MU baseball wins in 10 innings on walk-off walk

The Tigers stranded 14 runners on base, including leaving the bases loaded three times.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

At 6:03 p.m., under clear, blue skies at Taylor Stadium on Tuesday, Missouri baseball’s starter, junior Art Joven, threw his first pitch to Saint Louis University’s leadoff hitter Scott Youngbrandt. Three hours later, at 9:03 p.m., senior Tony Ortiz walked to load the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Two batters later, senior Paul Gomez struck out to end the inning. The bases were left loaded for the third time in the game. It would take an additional hour and 20 minutes to decide a winner.

Four hours and 20 minutes after Joven’s first pitch, now under pitch-black skies and stadium lights, sophomore Chad McDaniel drew a bases-loaded walk to end the game. Missouri (19-10-1, 3-5-1 SEC) bested in-state rival SLU (11-16, 1-2 Atlantic 10) 4-3 in 10 innings. It was the team’s fourth extra-inning game in the last six games.

“I’m definitely tired of extra innings,” coach Steve Bieser said after the game. “But I don’t get tired of winning.”

Early in the night, Joven walked Youngbrandt, who then advanced to second on a wild pitch. He later scored on a double into right field. In the bottom of the first inning, Missouri responded with a series of ground balls, the first by junior Chris Cornelius that was scored a fielder’s choice and the next on a sacrifice by McDaniel that scored two runs.

The Tigers’ lead was extended to three in the bottom of the fourth. With two outs in the inning, junior Kameron Misner took his second of three walks in the game to load the bases. Junior Peter Zimmermann followed Misner with a walk of his own. Ortiz scored on the play.

In the top of the fifth, Joven again found himself with Youngbrandt on second. He would trot home on a single to close the Missouri lead to one. Joven finished the inning, leaving two runners on base. SLU stranded a total of 12 runners in the game.

Joven, who was taken out after the fifth inning with 100 pitches, would have been tabbed as the winning pitcher. He matched his career high with 10 strikeouts.

Taking over for the starter, redshirt junior Jordan Gubelman struggled in his first inning of work. The righty gave up consecutive singles to start the frame, followed by a walk to load the bases. On the first pitch to SLU’s Kevin Jordan Jr., Gubelman gave up a sacrifice fly to tie the game. It would take another five innings for another run to be scored.

Despite the lack of production in the game — Missouri stranded 14 runners — the Tigers drew 15 walks, the most this season. For Bieser though, it was still frustrating.

“We were taking all the way that last bases loaded situation in the 10th inning,” he said. “We would've even taken with a 3-2 count. We weren't finding ways to get a hit. It was getting very frustrating."

Bieser attributes the struggles to having played a lot of games without many off days. The team was supposed to have four games a week starting this week, but because of the postponement of a game against Kansas State on March 5 to April 3, that schedule will begin the following week.

“Younger players have a tough time when they’re playing game after game,” Bieser said. “When you don’t play so many games per week, you kind of stay hungry for the game, but I think that’s something that we’re dealing with right now: not being hungry enough to play a ballgame.”

Missouri will have less than 24 hours to get hungry. The Tigers will play at home against the Wildcats Wednesday at 3 p.m. CDT.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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