The Mizzou baseball team lost its first game of the NCAA Tucson Regional, 15-3, to top-seeded Arizona on Friday night (June 1) at Hi Corbett Field, dropping the Tigers to an elimination game tomorrow at 6 p.m. (CT) against second-seeded New Mexico State. The Tigers went on top 2-0 and 3-2, but a seven-run fourth inning by the Wildcats put the game out of reach. Tiger starter Blake Holovach was tagged with the loss after he went 3.1 innings, allowing 10 hits and six earned runs.
The Tigers (32-27) will fight to keep their season alive tomorrow night at 6 p.m. (CT) against New Mexico State as ace Rob Zastryzny will be on the hill for the Tigers. The Tigers, who had outscored their opponents, 58-29, in the fourth inning this season, struggled in that frame on Friday as they were retired by Arizona starter Kurt Heyer on just five pitches and then allowed seven runs on six hits, two walks and an error in the bottom of the inning, putting the game out of reach.
In all, Blake Brown led the Tigers at the plate, reaching base in his first three plate appearances, going 2-for-2 with a double, a triple, two walks and a stolen base. Eric Garcia also extended his hitting streak to a season-best 10 straight games with a single through the middle in the first. He also scored a run as he finished the game going 1-for-4.
The Tigers continued their trend of scoring in the first inning as they did so for the third straight game with a pair of runs in the top of the first. Garcia continued to swing a hot bat as of late with a single up the middle to open the game and then Brown tripled to right field to score Garcia. Brown then scored on a groundout to short by Turner as they took a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the first. It was the third straight game that Mizzou had scored at least two runs in the first inning.
But Arizona came back and really got to Holovach in the first as they tallied six hits in the frame and scored two runs, but the Wildcats ran into two outs on the base paths to help the Tigers and Holovach get out of the inning. Scott Sommerfeld gunned the go-ahead run at the plate after the Wildcats’ sixth hit as he picked up his fifth outfield assist of the season from left field.
Mizzou got something going in the second inning as Andreas Plackis led off the frame with a single to right field and then Sommerfeld attempted to bunt him to second, but an error by Arizona second baseman Trent Gilbert put runners on the corners with no outs. Arizona native Dillon Everett then hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score Plackis, giving Mizzou the lead back at 3-2.
Everett made his way into the highlight reel again in the third inning as he stole a leadoff single from Pac 12 Player of the Year Alex Mejia as he fielded a ball deep in the hole and made a leaping throw to first as Plackis did a great job extending to make the scoop for the out. Both starters seemed to settle in a bit from there until the bottom of the fourth when Holovach ran into some trouble.
He appeared to get three groundouts, but all three turned into hits as they were chopped very high off of the hard desert ground for infield hits, scoring a run to tie the game at 3-3. All three of those hits were chopped right off the dirt in front of the plate. Holovach then hung a pitch to leadoff hitter Joey Rickard and he laced the ball in into left center for a two-run triple, putting UA on top, 5-3, ending Holovach’s day.
Ryan Yuengel came on to minimize the damage, but UA scored two more runs, one on an error on an attempted stolen base and another on a sacrifice fly. UA then put two more batters on base off of Yuengel as the Wildcats batted around in the inning. First baseman Joseph Maggi then hit a double to right to score two more runs, extending the lead to 9-3. The Tigers then went to John Miles, who got the Tigers out of the jam.
After giving up three runs in the first two innings, Heyer then put together 1-2-3 innings in the third, fourth, fifth and sixth innings as he settled in to earn his earned his 12th win of the season. Arizona pounded out 20 hits in the game, 12 of which came in the first and fourth innings alone (six in each). Arizona added three more in the seventh as Mizzou gave up more than 10 runs for just the fourth time this season and first time since April 7 against Baylor. The 20 hits given up are the most by a Tiger opponent this season as are the 15 runs.
Tomorrow’s elimination game will air live on ESPNU and Tex Little and Hunter Mense will have the call on KTGR. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.