Mizzou needed something special this weekend. They were heading on the road to face the hottest team in America with their slim chances of making a regional hanging in the balance. But the MU offense no-showed in Friday’s double header, and the Tigers blew a late lead in Game 3 to all but seal their fate of their season ending after the SEC Tournament.
Game 1 of Friday’s double header was pretty much the opposite of everything I said in my preview. Chase Allsup, who had been rather mediocre all season for Auburn, gave the Mizzou offense trouble all night. He went 7 shutout innings and struck out six while allowing just three hits. I highlighted his start as an opportunity for a red-hot Mizzou offense to get control of this series, and I was very wrong. On the Missouri side, Chandler Murphy pitched very well, but he couldn’t match Allsup. Murphy threw 7.1 innings and allowed 4 ER while striking out seven. By all accounts it was a fantastic start, it just wasn’t enough to match Allsup’s brilliance.
A pair of sixth-inning solo homers felt like the nail in Missouri’s coffin when Auburn went up 3-0, and that turned out to be the case. Auburn took the game 4-0 to jump out to an early series lead.
Murphy strikes out the side in the 3rd! #MIZ 0, AU 0 | ⬆️4⃣#C2E ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/kUsRozTdan— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) May 19, 2023
Game 2 of the double header was more of the same. Missouri’s bats were absolutely dumbfounded by Auburn’s pitching, and the Mizzou staff couldn’t match the effort. Auburn jumped out to an early lead in this game and never really looked back, but there were a few highlights for Missouri. Cam Chick made a ridiculous play in left field, and Luke Mann hit a 2-run home run to tie Jacob Priday for the MU HR record for a career.
But outside of those brief moments of joy, this game felt like another game Missouri never stood a chance in. After Luke Mann’s homer cut the Mizzou deficit to just 4-2, Auburn immediately answered with a 3-spot in their half of the inning then continued to mow down the Missouri hitters.
In the final three innings, just two Tigers reached base, and Mizzou fell 7-2 to lose the game and the series.
That ball is history! ⚾️— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) May 19, 2023
With home run No. 49 as a Tiger, @super_MANN11 ties Jacob Priday for #Mizzou's career HR record!#MIZ | #C2E pic.twitter.com/dqQ0T8ALu8
Saturday’s finale felt like Missouri finally had things figured out. The bats woke up, and for the first seven innings, the Tigers’ pitching did their job. But as has happened many times in this 2023 Missouri baseball season, the later innings doomed the Tigers.
Things got off to a flying start when Trevor Austin launched a homer in the first inning, and Matt Garcia knocked in another with a single to give Mizzou a 3-0 lead. For most of the game, Mizzou kept Auburn at bay and maintained a steady lead. In the 8th, Ty Wilmsmeyer stretched the lead out to 7-4 with a homer, and things were looking good for Mizzou. But needing just six more outs to seal the victory, Missouri’s pitching crumbled in the bottom of the 8th. Kyle Potthoff and Jacob Hasty combined to throw just 0.2 innings and allow 5 ER in the eighth. Auburn all of a sudden had a multi-run lead and Bieser was forced to turn to Wilmsmeyer out of the pen to get the final out of the inning. It was a less than ideal situation.
In the ninth Missouri did have the top of the lineup due up, but Auburn retired them 1-2-3 to seal the sweep. It was a back-breaking way to lose a crushing series that all but ended Missouri’s season.
Good bye, baseball! @Ty_Wilms extends the #Mizzou lead with a two-run blast!!#MIZ | #C2E pic.twitter.com/LsoRmMmldk— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) May 20, 2023
Mizzou gets another crack at Auburn when they play them in the first round of the SEC Tournament in Hoover Tuesday, but the Tigers will need far more than just that win to make their case for a regional birth. It’s likely Missouri needs to string together at least two, most likely three wins in Hoover to reenter the discussion for a regional. Their path to doing so begins with Auburn, then they would face Vanderbilt in the second round and most likely Florida the game after that. It’s not exactly what most would refer to as a favorable draw.
The Bracket ‼️— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) May 21, 2023
[ PDF ] https://t.co/EgYCWvakUm#SECBSB x #SECTourney pic.twitter.com/6syUTbw7iE