Holt, Gubelman guide MU to blowout win over Arkansas State

The Tiger offense has now put up 41 runs in the last three games.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

Entering the season, there was one certainty for the Missouri outfield: Kameron Misner. Whoever started on either side of the senior outfielder was yet to be determined. Juniors Clayton and Alex Peterson were candidates. So were senior Connor Brumfield and freshman Thomas Broyles. As the first home games got underway, coach Steve Bieser announced he would use a platoon system until someone proved worthy of starting regularly, playing the left-handed hitting Brumfield and Broyles against righties and the Petersons against southpaws.

During Tuesday’s game against Arkansas State, freshman Josh Holt Jr. made a case of his own for a starting spot.

The Georgia native went 3-for-4 in just his third collegiate start, caused havoc on the basepaths and contributed defensively with a leaping catch against the left field wall to rob Jacob Jablonski of extra bases as Mizzou (10-5) rolled to a 16-1 win over the Red Wolves (11-6).

“He’s probably just been sitting back and saying ‘Dummy, when you gonna give me a chance?’” Bieser said. “But that’s Josh. He’s a great young man, and when he gets a chance to play, he plays all out.”

With expected starter Art Joven out with a stomach bug, freshman Luke Mann made his first career start on the mound, going three innings and allowing one run.

“I thought it was outstanding,” Bieser said. “The three hits that he gave up, two little bleeders that fell in, and then that guy hooks the ball down the first base line and just keeps it fair, and that’s all he gave up. He made one mistake, really, in my opinion, on a pitch, and that was about it. I thought he threw the ball really well.”

After being unable to convert with two runners in scoring position and no outs, the Tigers went down 1-2-3 in the second inning against A-State starter Zech Jarrard.The offense needed a spark.

Holt led off the inning with an infield single to the right side and advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt, allowing him to score on Alex Peterson’s soft single to shortstop.

“I had to do my job,” Holt said. “Get on any way I can, and I found a hole.”

The Missouri lineup didn’t look back from there, putting up five runs that inning and four the next. Misner hit his fourth home run of the season in the outburst.

“We’re starting to build some confidence that we can score and continue to score,” Bieser said. “I like the way that we’re playing. We’re having to earn a lot of what we’re getting.”

With Mann’s day done after three innings, Bieser turned to junior Jordan Gubelman out of the bullpen, who dealt three innings of his own, not allowing a baserunner and striking out seven.

“[I was] just pounding the zone with everything that I could,” Gubelman said. “Just keeping them off-balance was the key to success.”

Meanwhile, the MU offense continued to pile on the runs, getting RBIs from Mann, sophomore Mark Vierling, Holt and senior Chris Cornelius in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

“Everything’s clicking right now,” Vierling said. “We just need to take that into SEC play.”

In the eighth inning, with freshman Seth Halvorsen pitching, Jablonski lifted a fly ball deep to left field. Holt chased after it, left his feet and caught it just before he crashed into the wall.

“Rob it,” Holt said on his thought process on the play. “Catch it anyway I can.”

Freshman Tommy Springer closed out the game for the Tigers, allowing two baserunners and striking out the side in the ninth.

The two teams will meet again at Taylor Stadium on Wednesday, March 13 at 4 p.m.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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