Mizzou baseball keeps it rolling with wins against Appalachian State
Head coach Steve Bieser: “They just keep finding ways to win.”
Mar. 12, 2017
The weather may have been cold, but No. 26 Missouri baseball showed this weekend that it is still red-hot.
The Tigers rode two big innings and exceptional pitching from sophomore Michael Plassmeyer to a 7-1 win over the Appalachian State Mountaineers on Saturday night before picking up a 3-2 walk-off victory on Sunday afternoon.
The win extended the team’s nation-leading win streak to 15 games, matching the best 16-game start in school history.
In Saturday’s game, Mizzou put up three hits and took advantage of two Mountaineers errors to score four runs in the third and take a 4-1 lead. The Tigers took advantage of more miscues in the sixth, scoring three runs on two sacrifice flies and a wild pitch to give them all the runs they needed.
Despite leaving six men on base and striking out 11 times, Mizzou was able to score six-plus runs for the 12th time in the team’s 15-game winning streak. Bieser said Mizzou scoring at least six runs is critical to the team continuing its early-season success going forward.
“We feel like if we execute things right, we can score six or seven runs every single game,” he said. “That’s the mindset that I want them to have. That’s what we have to continue to believe in, and I think they do believe that we’re going to find ways to score runs.”
Plassmeyer, the only player on the field not wearing sleeves in Saturday night’s historically cold game, didn’t seem to mind pitching in 33-degree weather. He went seven innings, yielding three hits, one earned run and three walks, and he picked up a career-high nine strikeouts. He was relieved by Cameron Dulle, who fired off two perfect innings to close the game for the Tigers, which also got two no-hit innings from TJ Sikkema on Sunday.
Plassmeyer said he leaned heavily on his fastball and changing locations to keep Appalachian State’s hitters uncomfortable.
“I didn’t feel like I had my best stuff today, so I was kind of trying guide it in there the first couple of innings,” he said. “Once we got a lead, I sat back and just threw it.”
Junior second baseman Robbie Glendinning was the hero for the Tigers on Sunday. He drove an 0-2 fastball into left field to drive in the winning run and produce Mizzou’s first hit with runners in scoring position on the day. He snapped an 0-8 RISP skid that had plagued the team for much of the game.
Bieser said Glendinning, who teammates have taken to calling “Walk-off Robbie” in an ode to the two walk-off hits he delivered for his team this week, has shown a propensity for maturity and success in big situations.
“He’s a guy that, when the game is on the line, you tend to like your chances when he’s in there, and today it showed,” Bieser said. “How he competed when he got down 0-2 and just kept going is a sign of a guy that has some confidence. I really enjoyed watching him compete through that at-bat and be able to come out on top.”
The Tigers came very close to losing on Sunday, as the team stranded two runners in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings and could not buy a big hit to tie the game. First baseman Brian Sharp changed that in the ninth, though, when he drove a 3-2 pitch out to left field and snuck it just over the wall for a game-tying home run.
Bieser said Sharp’s homer lifted spirits in the Mizzou dugout and was the key play in the game.
“That [home run] took a lot of pressure off the rest of the club,” he said. “All of a sudden all of the pressure goes to the other team and the pitcher, [and] we found a way to get it done.”
As the Tigers prepare for their first Southeastern Conference matchups next weekend at Alabama and games on Tuesday and Wednesday against Chicago State, Bieser said his team still has some work to do with defense and offensive execution but he likes where his team is right now.
“I told them that I would be happy with 55-1 this year,” Bieser said. “That’s my expectation [because] I never go out to a ballgame and expect to lose, and they have the same expectation. I really like the way we’re playing from a team standpoint.”
Edited by Eli Lederman | email@example.com