Missouri earns comeback win against Missouri State
Rory Whetstone • 4/19/2023 in Baseball
The Missouri Tigers (23-13, 5-10 Southeastern Conference) completed the comeback against the Missouri State Bears (19-16, 8-4 Missouri Valley Conference) and secured a 7-6 walk-off win at Taylor Stadium in Columbia, Mo., on Tuesday night.
Dylan Leach led the Tigers with both a walk-off single to finish the game and a crucial two-run home run in the fourth inning.
Missouri also had strong offensive performances from Hank Zeisler, Dalton Bargo, and Carlos Peña.
Missouri State opened up the scoring in the first inning. Mason Hull had the Bears' first hit of the game when he smacked a double to left field. He would then advance to third on a groundout. The inning should’ve ended with a Zack Stewart strikeout, but because it was a dropped third strike on a wild pitch, the ball squeezed past Leach, and Hull made it across home plate.
Missouri would strike back in the second inning due to a balk from Forrest Barns. Ziesler hit a bloop single to center field to open up the inning and eventually stole second base. He is now 5-5 on stolen base attempts this season. Zeisler then advanced to third on as he tagged up on Leach’s pop fly. With Peña at the plate, Barns went to deliver a pitch but slipped off the mound and made a delayed throw to the side, which is a balk. His costly slip brought the game to a tie.
It was a game of lots of back-and-forth baseball and the game would be tied five times.
In the top of the fourth, Stewart laced a single to right field. Logan Lunceford retired the next two batters before surrendering a two-run home run to Anthony Socci.
Missouri responded quickly in their half of the inning with back-to-back jacks from Leach and Peña. Leach’s two-run homer brought the game to another tie. Peña then hit a no-doubter over the center field wall and it gave the Tigers their first lead of the day. It was Peña’s first home run of the season.
Both teams would continue to tack on single runs for the next inning and a half.
Kyle Potthoff entered in relief for Missouri in the fifth inning and immediately gave up two singles. He then retired the next two batters but then surrendered a run. Stewart grabbed his second RBI of the night with a single, driving in Will Duff.
In Missouri’s half of the fifth inning, Zeisler hit a sacrifice fly to bring the score to 5-4 in favor of Missouri.
Missouri State quickly tied the game with back-to-back doubles from Taeg Gollert and Cody Kelly.
No runs would be scored until Missouri State threatened to steal the game from Missouri in the 8th. With one out, Kelly hit a home run way over the left field wall. The Tigers would have no answer until the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Tigers came roaring back in the ninth as Luke Mann drew a five-pitch walk, Austin hit a single to left field, and Zeisler was hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded and no outs Missouri only needed a base hit to take the game, and the lineup delivered. To tie the game, Bargo hit a sacrifice fly to score Mann and move Austin to third base. Then, in the second pitch of his at-bat, Leach drilled a long single to left field to walk it off for Missouri.
Missouri has now won seven consecutive non-conference games and has yet to drop a midweek matchup this season. With the win, they also sweep Missouri State in their series this season.
Missouri has continued to struggle from the mound, but they are also plagued with injuries on their pitching staff.
While Lunceford looked better against State than he did against Texas A&M, he did have some trouble with command and did give up a homerun before leaving the game after the fourth.
Head coach Steve Bieser credits his freshman for stepping up in games like these due to a short staff.
He also was thrilled to see the offense come alive and capitalize off of Missouri State’s errors.