Missouri sweeps No. 16 Kansas State

After two days of rain, Missouri made it count when the weather cleared.
Missouri sophomore outfielder Ryan Gebhart slides back into second base during a game against the Wildcats on Sunday at Taylor Stadium. Missouri swept Kansas State in Sunday's doubleheader.

Missouri baseball won both games of a doubleheader against No. 16 Kansas State on Sunday.

The two teams were supposed to play a three-game weekend series. Rain postponed the games scheduled for Friday and Saturday, so the series was condensed to a Sunday doubleheader.

The Tigers won the first game 4-2 on the heels of a strong outing by junior pitcher Nick Tepesch. Tepesch earned a win for the second weekend in a row by throwing 7 2/3 innings and allowing just one run while striking out five hitters. Tepesch improved to 4-3.

"I felt like I was around the zone all day," Tepesch said. "I tried to attack with my fastball and put people away."

Redshirt freshman designated hitter Andreas Plackis hit a two-run double in the first inning to put Missouri on the board. Senior shortstop Michael Liberto hit an RBI sacrifice fly, and sophomore left fielder Ryan Gebhart scored on a wild pitch to extend the Tiger lead in the fourth inning.

Sophomore Jeff Emens closed out the victory for Missouri.

The second game featured much more offense than the first. The Tigers struck twice in the second inning, first on an RBI double by junior right fielder Jonah Schmidt. A bases-loaded walk by junior second baseman Andrew Thigpen gave the Tigers their second run of the inning.

Kansas State had a big fourth inning scoring four runs, all with two outs, to take its first lead of the day. Thigpen and Liberto both made errors during the Wildcat rally. The Tigers committed five errors in game two, after committing only one in the first game.

Missouri temporarily took back the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on a three-run double by junior third baseman Brett Nicholas.

The two teams traded runs in the fifth and sixth innings, and Missouri trailed 7-6 after six. The Tigers tied the game at seven and forced extra innings in the bottom of the ninth inning when Gebhart scored on a squeeze bunt by junior catcher Ryan Ampleman.

"I just got out there and tried to let the bat do the work," Ampleman said. "I didn't try to do too much."

Kansas State sophomore centerfielder Nick Martini hit an RBI double in the top of the 10th inning, but a perfect throw by Thigpen to Ampleman at the plate kept the Wildcats from scoring a second run.

"If you're down by two runs in that situation, mentally it is a lot more difficult to come back," coach Tim Jamieson said. "One run makes it a whole lot easier to come back in that situation."

Opel was the hero for Missouri, giving the Tigers the victory with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning with a two-run base hit up the middle.

"I didn't hit it very well, but it got by him," Opel said. "Baseball is a funny game like that, a game of inches."

Junior Brad Buehler was the starting pitcher for Missouri, but the star pitcher for the Tigers in game two was junior Kelly Fick. Fick allowed one run in five innings of work.

"He put a lot of zeroes up there," Jamieson said.

Missouri moved from last to sixth place in the Big 12 with the sweep. Kansas State remains second place in the conference despite the losses.

"They have a great team, and they battled all day with us," Tepesch said. "It was good to come out on top."

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