Missouri swept in Saturday doubleheader

The Tigers only managed eight total hits between two games.
Missouri left-fielder Trey Harris gets tagged out trying to steal second base March 2 during the game against the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluffs at Taylor Stadium.

For much of the opening game in Saturday’s doubleheader, the Missouri baseball team mimicked the weather.

In what turned into an exciting game down the stretch, Missouri (13–5) struggled to function in the constant drizzle that plagued Taylor Stadium. The Tigers finished the game with four errors and only four hits as they fell to Youngstown State (4–9) 4–3.

After a 15-minute rain delay, Missouri sent sophomore pitcher Tanner Houck to the mound.

While he was unable to count on his defense, which made four errors, Houck provided another solid performance in his fourth start of the season. The 6-foot-5 right hander mowed down the Penguins with ease, racking up eight strikeouts while only allowing one run on three hits in his six innings of work.

But the Tigers offense was unable to give Houck more than one run while he was on the mound.

In the seventh, redshirt sophomore Cole Bartlett was given the ball to take over for Houck, who had thrown 98 pitches up to that point.

Despite getting through the seventh inning unscathed, Bartlett ran into trouble in the eighth. With runners on first and third, Bartlett bounced a pitch past junior catcher Jack Klages. Lorenzo Arcuri raced home to give the Penguins a 2–1 lead.

While the Tigers bounced back in the bottom of the inning, scoring two runs thanks to an RBI from senior first baseman Zach Lavy and freshman third baseman Brian Sharp, they were unable to hold the lead in the ninth. Bartlett surrendered two infield singles that would turn into runs for the Penguins.

The Tigers were unable to advance the ball out of the infield in the bottom of the ninth, eventually falling to Youngstown State.

The second half of the doubleheader mirrored its predecessor.

While senior pitcher Austin Tribby struggled out of the gate, allowing two runs in the first inning, he quickly settled in. He went on to pitch six innings, allowing three runs and striking out four.

Those three runs would be all the Penguins needed to vanquish the Tigers.

Missouri’s struggles at the plate continued in the second game, as the Tigers only managed four total hits, matching their hit tally of the first game.

“I’ll credit their outfield,” Lavy said. “We hit a lot of gaps, but they tracked a lot of balls down. I was pretty amazed by how good they were out there.”

Going into the ninth, the Tigers trailed by only one and managed to get runners on first and second with only one out. Junior shortstop Ryan Howard stepped up to the plate, hoping to hit his second walk-off hit in as many weeks.

It was not to be. Although Howard made solid contact, the ball went on a line directly to the shortstop, who then tossed it to the second baseman before freshman outfielder Johnny Balsamo could get back. Just like that, Missouri lost 3–2.

With the losses, Missouri fell to 13–5 on the season while Youngstown State improved to 4–9. Missouri will play a two-game series against Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday and Wednesday before launching into Southeastern Conference play against No. 1 Florida next weekend.

“We’ve just got to let these games go,” Howard said. “Just forget about it and move on. It wasn’t our day and unfortunately we had two games today.”

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