Sikemma, Dulle pitch Mizzou to fourth straight win

The pitching duo combined for 11 strikeouts as Missouri shut out Central Arkansas.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

Although Missouri baseball’s home opener against Alabama A&M ended in a win, the Tigers struggled with pitching throughout. Starter Trae Robertson, limited by pitch restrictions stemming from an elbow injury coupled with a lack of command, was only able to go two innings, and the Tigers (6-4) used five pitchers in the contest. With seven games coming up in the next two weeks, they couldn’t afford to do that on a nightly basis. They needed more efficiency out of their staff. Enter T.J. Sikkema and Cameron Dulle.

The junior and redshirt sophomore were the only two pitchers coach Steve Bieser used in Missouri’s 4-0 road win over Central Arkansas (4-7) on Friday night, shutting down the Bears offense and giving their fellow pitchers some much-needed rest.

Sikkema was especially impressive, going six and two-thirds innings and striking out nine while giving up just four hits.

“He’s a competitor,” Bieser said in a press release. “I thought his fastball was good. I’ve seen his breaking stuff better, but that guy competes with whatever [he] has working any given night.”

With two outs in the seventh and runners on second and third, Bieser gave the southpaw Sikkema the hook, bringing in Dulle to face the right-handed Joshmar Doran. Although Dulle walked Doran, he got the next batter, freshman right fielder Kolby Johnson, to pop out to second base. Dulle retired the next six batters to secure the victory.

Mizzou got on the board in the first inning with a clutch two-out single from sophomore catcher Chad McDaniel. Sluggers Chris Cornelius and Kameron Misner had both struck out and the Tigers were in danger of wasting a two on, none out scoring opportunity when the switch-hitter came through.

“It was big for our psyche,” Bieser said. “They got our third and fourth place hitters out and if they get Chad out then they’ll have a lot of momentum coming their way. It would’ve been tough to bounce back from that.”

From there, Central Arkansas pitcher Mark Moyer seemed to settle in, allowing one more run in four and two-thirds innings and at one point retiring nine in a row.

Mizzou added runs in the fifth and seventh innings on a Luke Mann groundout and a sac fly from sophomore Clayton Peterson. In the eighth, McDaniel added another RBI on a double that barely hooked fair down the left field line to score Misner.

Missouri’s win was its fourth in a row. It will look to add to that number on Saturday as it takes on South Dakota State.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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