The Tigers were eliminated from the NCAA baseball tournament after an 11-6 loss to the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. It was the second loss to Western Kentucky in three days for the Tigers, who were the No. 2 seed in the Oxford Regional.
"I'm proud of the effort this ball club has made," coach Tim Jamieson said in a statement on OleMissSports.com. "A month ago we had no chance to make the postseason and maybe not even get to the conference championship, but the guys fought hard and finished third in the Big 12, having to play more games on the road than at home in the Big 12."
In the rematch with the Hilltoppers, things looked bad right away for senior pitcher Ian Berger. After two innings, Missouri found itself behind 7-0.
Back-to-back RBIs by junior center fielder Greg Folgia and junior left fielder Aaron Senne in the third inning gave the Tigers life, and an RBI base hit by senior first baseman Steve Gray in the fifth pulled Missouri within striking distance.
Holding a 7-3 advantage going into the sixth inning, Western Kentucky rallied against sophomore pitcher Phil McCormick for three runs and put a win out of reach for the Tigers.
Missouri made a late charge in the ninth inning when Senne hit an RBI sacrifice fly and junior catcher Trevor Coleman and sophomore designated hitter Ryan Ampleman each had run-scoring hits.
Western Kentucky senior pitcher Evan Teague finally closed out the Tigers. Trailing by seven runs early, the Missouri offense struggled to make up the lost ground.
"I didn't think we had a lot of great at-bats," Senne said in a statement on OleMissSports.com. "Despite that, we never quit playing and never gave up."
Western Kentucky senior right fielder Chad Cregar, who went four for five, and senior shortstop Terrence Dayleg, who went three for four, gave the Missouri pitchers a lot of trouble, and had five RBIs each.
"It's kind of hard to bounce back from seven runs, but we stayed aggressive," Folgia said in a statement on OleMissSports.com. "We never really gave up at any point in the game, especially in the ninth, which was really impressive."
In the opening game of the regional, Western Kentucky handed the Tigers a loss in similar fashion. Western Kentucky jumped on top early with six runs in the first inning and held on for an 11-5 victory.
In the losing effort, the Tigers managed to put up 14 hits.
After suffering its first loss to the Hilltoppers, Missouri was able to keep its tournament run alive with a 9-0 elimination-game win against Monmouth.
Junior pitcher Kyle Gibson pitched eight scoreless innings for the Tigers and threw his 131st strikeout of the season, which tied the school record set by Max Scherzer in 2005. The victory set up the rematch with Western Kentucky where the Tigers were knocked out of the tournament.