Friday vs Oklahoma State
Missouri entered Opening Day as a heavy underdog to perennial powerhouse No. 15 Oklahoma State. Initially, the game looked like it would go as predicted when the Cowboys opened up a 5-0 lead after the second inning, but the Tigers had other plans.
Mizzou picked up a pair of runs in the third by way of a Ross Lovich RBI single and a bases-loaded walk from UNLV transfer Hank Zeisler. In the third, they added another run when Justin Colon lined a ball back up the middle which made it 5-3.
As the Tiger bats woke up, Tony Neubeck entered from the bullpen and stymied the Oklahoma State offense. Neubeck, only a true sophomore, threw 3.2 innings of shutout ball only allowing one hit and two walks. Of the 11 hitters Neubeck retired, he punched out nine. Unfortunately for Missouri, the OSU bullpen also found plenty of success, throwing five innings of scoreless relief after the Tigers plated their three runs off Preseason Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Juaron Watts-Brown.
Zach Franklin also provided 1.2 innings of scoreless relief with 3 Ks for Missouri, but the Tigers’ offense was dormant in the late innings as they fell 5-3 to the Cowboys.
Saturday vs Texas
Against a young and inexperienced Texas team, Missouri jumped on the Longhorns early.
After just two innings, the Tigers led the Horns 4-1, thanks it in part to a Luke Mann homerun down the right-field line. However, Texas was ready to throw their counter punch. In the fourth, Ian Lohse suffered the lone blemish on his line when Jayden Duplantier hit a 2-RBI ground-rule double to cut the Missouri lead to 4-3.
In the 6th, the Tigers added another behind a Lovich solo-HR in the 6th, but Texas tied the game at 5 apiece in the 7th. Needing a stopper out of the pen, the Tigers turned to New Mexico State transfer Rorik Maltrud, and he delivered. In 2.2 innings, Maltrud struck out four and allowed just one hit.
The Tigers paid back Maltrud for his hard work in the 9th inning in walk-off fashion. After Hank Zeisler led off the inning with an infield hit, Arkansas transfer Dylan Leach roped a ball down the left-field line. As Zeisler rounded the bases, Texas had trouble fielding the ball down in the corner, and he scored the winning run to secure a 6-5 Missouri victory.
Sunday vs TCU
In their two previous games this weekend, No. 14 TCU pummeled No. 6 Vanderbilt 11-4 and No. 11 Arkansas 18-6. Against Missouri, it looked like the Horn Frogs were going to cruise to another blowout victory when they opened up a 6-2 lead after four innings, but the Tigers again had other plans.
After TCU roughed up Javyn Pimental and Carter Rustad, Steve Bieser turned to freshman phenom Sam Horn to right the ship on the mound for Missouri. The two-sport star Horn answered the call brilliantly. Horn threw 3 innings without allowing a run and struck out three. His explosive fastball, which touched 97 mph, gave the powerful TCU lineup fits.
While Horn silenced the TCU bats, the Missouri offense woke up and scored six unanswered runs. A combination of poor TCU defense and timely hitting from Missouri allowed them to take an 8-6 lead heading to the bottom of the 9th. Tre Morris, Luke Mann, Matt Garcia, Juju Stevens and Trevor Austin all had RBI in the Missouri comeback.
In the 9th inning, Zach Franklin, who struck out the side in the 8th, came back out to finish the game, but things for Missouri didn’t go according to plan. A HBP and two walks loaded the bases for TCU and down to their final strike, David Bishop delivered 2-RBI game-tying hit for the Horned Frogs.
Franklin got out of the inning with the game still tied, and in the top the 10th, the Tigers turned to crafty baserunning to regain the lead. With runners on 1st and 2nd, Steve Bieser called a double steal with CF Ty Wilmsmeyer and SS Justin Colon on the bases. TCU threw to second to try to get the trail runner, but a throwing error allowed Wilsmeyer to score the go-ahead run.
In the bottom of the 10th, Missouri stuck to their guns and let Zach Franklin work a third inning, and it paid off. After a leadoff groundout, Franklin struck out the final two TCU hitters, and Missouri won 9-8.
Player of Week
While his contributions might not have been the largest, Sam Horn’s performance out of the bullpen was probably the most important of any Missouri players this weekend. The freshman didn’t go through fall practice because of football season and whether he would even be able to contribute to this team was up in the air. Nevertheless, Horn came in and shut down one of the nation’s most powerful lineups and shifted the momentum for a Missouri comeback. Oh, and he was blowing 97...