Missouri shuts out Western Illinois for eighth win in a row
Rory Whetstone • 3/7/2023 in Baseball
The Missouri Tigers (10-2, Southeastern Conference) secured their eighth straight win after shutting out Western Illinois Leathernecks (1-11, Summit League) by a score of 6-0 at Taylor Stadium in Columbia, Mo., on Tuesday afternoon.
Missouri has been on quite a confident win streak, while Western Illinois has now lost their last 10 games.
The Tigers came out ready to play, putting up a run in each of their first five innings. On the first pitch of the game, Luke Mann hit a triple to right field. With this extra-base hit, he extended his hit streak to 8 games. The scoring opened with a groundout from Dalton Bargo, which drove Mann across home plate.
Missouri went up 2-0 when Jackson Lovich smacked a double to right field. Lovich has been hot at the plate, hitting .500 through five games. He also showed great awareness as he drew two walks. He grabbed his second RBI of the night with one of those walks.
To start the fourth inning, shortstop Justin Colon hit a home run directly into the bullpen in left field. The Tigers now have a home run in each of their last nine games and are out-homering their opponents 19-4.
Colon was also key to Missouri’s sixth run of the game as he drew a walk in the eighth, stole second, and was eventually pushed across home plate on a walk to Hank Zeisler.
The other run for Missouri came from senior Ty Wilmsmeyer. Tying his previous season record of eight steals, he stole home in the fifth inning to give the Tigers yet another insurance run.
Dominance on the Mound
In total, five Tigers worked to solidify the win.
Logan Lunceford was credited with the win and he pitched a solid four innings, only giving up one walk and striking out six. The only challenge came in the third inning when Western Illinois had runners on second and third, but Lunceford struck out the remaining two batters to stop the threat.
Western Illinois saw another chance to get some runs in the sixth after Jacob Hasty gave up a single, a walk, and hit a batter. After a quick mound visit, Hasty squandered any chance of a comeback for the Leathernecks as Sammy Contacos hit into a twin-killing double play to end the inning.
Missouri was also able to hold off Nick Mitchell, who leads Western Illinois with a .512 batting average and has three home runs, four stolen bags, and 14 RBI’s. Mitchell went 0-4 with two strikeouts, unable to produce any momentum for the Leathernecks. Unfortunately for WIU, no one else saw much success from the plate either.
Entering the game, Missouri ranked 17th nationally in strikeouts per nine innings with 11.7. Shutting out Western Illinois, the Missouri pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts. The last time they had 14 was against Texas A&M in April of 2021. They have now logged double-digit strikeout totals in nine of their 12 games.
Another positive for Missouri’s pitching staff was the dominance of the bullpen. They have held the opposition to a .183 batting average all season. Tuesday’s relievers combined for eight strikeouts, while only giving up three hits. Displaying the heat of the bullpen, Kyle Potthoff came in to close the game and he shut the Leathernecks down as he struck out the side.
The game ended on a high note for the Tigers as Potthoff struck out Jack Sievers looking on the last pitch of the game.
In the Future
Missouri looks to continue their winning streak when they open up a three-game series with New Jersey
Institute of Technology on Thursday.