Looking to keep the momentum rolling into this week after taking 3 of 4 from Nicholls State a week ago, the Missouri Tigers baseball team delivered. A dominating 19-run performance was more than enough to secure a victory on Wednesday against Southern, and when the bats weren’t their best, great pitching from Spencer Miles and Austin Troesser set up dominant bullpen performances in close victories over ULM.
The Tigers trailed 3-1 early against Southern after the Jaguars plated a couple on a double in the gap in the 1st and an error on Tigers reliever Brenner Maloney in the 2nd inning added another, but the Jaguar lead would only be temporary. In the third, the Tigers plated 4 runs of their own thanks to a Joshua Day HR and a Garrett Rice 2B, both of which drove in two runs. Rice drove in another in the 5th before Carlos Peña unloaded the longest HR ever hit by a human being (I’m pretty sure it landed back in CoMo). Those four runs gave the Tigers a 9-3 lead, and from there they were in cruise control.
The Tigers continued to pile it on the Jaguars with 3 RBI from Dexter Swims, and others got in on the action, too, but the biggest blow came in the 9th when Shea McGahan unloaded a missile over the left field wall for a grand slam. That HR plated the Tigers’ 19th and final run of the game.
Pitching was mixed bag for the Tigers in this one, but with the offense’s performance they hardly needed their A-game. Drew Garrett had a mediocre 1st inning before Brennan Maloney needed Nathan Landry to bail him out in the 2nd. However, Landry didn’t just come in for the final out of the 2nd, he came in to dominate. In 4.1 innings he struckout 10 of the 15 hitters he faced and only surrendered 1 run on 2 hits. He was absolutely nails. Holden Phelps also struck out the side in his only inning of work, but Kyle Pothoff was roughed up for 4 R, only 3 of which were earned, in his 2 innings of work that closed out the game. Even with up-and-down pitching, the Tigers still managed to strike out 20 hitters in this one, which tied the school record.
Here’s a look at the absolute moon bombs that Peña and McGahan hit in this one:
T5 | PLÁKATA‼‼‼@Carlosp48681771 might have just hit the train— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) February 24, 2022
9-3 #MIZ | #C2E ⚾ pic.twitter.com/dFaEv6ZsKG
Well, @SheaMcGahan21 made his first round tripper a memorable one— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) February 24, 2022
Grand slam for the rook #MIZ | #C2E ⚾ pic.twitter.com/RVKJqoYzCM
Spencer Miles came ready to pitch on Friday night, but the Tigers’ bats weren’t quite awake at gametime. Miles struck out a career high 11 across 5.1 innings and only gave up 2 ER, however, another crossed the plate on a passed ball. Despite his gutsy, stellar performance, when Miles left the game, he had nothing to show for his great outing as the Tigers trailed 3-1 in the 6th.
Postgame thoughts from coach Bieser after another big W #MIZ | #C2E ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/T5pT9hIq4e— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) February 20, 2022
Needing something to go their way, the Tigers finally got their break in the 7th inning. With the bases loaded, C Tre Morris stepped up to the plate with a chance to avenge his mistake on the passed ball earlier in the game. While it may not have been the traditional way, Morris delivered. A single was followed up by multiple throwing errors, allowing all three runners on base to score, and the Tigers took a 4-3 lead.
With the momentum back on their side, freshman Tony Neubeck came back out in the 7th inning after he cleaned up the 6th for Miles. However, the 7th would not last very long because Neubeck was IMMACULATE. 9 pitches, 9 strikes, 3 strikeouts. Neubeck followed his immaculate inning up with another strong inning in the 8th before Austin Cheeley shut the door in the 9th for a Tiger victory.
Here’s what Steve Bieser had to say about the comeback victory:
Winning thoughts from coach Bieser on Friday night #MIZ | #C2E ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/YClVKjf6BC— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) February 26, 2022
With Saturday’s game being cancelled due to weather, the Tigers only had one chance to secure the series victory or they’d be forced to settle for a split. Luckily for them, Austin Troesser picked up right where Spencer Miles left off and gave the Tigers another great start. He went a career-high 5 innings and surrendered just 1 ER before making way for Carter Rustad. Because of the cancellation on Saturday, Rustad was able to be used as a long reliever instead of making his normal Sunday start like last week. After a not-so-pretty first appearance in black and gold, Rustad made immediate amends with 3 shutout innings from the bullpen and 4 strikeouts to get to the ball to Austin Cheeley in the 9th for the save.
With such stellar pitching, the Tiger bats didn’t need to much in this one, but they did enough. Solo shots from Josh Day (yes, he really did go yard AGAIN) and Ross Lovich were the big blows, while Tre Morris and Trevor Austin each added another RBI to help the Tigers win this one 4-2.
Here’s Steve Bieser’s recap of this game and the Tigers’ roadtrip:
Another win and a 6-1 start— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) February 27, 2022
Coach Bieser wraps the road trip #MIZ | #C2E ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/4Y7enZ42kC
Standout Performer of the Weekend
Joshua Day - The pitching won the series for the Tigers and there were a variety of arms this spot could’ve gone to. Landry, Neubeck, Rustad, Miles, and Troesser all were fabulous on the mound, but damn it, Joshua Day was just better at the dish, and while words may not do him justice, numbers might just be able to. This week alone he was 7-14 with 2 HR and 4 RBI, 4 XBH and multiple hits in all three games. Did I mention he went oppo-taco against Southern? You just can’t pitch to this man. He’s slashing .444/.559/.852 this season, and is the catalyst for this offense at the leadoff spot. He was stellar last year before his hand injury, and it looks like this year he’s elevated his game even more. I’m salivating at the thought of seeing him in person at Taylor Stadium next weekend; that’s just how good he’s been.
T3 | OPPPPPOOOOO @iamjosh_5 ties it up #MIZ | #C2E ⚾ pic.twitter.com/PZ2gpiAPKT— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) February 24, 2022