When senior designated hitter Eric Anderson walks up to the plate for Missouri, Jay-Z and Linkin Park’s “Encore” plays over Taylor Stadium’s speakers.
“Now can I get an encore, do you want more?” Jay-Z asks.
Anderson would like a re-do.
Mizzou (17-19, 6-10 Southeastern Conference) lost to No. 22 Mississippi State (24-15, 8-8 SEC), 3-2, Friday after C.T. Bradford’s single into right field brought in the game-winning run in the 11th inning. But the game might’ve never gone to extra innings had two plays Anderson was involved in gone differently.
In the first inning, Anderson was called out sliding into third base after a bunt by sophomore shortstop Josh Lester. Missouri coach Tim Jamieson deemed the call by the umpire “questionable.”
There was nothing questionable about Anderson’s other missed opportunity. The Tigers’ leadoff hitter struck out looking with the bases loaded to end the sixth inning.
“I need to come through in that situation,” Anderson said. “I think if I come through there, we win that ball game.”
On the night, the Tigers were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position.
“You’re not going to have a lot of opportunities,” Jamieson said. “You got to take advantage of the few that you get.”
Jamieson said Mizzou’s lack of success at the plate wasn’t entirely the fault of its hitters. He thought the Bulldogs pitched well in situations where Missouri threatened to score, throwing inside and mixing pitches.
Jamieson called Mississippi State’s two relievers on the night, Jacob Lindgren and Jonathan Holder, the best relief pitchers in the SEC. They combined for 8.1 innings, giving up no runs while fanning 13.
“They made it really hard on our guys to do things,” Jamieson said. “They went to another place, another level, when we got guys in scoring position.”
Missouri’s pitchers went toe-to-toe with the Bulldogs for most of the game.
Junior righty Brett Graves, started on the mound for Missouri. He went seven innings, giving up six hits and two earned runs.
Senior right hander Keaton Steele threw the rest of the game for Mizzou. Both he and Holder struck out their respective sides in order in the 10th inning.
But in the 11th inning, Steele gave up the winning run. He was awarded the loss, Holder the win.
“Just some things here or there that didn’t go our way,” Graves said. “That’s why we can’t look too far into it.”
Missouri will play the Bulldogs again Saturday at 2 p.m.