Missouri beats Chicago State despite shaky performances

The Tigers drew seven walks and used eight pitchers on the afternoon.
Zach Hanna runs to first base during a game against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County on March 4, 2018.

Heading into Tuesday’s contest, Missouri baseball had dropped five of its last seven, including five of its last six Southeastern Conference matchups. The Tigers were swept last weekend at top-ranked Florida, dropping the three games by a combined 20-5.

Returning home, the Tigers were in need of a win. On Tuesday, the Chicago State University Cougars came to town, ranked No. 261 in RPI with a 5-27 record. Despite not doing much on offense and struggling with command on the mound throughout, the Tigers held on to beat Chicago State, 5-3.

Brian Sharp got the starting nod for the Tigers for just the second time this season. He was able to keep his team in the game, getting through four innings while allowing two runs on five hits and no walks. He struck out three and also earned the win.

Chicago State plated one in the top of the first. The Tigers were a little slow out of the gate offensively, but right fielder Trey Harris got things going with a two-run homer in the bottom of the third.

In the next inning, Chicago State scored another run, but freshman Cade Bormet reached on an error that put the Tigers ahead. Bases-loaded walks by Zach Hanna in the fourth and Chris Cornelius in the fifth stretched the lead to 5-2.

Konnor Ash pitched a scoreless top of the fifth for the Tigers.

In the sixth, Giovanni Lopez was ineffective, retiring just two batters while allowing a walk and a hit. Cody Siebenberger then came in and walked a batter. Finally, Nolan Gromacki was able to pitch out of the bases-loaded jam and preserve the three-run lead. He recorded the first two outs of the seventh before being replaced by Cameron Pferrer, who pitched 0.2 scoreless innings. Luke Anderson then came in, allowed a run to score and struggled with control.

Finally, Andy Toelken came in and put an end to the madness, shutting down the Cougars for the final 1.1 innings.

Despite having to use eight pitchers on the afternoon, the bullpen allowed just one run in five innings.

After the over 3-hour sleeper, head coach Steve Bieser was not too pleased.

“We had a chance to really come out and swing the bats well today, but we didn’t do that,” he said. “We’ve got to be better offensively.”

Up next, Missouri has a weekend series against the Vanderbilt Commodores starting Thursday at 7 p.m. at home. The series will go a long way toward determining the Tigers’ NCAA Tournament fate, as the team aims to get back to a regional for the first time since 2012.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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