Missouri baseball wins at Florida A&M despite pitching woes

The Tigers surrendered 11 walks in the game.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

Missouri baseball coach Steve Bieser walked out to the mound to change his pitcher for the second time in one inning. Junior Lukas Veinbergs was replaced after just one batter, leaving the new pitcher, senior Cameron Dulle, with a bases loaded, no-out situation. Veinbergs had come in for freshman Seth Halvorsen, whose two walked batters were standing on second and third.

Dulle, the fifth of seven Missouri pitchers on the afternoon, found a way out the jam, striking out the next three batters to keep Florida A&M scoreless. His situational heroics left him as the winning pitcher.

The 5-3 win over Florida A&M (0-3) Tuesday brought Missouri (2-2) back to .500. It also, however, acted as a warning sign for Bieser and his coaching staff that there are still major improvements to be made on the pitching staff.

The scoring began early for Missouri. In the top of the first inning, sophomore Alex Peterson and junior Kameron Misner both singled, followed by senior Tony Ortiz walking to load the bases. With the bases full and one out, junior Austin James hit into a fielder’s choice that scored Peterson. The next batter, freshman Luke Mann, singled into right field to plate Misner.

After being held hitless for seven at-bats, the Tigers scored another run in the seventh inning. Misner and Ortiz drew back-to-back walks with one out to put runners on first and second base. Pinch hitting for James, freshman Cameron Swanger singled into right field, scoring Misner from second base.

The final two runs for Missouri came in the top of the ninth inning. Pinch hitting, freshman Josh Holt Jr. hit a double. After a flyout, sophomore Clayton Peterson — twin brother of Alex Peterson — singled to bring Holt in to score. In the next at-bat, junior Chris Cornelius hit the second double of the inning, scoring Peterson.

The two insurance runs proved important.

Only giving up two hits through the first six innings, freshmen Tommy Springer and Trae Robertson combined to pitch five near-perfect innings, giving up three walks combined in addition to the two hits. With a good sixth inning from Halvorsen, Missouri had the momentum and the lead before the near disastrous seventh inning.

Veinbergs didn’t record an out. After getting out of the seventh unscathed, Dulle went on to pitch a second inning, blanking the Rattlers in the eighth inning and collecting his fourth strikeout of the game.

With five runs of support, sophomore Konnor Ash replaced Dulle to close the game. Striking out the first batter of the inning, Ash went on to walk three consecutive batters and load the bases. The following batter struck out swinging at a wild pitch which allowed the runner from third to score.

Ash hit the next batter, loading the bases again. He then surrendered a single that brought in two runs for the Rattlers.

For the sixth time in the game, Bieser called to his bullpen, bringing in sophomore Trey Dillard to finish the game. Having a five-run lead quickly decrease to two, the right-hander walked his first batter to load the bases for the third time in the inning. He got out of the pressure situation by striking out the final batter and ending the game.

“Today definitely was not easy for us,” Bieser said in a press release after the game. “We struggled again offensively. We had a couple innings where we walked the bases loaded and got ourselves in trouble. We were able to pitch out of it once, but put our backs against the wall in the ninth inning."

Missouri will continue its eight-game Florida road trip with a game against Northeastern Thursday, followed by a three-game weekend series against Rhode Island, all in Fort Myers, Florida.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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