Missouri Baseball has now lost 16 of its last 18 SEC games after getting swept by Florida in Gainesville this weekend. The Tigers were pretty much overmatched from first pitch this weekend, and that was reflected in the result of the series. In just 6 weeks, the Tigers have gone from a top-25 team to on-the-outside-looking-in for a spot in Hoover.
On Friday night, Florida made light work of the Tigers with an 11-1 run-rule victory in seven innings. The Gators roughed up the always reliable Chandler Murphy, plating 8 runs off the Tigers’ ace in just five innings. Florida did its scoring how it knows best – by mashing homers. Tyler Shelnut, Jac Caglianone, Michael Robertson and BT Riopelle each hit a home run off Murphy.
While the Gators’ offense exploded, the Missouri offense stayed silent. The Tigers mustered just two hits in seven innings and had no answer for Brandon Sproat who threw all seven innings, allowing just one run.
Missouri’s lone run came via a Luke Mann sac-fly in the fourth.
Saturday got off to a good start for Missouri, but that didn’t last. Thanks to a pair of 2-run homers from Trevor Austin and Dalton Bargo, the Tigers took an early 4-0 lead in the top of the third. But it was only a matter of time before the potent Florida offense awoke from its brief slumber.
Trailing by 4, the Gators proceeded to plate nine unanswered runs to take a 9-4 lead. Missouri cut into that deficit in the 7th when Hank Zeisler homered and Tre Morris hit an RBI-triple, but it wasn’t enough after Shelnut doubled in two more runs and the Gators won 11-7 to take the series.
It was a positive how much success the Tigers found off Hurston Waldrep, but Brandon Neely was damn near unhittable out of the Florida bullpen, and he put the game away for the Gators.
Sunday’s game was the closest of this weekend’s series.
After Florida jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, the Tigers started to rally. In the seventh, Missouri plated a pair on a Trevor Austin double to make it 5-3, but the Gaotrs plated three of their own in the bottom of the inning to reestablish an 8-3 lead.
The Tigers refused to go down easy, however. First it was Matthew Garcia driving in a pair, then Cam Chick drove in another, and Ross Lovich cut it to 8-7 on a sac-fly.
In the ninth, Missouri got the tying run on first after Juju Stevens reached on a catcher’s interference, but Ty Wilmsmeyer struck out swinging to end the game in the next at-bat. It felt like a fitting end to a game that summarized Missouri’s baseball season of close calls not going their way.
The Tigers now have kU on Tuesday and three winnable SEC series to finish the season against Ole Miss, Auburn and Georgia. The Tigers will probably need to win each of them to have a chance at the postseason, and a sweep mixed in would go a long way.