Missouri baseball falters on both sides in South Dakota State loss

The Tigers left 10 runners on base.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

In the top of the first inning, senior Tyler LaPlante gave up a two-run single to South Dakota State’s Logan Holtz. Though the Tigers managed to plate three runs following the first inning score by the Jackrabbits, the efforts proved futile.

Missouri baseball’s (6-5) 6-3 loss to South Dakota State (4-5) in Conway, Arkansas, Saturday exposed the areas that coach Steve Bieser said needed to be improved on — specifically hitting situationally and not stranding baserunners — after Tuesday’s win against Alabama A&M.

Outside of the three runs scored in the game, the Tigers struggled to produce with runners on base. Missouri stranded 10 runners, including a groundout to end the sixth inning with bases loaded.

With three relief pitchers throwing after LaPlante, two of the three – junior Jacob Cantleberry and sophomore Konnor Ash – each gave up two runs. The final pitcher of the day, junior Art Joven, gave up a hit and no runs to finish out the top of the ninth.

Cantleberry came into the game in the fourth inning after LaPlante was pulled. The southpaw quickly struck out the side. Cantleberry finished with seven strikeouts.

In his second inning of work, he was not as flawless. Giving up a single to the second batter of the inning, the runner moved to second on a groundout before scoring on an RBI-single. Cantleberry would give up his second run in the top of the sixth inning to move MU’s deficit to three runs.

The bottom half of the frame would see the Tigers’ last runs scored. Freshman Luke Mann walked, junior Kameron Misner singled and sophomore Chad McDaniel singled to plate Mann. Senior Tony Ortiz singled to bring in Misner for the second run of the inning.

A walk from sophomore Mark Vierling loaded the bases, but as soon as the window of opportunity blasted open off three consecutive singles, it clamped shut, not to be reopened. Bringing in a new pitcher, South Dakota State struck out junior Austin James to end the inning.

Missouri would leave four more runners on base.

The Jackrabbits added their final two runs by doing what the Tigers couldn’t: hitting with the bases loaded. On his first batter, Joven gave up a two-RBI single. Both runs were assigned to Ash, who left the game with the bags full. South Dakota State wouldn’t need the insurance runs.

After the game, Bieser expressed his dissatisfaction with his squad.

"It was a very disappointing offensive performance,” Bieser said in a press release. “It was also a very disappointing performance by our Saturday guy in the rotation to take the mound and not have it. We just found ways to lose this ballgame today."

Due to winter weather, Missouri’s game against Kansas State was rescheduled from Tuesday, March 5, to Wednesday, April 3. The team will play Northwestern in a three-game set starting Friday March 8.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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