The overcast weather should have been a warning.
In a game marred with mistakes, the Tigers (3-7, 0-0 Southeastern Conference) used six pitchers and committed three errors en route to an 8-3 loss to the University of San Francisco on Saturday.
“When we’ve lost, it’s looked a lot like that,” coach Tim Jamieson said. “You know, last night we played as well as we’ve played. But for a good baseball team, you have to repeat that performance and we didn’t do anything particularly well today.”
One pitch into the first at bat, the game started with a blunder. Leadoff hitter Justin Maffei tagged sophomore starter Brett Graves for a solo shot that bounced off the scoreboard in left-center field.
Graves would give up another run off in the first but held strong for the next five and one thirds innings.
“Graves had a lot of loud outs, but kept us in the game,” Jamieson said.
In the sixth inning, San Francisco tried to score after Graves left the game with the bases loaded. However, redshirt junior reliever Jake Walsh got Bob Cruikshank to ground into a 1-2-3 double play.
In the seventh, the Dons managed to score a run, but freshman hurler Ryan Phillips ended the inning with a ground ball to first base, leaving two runners stranded.
“Phillips pitched well and Walsh did, too,” junior catcher Dylan Kelly said. “He got the ground ball double play. That was huge. I feel like we had the momentum but then we lost it.”
The Tigers capitalized on the momentum in the bottom of the seventh and eighth, scoring a run in each frame. The seventh inning rally started when junior third baseman Keaton Steele walked and sophomore left fielder Case Munson dropped a bloop hit to right field.
Oddly, Munson was thrown out in between first and second when he thought junior first baseman Michael McGraw walked on ball three. Sophomore center fielder Logan Pearson drove home Steele on a ground ball base hit to left field.
Senior right fielder Dane Opel scored in the next inning off a Kelly double.
However, Missouri lost the momentum in the ninth after committing a throwing error and a fielding error, which allowed the Dons to score five runs in an ugly turn of events.
“I picked the ball up, threw it and missed it,” Steele said of his throwing error that later allowed a run to score. “Bad throw on my part. I overshot the left side (because) I didn’t want to throw it right side and kill the runner going down (to first base). But it’s baseball. It happens.”
Jamieson said he wanted his team to focus on tomorrow’s game and putting the loss behind them.
“We have made some strides this week at home. … Our goal every weekend is to win a series but you don’t want beat yourselves,” Jamieson said. “Just about every loss we’ve had, we haven’t been beaten. We’ve beaten ourselves.”
Tomorrow’s rubber game against San Francisco has been moved to 12 p.m. Eric Anderson will likely get the start and be limited to a pitch count as he recovers from Tommy John elbow surgery.