opportunity to create some momentum for their NCAA profile, and even a brief skid could be masked by the Tigers’ dominant weekend showing.
Missouri is now 25-12-1 overall and 7-7-1 in SEC play.
Yesterday at Rock M
- In the other diamond sport, MU softball prevented a sweep at the hands of Ole Miss by taking a rain-soaked third game.
- Kelly Bryant made his in the black and gold this weekend, and some of his old teammates from Clemson came to support him. Classy gesture from the Tigers to the east.
- At PowerMizzou, Mitch and Gabe both offered their main takeaways from this weekend’s Spring Game.
- Unfortunately, the Black and Gold game didn’t do much to help Missouri’s recruiting efforts as one of the top in-state targets committed to a former conference foe.
- In SEC Basketball news, LSU has reinstated coach Will Wade. It certainly seemed for a while like the Tigers would have to find a new coach, but LSU seems to have learned from Missouri that cooperating with the NCAA doesn’t pay.