Missouri baseball can’t complete series sweep of FIU, falls 11-5

Tiger pitchers struggled with command all day long, hitting six Panther batters.
Maneater File Photo

Missouri got great performances from its pitching staff in each of the first two games of its season-opening series against the Florida International University Panthers, allowing just one run in each of the contests. But the team found no such success on the mound on Sunday, dropping the series finale 11-5 while giving up 11 hits, hitting six Panther batters and committing an error.

The game started out looking like a pitchers duel, with only one run scored by either team in the first three innings. Trailing 2-0 entering the fifth inning, the Tiger offense erupted for five runs, capped by a bases-clearing double by Zach Hanna that drove in three Tigers.

Senior starting pitcher Andy Toelken took the mound for the Tigers on Sunday and got off to a decent start, allowing just two runs through the first four innings. After coming back out for the fifth inning, things started to unravel for Toelken, as he surrendered three runs, all earned, while failing to record an out. He was then pulled from the game in favor of redshirt sophomore Cody Siebenberger.

Siebenberger was able to retire one batter but gave up another run before he was replaced by junior Nile Ball.

Ball, arguably the only Tiger hurler who pitched effectively on Sunday, came in and shut the door, stranding two Panther runners on base. He then came back out for the 6th and 7th, giving the team a much-needed 2.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.

In the later innings of the game, the Tiger bats went silent. In fact, the Tigers only mustered seven hits on the day and only scored in one frame, the fifth.

After Ball was taken out of the game, the Tigers’ bullpen woes continued. In the eighth inning, Cameron Dulle and Konnor Ash were tagged for a combined five runs, extending the Panther lead to six runs and effectively ending any chance of a Tiger comeback.

Besides Hanna, offensive bright spots were hard to come by for the Tigers. Connor Brumfield had four hits and Kameron Misner walked three times to cap a productive opening series.

After the game, coach Steve Bieser said he was disappointed with the outcome but acknowledged that games like this are inevitable in such a long season.

“It was a long afternoon and it was one of those games that everything kept dragging,” Bieser said in a press release. “We couldn’t get in any type of rhythm early on. It was one of those days.”

The Tigers will remain on the road for another week and will be back in action against the Miami Hurricanes on Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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