Missouri gets Rocked, drops SEC home opener to Vanderbilt

The Commodores out-hit the Tigers 16-7 and scored eight unanswered runs between the third and sixth innings.

Missouri baseball knew it was in for a difficult series opener against Vanderbilt, the best collegiate team in the country according to D1Baseball.com. The Tigers went up against right-handed pitcher Kumar Rocker, the projected No. 1 one overall pick in the upcoming 2021 MLB Entry Draft.

However, the Commodore’s hitting stole the show Thursday night, not Rocker.

The Commodores out-hit Missouri 16-7 and flashed their balanced offensive attack throughout the game, winning with a final score of 10-2. Out of the 16 hits, only 12 of them were singles. They plated four total runs through the third and fourth innings.

Vanderbilt’s consistency throughout the lineup caused misfits for the Tigers. Everytime it put a runner on base, it felt as if it were going to find a way to push him across.

The Commodores took the lead in the third inning when two consecutive singles with two outs scored a couple of runs off the Tigers’ starter, sophomore Spencer Miles. Miles worked through the first two innings harmlessly before back-to-back innings of two runs allowed.

Miles’ ended the night with five and one-third inning pitched, 11 hits and six runs allowed.

“They took a really good approach and had a good game plan, which I think they executed to a tee and just were able to find a lot of holes on Spencer tonight,” coach Steve Bieser said.

The biggest and final blow came in the sixth inning off the bat of sophomore catcher CJ Rodriguez. His three-run bomb into the Tiger’s bullpen made it 8-1. Earlier in the frame, senior infielder Jayson Gonzalez hit a shot to right-center that flew far over the head of freshman center fielder Ross Lovich.

Junior Trae Robertson relieved Miles in the sixth inning. The six-foot-five left-hander gave up four runs over two and two-thirds innings.

Giving up walks also plagued Missouri’s pitching staff.

The Tigers issued nine free passes out to the Commodores, five coming from Robertson. Giving up easy bases to the best team in the country is something that can’t happen.

Vanderbilt came into the game outsourcing their opponents 58-12 during the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. It’s now 64-13, and it also has a 22-2 advantage in the fourth inning alone.

On the offensive side of the ball, the Tigers put some contact on the ball against Rocker, however, it didn’t amount to much.

Five hits against Rocker doesn’t seem like much, however the right-hander has only given up six hits on the whole season. He also struck out just five batters, his lowest amount in a start this season.

Missouri scored the first run of the game in the second inning. A ground ball off the bat of Lovich toward first caused junior Dominic Keegan to make a diving stop. The throw however was somehow above the 6’5 Rocker, which let senior designated hitter Chad McDaniel come across home plate.

Following the run came a large roar from the Tiger dugout. Leaving a mark early on the nation’s best got the whole team on their feet early.

It was the last roar of the evening.

It doesn’t get any easier for Missouri as the Commodores also have the projected No. 2 overall draft pick, sophomore pitcher Jack Leiter. Leiter is coming off a no-hitter against South Carolina in his last start.

Senior third baseman Luke Mann is excited to face the right-hander.

“Just another name for us, we've got a plan that we've been working with all year and as long as guys stick to it and keep fighting just try to put good at bat after good at bat,” Mann said. “Together we'll be successful but there's a lot of work to be put in and we're going to put in that work.”

Missouri will look to get back to .500 at home this season in the second game of the three-game series.

Edited by Kyle Pinnell | kpinnell@themaneater.com

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