Missouri lost its fifth straight SEC series on Sunday with a 3-2 loss in the finale of home series with Alabama. The Tigers are 5-13 in SEC play after starting 3-0 with that sweep of Tennessee and are now firmly in danger of not making the SEC Tournament. Let’s recap what was, frankly, a miserable weekend for the Tigers.
Things looked promising initially on Friday night. Chandler Murphy was dealing, the Tigers were capitalizing on some Alabama mistakes, and Mizzou entered the sixth inning with a 3-1 lead. But that’s when things started to go poorly.
Alabama led off the inning with back-to-back homers off Murphy to tie the game, and the Tigers turned to Austin Troesser out of the bullpen. He proceeded to walk the first batter he faced and then give up a homer of his own, and just like that, the Tigers trailed 5-3.
Dylan Leach launched a homer in the bottom half of the sixth to cut the deficit in half and make it 5-4, but the Bama bullpen decided they’d had enough of the Tigers' offense. Missouri mustered just two base runners in the final two innings and fell 6-4.
Long gone, Leach! @ZDylanLeach launches his third homer of the year to slice the deficit in half.#MIZ | #C2E pic.twitter.com/pnMF1kT79Y— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) April 22, 2023
With Friday’s loss, Saturday’s game became that much more important. With Rorik Maltrud on the mound, the Tigers had to feel good about their chances, but things did not go as planned.
Bama knocked Maltrud out in the fourth inning to get to a depleted Missouri bullpen, which they feasted on. For a brief moment in the fifth, Missouri had hope after Hank Zeisler hit a 3-run homer over the right field fence to make it a 5-4 game. But the Crimson Tide responded with runs in the 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th innings. Missouri, meanwhile, was shut out in the final four innings.
The Tide won 10-4, and took the series.
Good bye, baseball! @hankzeisler launches a two-out, three-run shot for #Mizzou!#MIZ | #C2E ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/boKImSTJSI— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) April 22, 2023
In desperate need of a win on Sunday, Missouri called on freshman Logan Lunceford, who also started their midweek game. On short rest, Lunceford did everything he could to give Mizzou a chance to win.
6.1 innings, 2 earned runs, and seven strikeouts from the freshman was about as good as anyone could’ve hoped, if not better. Unfortunately, once again, it wasn’t enough. Bama plated a third run off Austin Troesser in the 7th, and even though the Tigers got one back in the bottom half of the inning, they couldn’t plate a third run to tie it.
Matthew Garcia’s ninth-inning double put the tying run in scoring position with two outs, but Juju Stevens couldn’t drive him in, and the Tigers lost 3-2 to complete the sweep.
Lunceford works a perfect 3rd and has fanned 5⃣ so far! #MIZ 0, UA 0 | ⬇️3⃣#C2E ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/IDAZyyDJqW— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) April 23, 2023
Player of the Week
This has to go to Lunceford, in my opinion. After a pretty mediocre midweek start, he took the ball in a game that meant so much to his team and delivered. While the Tigers didn’t secure the win, that was no fault of Lunceford’s. The freshman has been exceptional this year and has shown a real aptitude for pitching well in the biggest games. It’ll be exciting to watch him develop over the next three years, and hopefully he sticks around in the black and gold.