A&M’s pitching has been dreadful this year, and this series felt like a weekend the Missouri offense could finally break out, but it took until Saturday for the Tigers to show any life. Poor pitching, poor defense, and a lack of run support is never a good mixture for winning ballgames.
The Tigers are just 5-10 in SEC play after starting 3-0, and it’s getting to the point where it’s time to start worrying if their early season success was a thing of the past. For now though, let’s recap what happened this weekend.
Game 1 for the Tigers was tough to watch. An early bases-loaded walk and Hank Zeisler bomb had Mizzou up 3-1 and sitting pretty after the top of the third. But things drastically changed in the bottom half of the inning.
A&M knocked Logan Lunceford out of the game, and proceeded to rough up reliever Daniel Wissler, too. Thanks to pair of errors and five walks by Mizzou, the Aggies plated 9 runs to take a commanding 10-3 lead. From that point it was pretty much smoothing sailing for A&M.
Mizzou got a pair back in the fifth to make it 10-5, but responded with two of their own in the bottom half of the inning and another in the seventh. When the game finally ended, Mizzou was on the wrong side of a 13-5 beat down.
While Thursday was a poor performance for the Tigers, I don’t know if there’s words to describe what exactly happened on Friday.
Rorik Maltrud got the start for Missouri, and for four innings, he was fantastic. Entering the fifth, the seemingly always reliable Maltrud had 8 strikeouts and surrendered just one run. However, in the home half, the Aggies broke things open again.
Their second nine-run inning of the series put A&M up 10-0. A pair of homers from Jace LaViolette and Brett Minnich highlighted the outburst for the Aggies.
Mizzou got on the board in the sixth, but A&M wasn’t done and added three more in the bottom half. In the seventh, the Aggies polished off a run-rule, 13-1 victory and the series win.
Having already lost the series, Saturday was a crucial game for the Tigers in order to avoid a third sweep in their last four SEC series. Sensing the moment, Mizzou came out looking like a brand new ball club.
A pair of homers in the first inning from Luke Mann and Tre Morris put the Tigers up 4-0 early, but they didn’t stop there. After A&M cut things to 4-3, Mizzou plated three more in the fourth, and in the sixth, Mann hit his second bomb of the night. Mann wasn’t done either, ripping a 3-RBI double in the seventh to put Mizzou’s tally at 13.
Austin Troesser and Zach Franklin provided 4.2 innings of fantastic relief for Chandler Murphy who didn’t quite have his best stuff, and the Tigers won 13-5.
Player of the Week
When his team desperately needed its leader, Luke Mann stepped up. Launching 2 HR and driving in 7 in the finale was more than the Tigers could’ve ever asked from Mann who also hit a homer in the midweek. With another winnable series next weekend against Alabama, perhaps we will look back at this 7-RBI performance from Mann as a moment that restored Mizzou’s early season momentum.