Missouri (9-9, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) was held to two total runs by shaky Tennessee (17-2, 2-1 SEC) pitching, and the bullpen was unable to continue its dominance in a doubleheader sweep.
The Tigers had a plethora of chances across the two games, but failed to take advantage, stranding 20 runners. Any of these runners could have been the difference in Missouri’s 5-1 and 4-1 losses.
“Today sucked,” senior designated hitter Eric Anderson said.
Missouri loaded the bases three times in the first game. Anderson stepped to the plate two of those times, in the fourth and sixth innings. Both plate appearances ended with a ground ball to the shortstop and no runs.
“It was frustrating to have so many opportunities to score runs,” coach Tim Jamieson said. “The difference in the game was they got the hits when they needed them, and we didn’t.”
The other loaded-bases opportunity also went to waste. In the first inning, freshman outfielder Sean Ullrich fought to a seventh pitch strike out.
The offense forced the Vols’ starters out of the game early again. Neither Hunter Martin or Andrew Lee were able to get through six innings. This patience forced their bullpen to throw 8.2 innings.
The Tigers’ starting pitchers worked quickly and efficiently. Junior John Miles was touched for three runs over 6.1, but kept the ball on the ground. Anderson struck out eight over six innings, allowing one run.
“[Miles] pitched pretty well,” senior catcher Dylan Kelly said. “He had a rocky first and gave a run away, but he’s better than that. He battled pretty well to get through six.”
The bullpen allowed five runs in 5.2 innings. Sophomore lefty Austin Tribby and senior righty Keaton Steele both allowed their first runs of the season. Steele allowed three runs in the final two innings, taking the loss.
Jamieson took the blame for Steele’s struggles, saying that they had overused him in the course of this week’s games.
Senior second baseman Shane Segovia went 3 for 6 in the two games, drawing two walks.
The Tigers as a team worked 11 walks with 14 hits.
Missouri will finish off a 10-game homestand with two games against the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at 6 p.m Tuesday.