The Maneater

Missouri baseball takes four-game series against Eastern Michigan

The Tigers took on the Eagles in a series in Fort Myers, Florida, and won three of four games.

Maneater File Photo

Friday

Missouri baseball opened its 2017 season with a series in Fort Myers, Florida, against the Eastern Michigan Eagles.

In the first game of the series, the Tigers were quieted in a 6-2 season-opening defeat. Projected top-10 MLB draft pick Tanner Houck took to the mound for the Tigers and recorded a whopping nine strikeouts.

Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning, junior Brett Bond started off the scoring with a two-run single that put the Tigers up 2-1. For the Tigers, that would be the only source of offense on the night.

Houck allowed three more runs before being relieved in the top of the sixth inning. He pitched 5.2 innings, allowing eight hits, two walks and four earned runs, along with his nine strikeouts. He ultimately took the losing decision.

His average fastball was 93.5 mph, and his slider was recorded at 83.5 mph. If Houck continues to record similar numbers throughout the season, he will further his draft stock for the upcoming MLB draft.

Redshirt junior Cole Bartlett came on in relief and surrendered a single run. Junior Nolan Gromacki pitched a perfect ninth inning to finish off the Eagles for the night.

Down four runs in the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers were desperate for a rally. In his Missouri debut, Chris Cornelius continued his strong showing with a leadoff single. That was the only action for the Tigers in that inning, as the Eagles finished off the Tigers to close out a 6-2 victory.

Saturday

The team won both games of its doubleheader over Eastern Michigan on Saturday after an offensive explosion led to wins with scores of 27-9 in the first game and 6-5 in the second.

The first game of the doubleheader was an offensive showcase for the Tigers as they scored 27 runs, the most for the Tigers since 2010. The game also marked the first win of new head coach Steve Bieser’s tenure with Missouri.

Junior catcher Bond shined brightly as he tallied a game-high five hits. Junior Nelson Mompierre also left his mark on the game, with five runs batted in. The entire team supported Bond and Mompierre’s effort with 10 extra base hits in a performance that saw 12 Missouri batters with hits.

The Tigers fell behind to an early three-run deficit in the top of the first inning but quickly closed the gap, scoring five runs in the bottom half. After this rally, the Tigers’ bats could not be quieted, resulting in an 18-run win.

The second game of the doubleheader was a closer battle. The Tigers needed the walk-off sacrifice fly from sophomore first baseman Brian Sharp to secure the 6-5 victory.

The Eagles led for most of the game, thanks to six fielding errors by the Tigers, and they held a 5-4 lead going into the ninth inning.

After a walk by junior Robbie Glendinning and an EMU fielding error on a sacrifice bunt from sophomore Connor Brumfield that allowed Glendinning to score, the stage was set for a walk-off win. Sharp supplied the Tigers with the sacrifice fly, securing a sweep of the doubleheader.

After the doubleheader, the Tigers led the series 2-1.

Sunday

Redshirt sophomore Liam Carter allowed just two runs over five solid innings, and junior Bond went 3-5 with a home run and two runs scored, to lead Missouri to a 7-2 victory over EMU on Sunday afternoon in the final matchup of the four-game series.

Carter scattered four hits and a walk over five frames to pick up the win in his first career start for the Tigers (3-1, 0-0).

A lead-off double from Brumfield and an RBI single from freshman Kameron Misner helped Missouri jump out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Additional runs in the second and third helped Carter to pitch with a more comfortable lead and to relax, as he cruised through the first four frames. He ran into some trouble and gave up two runs in the fifth, though, but he was able to escape the inning without surrendering the lead to earn the win.

Carter was relieved by sophomore Ty Shoaff, who struck out two in an inning of work. Shoaff’s appearance set the tone for Missouri’s relievers for the rest of the afternoon, as he, Gromacki and redshirt sophomore Cameron Dulle combined to surrender just three hits over four scoreless innings.

Missouri, which had trouble picking up the big hit in a 6-2 loss Friday night, had similar issues on Sunday. Despite the team getting production from up and down the lineup card, the Tigers were never able to put together a big inning and left 14 runners on base. However, unlike Friday night’s game, the Tigers were able to execute well enough Sunday to score at least one run in all but the fourth and sixth innings, and they and never allowed the Eagles to tie the game or take the lead.

Next up for the Tigers is a Thursday night game at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in Corpus Christi, Texas. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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