Senior righty Eric Anderson baffled Georgia on his way to a complete game, carrying Missouri (14-16, 4-8 SEC) over Georgia (18-13, 5-6-1) 4-2.
Coming off of a team-wide disappointing performance yesterday, the excellence of Anderson’s start lifted the team. He allowed six hits without a walk, striking out 12.
“I felt great about it,” junior right fielder Jake Ivory said. “It was definitely a great way to come out after losing the first two. It was a great team effort and Eric really led us on the mound.”
Anderson led the team on the offensive side as well. As the Tigers’ leadoff hitter, he immediately struck against the Bulldogs’ starter Jarrett Brown with a single.
A wild pickoff throw moved him to second and a bunt by sophomore shortstop Josh Lester put him to third with one out. Senior catcher Dylan Kelly drove him home with a single.
For a team that has struggled to score runs, striking early was important.
“When your bats are cold, they’re cold,” Anderson said. “I think that’s what we felt the first two games. Today we had some guys come up with big hits and that’s huge. Hopefully we can feed off that and get hot.”
In the second inning, Missouri extended the lead. The bottom of the order struck the rally off with a walk and a bunt single. Anderson found himself once again in the middle of the offensive production, drawing a walk to load the bases.
A grounder to first base was an inning-ending double play risk, but the throw airmailed into left, allowing two runs to score. A double steal moved Anderson and Lester to second and third. A sac fly brought in Anderson and stretched the lead to 4-0.
Georgia pulled the game back to striking distance with two mid-inning runs. A double and a single put them on the board in the fourth and a fifth inning home run was the final run of the game.
“I made a mistake with the pitch,” Anderson said about the homer. “Credit to the guy, he hit it hard, but it was one of those weird home runs with topspin. I didn’t think it was out initially, but he put a good swing on it and it found its way out.”
The Dawgs did not threaten again until the eighth. Anderson had passed 100 pitches and an error allowed a baserunner. Two singles loaded the bases for Georgia cleanup hitter Nelson Ward.
Anderson buckled down, though, and forced him to ground out to short.
For the final inning, he demanded to be brought back out for the final inning. Coach Tim Jamieson obliged, saying Anderson “would have killed him” had he taken him out.
The Tigers next play Missouri State at home on Tuesday at 6 p.m.