Missouri (9-9, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) jumped ahead with a first-game win against Tennessee (17-2, 2-1 SEC), but an inability to salvage a split from a Saturday doubleheader led to a series loss.
Missouri currently has the worst record in the SEC.
On Friday night, junior right-hander Brett Graves held the Vols at bay for seven innings. This allowed the offense enough time to crack the Tennessee’s bullpen. Down two runs going into the seventh, freshman center fielder Jake Ring grooved an off-speed pitch into right field, tying the game after a poor throw rolled into the dugout.
A sacrifice fly brought Ring home and gave the Tigers the lead. The offense tacked on two more insurance runs the next inning on a series of doubles, and the bullpen closed the game out for a 5-2 win.
These big hits were elusive for the offense in Saturday’s games. In total, 37 batters came to the plate with a runner on base. Six walked, and seven recorded a hit, with two sacrifice bunts in the mix, as well. The results translated to a good on-base percentage, .371, but the sequencing of the plays was not conducive to run scoring.
Senior Eric Anderson dazzled the Tennessee offense, allowing one run and striking out a career-high eight batters across six innings. This was in addition to being the designated hitter for both of the games.
Anderson said he was fatigued, and he had to “dig deep” to get through the start.
Senior catcher Dylan Kelly blamed the team’s struggles on a lack of focus.
“I’m not going to say the doubleheader wore us out,” Kelly said, “but I feel like we kinda gave away the first game. Coach (Tim Jamieson) talked about it. The seventh inning on, some of the guys were in the game; some of the guys weren’t in the game.”
Kelly worked long at-bats and went 4-for-9 with three walks and two doubles.
“Dylan is not a great thrower. That’s just not his strength,” Jamieson said. “He receives well, and offensively he’s one of our better players, so he does the little things well. The throwing part just doesn’t work out well.”
Senior infielder Shane Segovia also did well, hitting 4-for-10 with a couple walks and a double. On defense, Segovia was also playing second base, a position he never had before this week. He impressed, making the plays a second baseman should, and he looked comfortable doing it, Jamieson said.
“Shane’s only been playing second base for five games,” he said. “He’s done a good job there. Shane looks like he’s going to be at second base for a while.”
Missouri started a two-game series against Milwaukee on Tuesday.