MU baseball shut out at Kauffman Stadium

Kansas took a 1-0 win from the struggling Tigers.
Missouri sophomore pitcher Ryan Clubb releases his throw during a game against the Kansas Jayhawks on Wednesday at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. Kansas defeated Missouri 1-0.

The Missouri baseball team traveled Wednesday to Kauffman Stadium to take on rival Kansas at the home of the Kansas City Royals. The Jayhawks held the Tigers scoreless and walked away with a 1-0 victory.

The teams combined for nine hits and each left five runners on base in the game. Kansas scrapped for a run in the second, when a sacrifice bunt advanced junior left fielder Jimmy Waters to second before sophomore catcher James Stanfield drove him home with a single.

Missouri recorded three hits in the game, including a single and a double by junior catcher Brett Nicholas. The multi-hit outing extends his hitting streak to 12 games.

Playing at Kauffman Stadium meant something special to Nicholas. The transfer student was named after a former Royals star.

"As a little kid I followed the Royals a lot," said Nicholas, the Tigers' RBI leader. "I'm actually named after George Brett. So it was something special to come play on the same field as him."

The only other hit for the Tigers was a single up the middle by sophomore outfielder Ryan Gebhart.

Missouri couldn't get anything going at the plate, but the pitching staff kept it in the game. The Tigers employed five pitchers, headed by junior lefty Zack Hardoin, who struck out three in three innings of work. Freshman right-hander Eric Anderson gave up the run and earned the loss in his ninth start.

Gebhart spoke on behalf of the Missouri hitters who were unable to support the strong outing on the mound.

"They're working to try and keep us in the ballgame," Gebhart said. "When they give up one run, as hitters we need to put runs on the board. We didn't do our job."

Part of the problem at the plate was a career performance from Jayhawk freshman righty Thomas Taylor. The starter for Kansas had a season-high eight strikeouts and allowed two hits in five innings for the win.

Though the rivalry matchup will not count toward the teams' conference records (the Tigers are 4-8 in the Big 12), the prize of bragging rights was enough of a motivator. Nicholas is in his first year at MU, but he has quickly caught on to the rivalry.

"The intensity is a little higher," Nicholas said. "Everyone is on edge. Anytime you face them. It could be in checkers or a game of rock-paper-scissors, you don't want to lose to those guys."

Missouri fell to 19-17 overall with the close loss and is 1-4 in its last five games. Coach Tim Jamieson blamed the slide on a lack of offensive production.

"You're going to win a lot of games that you only give up one run in," Jamieson said. "But not when you struggle at the plate like we are right now.

Wednesday's game at Kauffman was Missouri's third and final time in a major league stadium this year.

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