Late inning shortcomings end in Missouri baseball loss to Northeastern

The Tigers stranded 11 runners in the game.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

Senior Cameron Dulle entered in relief Thursday for the second consecutive game with the bases loaded and no outs. He entered the eighth inning with Missouri cruising on a 3-0 lead after seven strong innings from senior Tyler LaPlante to open the game. In Missouri baseball’s win at Florida A&M Tuesday, Dulle recorded three consecutive strikeouts to get out of the jam. Two innings later, he was pronounced the winning pitcher. He wasn’t as fortunate Thursday against Northeastern.

Dulle forced a ground ball from Northeastern’s Cam Walsh to senior Tony Ortiz at first base. Ortiz threw home but sophomore catcher Chad McDaniel’s foot was off the bag and all runners were called safe.

Scott Holzwasser continued the Huskies’ rally with a two-RBI single to tie the game. After getting two outs, Dulle walked a batter to load the bases again. Walsh, who had advanced to third on a wild pitch, trotted home on Dulle’s second wild pitch of the inning to give Northeastern the lead.

The one-run difference proved fatal for Missouri (2-3) in its 4-3 loss to Northeastern (2-2) Thursday night in Fort Myers, Florida.

Through seven innings, Missouri was in control of the game.

Opening the bottom of the first inning, twins Clayton and Alex Peterson each earned a walk. The Petersons were followed by a single from junior Kameron Misner to score Clayton Peterson and an infield single from Ortiz to score Alex Peterson.

Missouri tallied three hits over the next three innings, but failed to score, leaving five runners on base over the frames.

The lead was extended to three runs in the fifth inning. In their third at-bats of the game, the Peterson twins each earned their second walks. After a Misner strikeout, junior Chris Cornelius plated Clayton Peterson on a single to center field. The Tigers left two more runners on base in the fifth inning — the team finished with 11 runners left on.

Missouri gave LaPlante three runs of support, and through seven innings, looked to be enough.

In his second start of the season — he gave up three runs, two earned, in Missouri’s opening day loss at North Florida — the southpaw was near perfect through four innings. His only mistake had been hitting a batter in the fourth inning; LaPlante picked him off at first base.

LaPlante had a no-hit bid broken up in the fifth inning on a double off the bat of Northeastern’s Ryan Solomon. LaPlante got out of the inning without another scratch. In the sixth and seventh innings, he gave up one hit each inning.

The MU starter didn’t have any trouble until the eighth inning when he hit his third batter of the day and surrendered two singles to load the bases. Finishing with 84 pitches thrown, coach Steve Bieser took LaPlante out of the game in favor of Dulle.

"[LaPlante] really competed for seven innings and then just wore down and didn't have what he needed in the eighth,” Bieser said in a press release. “We tried to go in there with [Cameron] Dulle, but we just didn't have him ready to go. He has been doing great work for us and has been competing really well. We had a little misplay with a play at the plate and not getting that force out there was the difference in the game."

In what would have otherwise been a spotless final stat-line for the game, the first three runs Dulle gave up in the top of the eighth were assigned to LaPlante. He pitched seven strong innings, gave up five hits, struck out four and hit three batters, but the three earned runs would become the most significant statistic of the night.

Despite the one-run deficit after the eighth inning, Missouri had one more chance in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Clayton Peterson struck out to open the inning. Senior Connor Brumfield followed Peterson with a groundout. Misner finished his 3-5 night with a single to left field. The Huskies intentionally walked Cornelius to put the winning run on base. With two on and two outs, Ortiz struck out, stranding the final two runners of the night and completing the loss.

"It's a tough thing,” Bieser said in the press release. “We've tried a lot of different things. We are just going to have to play our way out of it. The guys are going to have to get back to the field tomorrow, trust themselves and keep going. That's all we can do."

Missouri will begin its three game series against Rhode Island in Fort Myers on Friday at 5 p.m. CST.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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