COLUMBIA — If one over-arching question remained for the Tigers heading in to opening day, it was whether they could replace the production lost from the top of the lineup with the departures of offensive catalysts Evan Frey and Brock Bond.
With his performance Friday propelling the Tigers to a 7-1 victory against UConn, Kurt Calvert went a long way in putting that question to rest.
Calvert, a senior center fielder who in has also assumed the leadoff spot in his first year as a starter at MU, had a career-high three hits in four at-bats and matched a career best with three RBIs. Calvert also scored a run and accounted for the Tigers’ (1-0) only stolen base and extra-base hit, a double to the wall in center field.
On the mound, no such uncertainty surrounded preseason All-American Aaron Crow, who shut down the Huskies, allowing only one run on six hits in five innings.
“Aaron was good for his first time out this year,” coach Tim Jamieson said. “He’ll be better next time and will continue to be better.”
Crow finished his eleventh career victory with seven strikeouts — including sitting down four in a row at one point — and yielding no walks.
In relief of Crow, who Jamieson had said would be allowed to pitch as deep in to the game as he was capable, juniors Ian Berger, Scooter Hicks and freshman Tyler Clark shut out the Huskies in the game’s final four innings.
“It’s a win and a good win to start the year,” Jamieson said. “I thought we played well and were good enough to get the win. First games are always tough. There’s some nervousness and some anxiousness as you just try to nail down all 27 outs.”
Junior left-hander Rick Zagone is scheduled to get his first start of the season against Michigan State on day two of the Stetson Invitational at noon Saturday in DeLand, Fla.