Tiger baseball team sweeps Fighting Sioux

The Tigers capped off the series with seven home runs.
Katie Prince / Graphic Designer

The Missouri baseball team swept North Dakota over the weekend, winning in blowout fashion on Thursday before taking both games of a Friday doubleheader. A fourth game was scheduled for Saturday but was canceled due to inclement weather.

The Tigers move to 10-6 on the year with the rout of the struggling Fighting Sioux, who have just one win in their second season since being promoted to Division 1.

The Tigers hit at least one home run in each of the three games, starting with an offensive onslaught of four long balls Thursday. Missouri rode a prolific third inning to a 17-5 win in the series opener. The Tigers hit for the cycle in the third inning alone.

Missouri then added three more homers in the doubleheader Friday, including a two-homer game, one from junior third baseman Brett Nicholas. Missouri took game one 7-3 before shutting the Sioux out 6-0 in the nightcap. North Dakota fell to 1-9 on the season.

Two Missouri freshmen knocked their first career home runs in the series as outfielder Kale Gaden and infielder Eric Garcia each went deep. Garcia's inaugural dinger came as a three-run homer in game three that cemented the victory.

Nicholas led the team of sluggers with three shots on the weekend. The transfer student out of Scottsdale, Ariz., has recorded a hit in eight-straight ballgames after strong showings against Xavier and North Dakota.

"It's all about keeping it simple and staying calm at the plate," Nicholas said. "Ever since last week, it's just staying calm and having confidence in what I do out there."

Senior first baseman Aaron Senne joined Nicholas in the slugfest, hitting one of the seven bombs of the series. The senior knew why his team was so successful.

"We got off a lot of good swings and they carried out of the ballpark," said Senne, Missouri's home run leader. "I think the weather had a little bit to do with that. But also our approaches at the plate were a lot better and it showed."

Senne had four RBIs in the series to move to eighth on Missouri's all-time RBI list with 168 in his career.

On the mound, sophomore right-hander Ryan Clubb picked up wins in the first two games of the series with one inning of work in each. A starting pitcher needs to stay in for five innings to earn the victory, and Clubb came in for relief in the fifth inning of both games.

Junior pitcher Nick Tepesch struck out eight and pitched six scoreless innings for the win in game three. Both pitchers improved to 2-0 on the year.

Despite the series win, coach Tim Jamieson saw room for improvement with Friday's conference opener at Texas A&M fast approaching.

"I don't feel like we've gotten better since we got at home," Jamieson said. "We've beaten teams because we're better than they are, but we haven't beaten teams because we've gotten better."

Next up for the Tigers is a two-game home series with Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Action starts 6 p.m. Tuesday at Taylor Stadium.

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