Missouri baseball extends win streak to five with a pair of wins Thursday and Friday
The Tigers parlayed timely hitting into two wins to start out the Kleberg Bank College Classic.
Feb. 25, 2017
Missouri baseball traveled to Corpus Christi, Texas, on Thursday to begin a weekend set at Whataburger Park. On Thursday, they battled the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders. The Tigers entered the matchup hot, having won three straight, while TAMUCC entered having lost two out of three in their season-opening series last weekend. The Tigers then took on No. 25 Houston, who came in with a 3-1 record.
The Tigers outdueled Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Thursday by a score of 7-6. Consensus MLB prospect Tanner Houck took the mound for the Tigers against the TAMUCC Islanders, and things started well for the righty as he struck out five Islander batters in the first four innings.
Houck’s early effort was supported by another strong performance from the Missouri offense. The Tigers put up four runs in the second inning off of two-run home runs from Alex Samples and Robbie Glendinning. The combined effort from Missouri’s pitching and offense provided the Tigers with a 4-1 lead headed into the fifth inning.
During the fifth, the Islanders’ bats came alive. TAMUCC scored four runs in the fifth inning after the first four batters of the inning got on base. After five, the Islanders led 5-4.
After the offensive explosion allowed by Houck, right-handed pitcher Cole Bartlett came on in relief. Bartlett allowed only one run during his 4.1 innings pitched, earning him the win.
A push bunt in the seventh inning by Mizzou freshman Chris Cornelius combined with two bases-loaded walks in the eighth and a strong pitching performance from Bartlett put Missouri up 7-5 going into the ninth.
In the final inning, Missouri stymied a rally by the Islanders that resulted in just one run, getting the final out with the tying run on third base and securing a 7-6 win.
In Friday’s matchup, Missouri was tested in a matinee matchup against the No. 25 Houston Cougars. The Tigers ultimately prevailed by a score of 4-2 and improved their overall record to 5-1 on the season.
Junior Andy Toelken made his second start of the year for Missouri, opposed by Seth Romero of Houston. Toelken would record a solid outing, earning the win, tossing 6 1/3 innings of two-run baseball, allowing seven hits, no walks and striking out four, throwing 81 pitches total.
After a slow start to the game, the Tigers struck first on the scoreboard, scoring a run on a passed ball from Houston that allowed first baseman Matt Berler to score in the bottom of the third inning. Samples extended the Tigers’ lead with a sacrifice fly in the same inning.
Houston’s bats would eventually wake up, and the Cougars showed exactly why they’re a top-25 team. Houston home runs in the fourth and sixth innings tied the game at two. The home runs were the first given up by Tigers pitching this season, ending a streak that saw Missouri pitching hold 184 consecutive batters without a home run.
As the drama built in the bottom of the sixth inning, the game still tied at two, Mizzou right fielder Connor Brumfield came to the plate with the bases loaded. Brumfield delivered, continuing his hot start to the season by driving in a pair of runs to give the Tigers a 4-2 lead.
It was a lead that Missouri would not relinquish. Brumfield’s go-ahead hit turned out to be the difference maker in the game. Mizzou freshman T.J. Sikkema would make his second career appearance, pitching 2 2/3 innings of perfect baseball, striking out two batters to earn the save and closing out the fifth win of the season for Missouri.
Other notable Tiger performances came from a pair of juniors; first baseman Matt Berler ripped two doubles in the contest, and Glendenning added two hits, improving his season number to an impressive total of 15.
The Tigers will take the field again on Saturday and Sunday at Whataburger Park. They will have a rematch with Texas A&M-Corpus Christi at 6 p.m. Saturday , followed by a weekend against Illinois at home at 11 a.m. Sunday.
Edited by Eli Lederman | firstname.lastname@example.org