The Maneater

Missouri outduels Texas A&M 12-7 in rain-drenched slugfest to start SEC Tournament

The Tigers advance to face No. 2 LSU on Wednesday.

Maneater File Photo

No. 10 seed Missouri baseball continued its seven-game winning streak as they upset No. 7 seed Texas A&M 12-7 in the single-elimination first round of the 2017 Southeastern Conference baseball tournament in Hoover, Alabama, on Tuesday.

For the Tigers, junior ace Tanner Houck made the start after coach Steve Bieser and his staff chose to rest the right-handed pitcher in the Tennessee series last weekend. Nonetheless, starting pitching wouldn’t play much of a factor in this game.

Houck looked completely different from the pitcher fans saw in his past two starts, in which he dominated against Vanderbilt and South Carolina. On Tuesday, Houck was chased after 4.1 innings, giving up six runs to the Aggies.

After Houck exited, junior Andy Toelken starred in relief. Toelken pitched 4.2 scoreless innings, which played a major role in the Tigers’ victory.

Offensively, junior first baseman Matt Berler was the team’s catalyst while playing in front of his hometown crowd. The Hoover native hit a two-run home run in the top of the second to bring the Tigers back into the game after Houck’s rough first inning.

Berler has seen a recent increase in playing time as first baseman Brian Sharp has struggled, and has routinely proven his worth. With Tuesday’s win, Missouri improves to 22-3 with Berler in the starting lineup.

Junior Robbie Glendinning also had a big impact offensively. Glendinning smacked a grand slam in the fourth inning that gave Missouri an 8-6 lead that it wouldn’t relinquish. The shot was Glendinning’s seventh home run of the year and the first grand slam at the SEC baseball tournament since 2011.

After a rain delay that lasted one hour and 45 minutes, Missouri pushed across four more runs to further ensure a victory. The team’s 12 runs scored marked a season high against SEC competition.

The Tigers will have little time to celebrate the upset as they face the talented Louisiana State team Wednesday afternoon. LSU is currently ranked No. 6 in the USA Today coaches’ poll and holds the No. 2 seed in the SEC Tournament. Missouri and LSU did not meet in the regular season.

Freshman TJ Sikkema is scheduled to start for the Tigers. The game will begin after the conclusion of Kentucky and South Carolina, which is set to begin at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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