No. 23 Mizzou Baseball fell to No. 9 Florida, 4-3, Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Taylor Stadium. Florida’s ace RHP Alex Faedo was dominant, out-dueling Mizzou’s Tanner Houck (Collinsville, Ill.) in what was one of the nation’s marquee pitching matchups all season. Faedo went 7.0 innings and allowed three runs (one earned) with six hits and seven strikeouts. He moves to 5-1 on the year. Florida goes to 18-9 and 3-4 in SEC play while Mizzou falls to 21-5 and 4-3 in SEC play.
Houck was a tough-luck loser on Friday, pitching through 6.0 innings for the 31st time in 37 career starts. He went 7.0 innings and struck out eight while surrendering eight hits and four runs (three earned). Freshman SS Chris Cornelius (St. Louis, Mo.), Brian Sharp (Liberty, Mo.) and Brett Bond (St. Louis, Mo.) tallied Mizzou’s RBIs and sophomore OF Connor Brumfield (Columbia, Mo.) tallied a pair of hits, his team-leading 11th multi-hit game of the year. Brumfield has now reached base safely in 14 straight games, the second-longest active streak on the team, trailing only Sharp (15).
Florida got to Houck a bit in the first as Deacon Liput lined a 1-2 pitch back up the middle to lead off the game with a hit. He stole second, moved to third on a groundout and was pushed across on an RBI single by JJ Schwarz. Houck then retired the side on 17 pitches.
Faedo allowed a leadoff double to Brumfield to start the game but he escaped the jam thanks to a great play with the infield in and Brumfield on third by shortstop Christian Hicks. Houck then came back to the mound and retired Florida on seven pitches in the second, picking up his first strikeout of the game to end the frame.
Houck was then tagged with an unearned run as Matt Berler (Hoover, Ala.) was unable to corral a slow-roller to second base with a runner on third and two outs. Florida led 2-0 after thanks to the error. Both pitchers settled in from there until Mike Rivera hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning to extend Florida’s lead to 4-0.
But just as Mizzou has done all season long, it did quit. The Tigers got a big two-out single from Cornelius for its first run in the seventh inning. Florida put Faedo back out for the eighth inning and Mizzou got a rally going. Harris led off the inning by reaching on an error and Kameron Misner (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) was then hit by a pitch. Sharp then roped an RBI double to left field to cut the lead to 4-2. Faedo then plunked Alex Samples (Bridgeport, Texas) and that ended his day. Bond pinch hit and worked a full count before roping a ball into right field to draw the Tigers within one.
With the tying run on third, pinch hitter Ian Nelson (Lake St. Louis, Mo.) struck out to strand a pair of runners and end a long eighth inning. Mizzou then tossed up a scoreless ninth and Florida got two quick outs in the bottom of the ninth. RF Trey Harris (Powder Springs, Ga.) then crushed a pitch to deep left center, but the wind knocked it down and it was caught on the track up against the wall for the final out.