Missouri (13-16, 3-8 Southeastern Conference) was overwhelmed by sloppy play and missed opportunities in an ugly, 7-2 loss to Georgia (18-12, 5-5-1).
The Tigers stranded nine runners on the day, in part due to Georgia righty Robert Tyler’s strong performance. Of the 15 outs he recorded, 11 were via strikeouts. With runners on base, he struck out Missouri five times alone.
“We didn’t play very well,” coach Tim Jamieson said. “We didn’t play crappy, but we didn’t play well enough to win in this conference, or any other conference.”
The game was scoreless through the first three innings as the teams traded wasted baserunners.
In the fourth, Georgia finally struck.
Junior righty John Miles surrendered a one-out double and was able to retire the next batter on a groundout. A five-pitch walk added another runner, though, and the Bulldogs made him pay.
Two singles brought the score to 2-0 with two runners still in scoring position. An out on a grounder to short might have kept the Tigers in the game, but a throwing error by sophomore Josh Lester allowed the lead to stretch to 4-0.
Missouri came back and threatened yet again in the bottom of the frame.
A 14-pitch walk drawn by Lester energized the crowd, and a single by freshman third baseman Ryan Howard enhanced the scoring opportunity. The team seemed poised to score until sophomore left fielder Sean Ullrich watched all the way to an inning-ending, six-pitch strikeout.
Patience and count-working were themes for the game. The Lester walk is an obvious example, though hitters up and down both lineups forced Miles and Tyler into deep counts.
As a result, neither starter made it through six. Miles started his end, but a single and 105 pitches conspired to remove him.
Neither of the two pitchers who followed were able to record an out, allowing four singles and a bases-loaded hit batsman. This ran the score to 7-0, and the game was sealed.
After a competitive 13-inning loss the night before, the team was upset at the result.
“It’s very frustrating,” senior catcher Dylan Kelly said. “As a catcher, as a senior, as a baseball player, it’s very frustrating to lose, and it’s become too easy on this team.”
His thoughts were echoed by starter Miles.
“No heart,” Miles said. “We didn’t battle enough. We can be a really good ballclub if we want to, but it’s a choice.”
The road will not get any easier for the Tigers, either. Their next five series will be against the top of the SEC and top of the country.
“We need to take care of the little things, and battle a little more,” Kelly said. “I just want to see a little heart. Some guys have the heart, and some guys don’t. Once everyone doesn’t, you can totally see it.”