They inched closer each time, but never close enough.
Missouri (19-24, 6-15 Southeastern Conference) was swept by No. 6 Florida this past weekend. It was the second straight SEC series the Tigers have been swept in.
Each loss was a little closer than the last, but lack of offensive production and two poor pitching performances equated to a sweep at the hands of the top-ranked Gators.
Mizzou ace Brett Graves was on the mound Friday, but it was Florida freshman Logan Shore who looked like a star. Graves went seven innings, the eighth time he’s done that this season, but gave up seven hits and allowed five runs — four earned — to the Gators. Shore limited the Tigers to one run in 7.1 innings, and Mizzou lost 7-1.
The offensive struggles continued Saturday. Florida sophomore Aaron Rhodes threw a complete game shutout. Senior Dillon Everett managed the Tigers’ only hit on the day, a double.
As a team, Missouri slugged just .230 on the weekend — that’s after getting 11 hits in the Sunday matchup with the Gators.
Mizzou lost 6-5 in the series finale, after sophomore Peter Fairbanks gave up a walk-off single in the 10th inning. The Tigers’ bats showed life Sunday; junior leftfielder Jake Ivory was the only player in Mizzou’s lineup to not register a hit.
The Tigers were up 5-3 heading into the bottom of the sixth, but five Florida hits and a Missouri error highlighted the inning, as the Gators were able to tie it up. The two teams remained tied until the Florida walk-off.
Florida hit .298 on the weekend against the Missouri pitching staff — almost 30 points higher than they have hit on the season.
Mizzou is last in the SEC Eastern division, 1.5 games behind Georgia. The Tigers will have a chance to change that this weekend. They’ll play No. 25 Vanderbilt in a three-game series.
The Tigers have yet to win a conference series at home.