COLUMBIA — One of the best pitchers in the nation had the best start of his career on Friday evening at Taylor Stadium, and all the Toledo Rockets could do was stand by and watch. To be sure, they swang — they swang a lot. They just couldn’t hit what junior Aaron Crow was throwing, and most of the time they didn’t come particularly close.
The Missouri right-hander struck out a jaw-dropping 15 batters and recorded his first complete-game shutout in the Tigers’ 6-0 win against Toledo.
“I just told one of the guys, ‘This is one of the most dominating performances I’ve ever seen on a baseball field,’” Missouri catcher Trevor Coleman said. “That’s who Aaron is, he comes out and does what he needs to. If he’s on top of his game, there’s no telling what you’re going to see out here.”
Though the game remained close until the end, the game may have turned in the Tigers’ (10-2) favor even before the first pitch was thrown.
“We had an idea coming in that they were going to be aggressive with the first couple pitches in every at-bat, and they were,” Coleman said.
Aggressive might have been an understatement. The Toledo lineup didn’t manage a single walk off of Crow, who only needed 107 pitches to move to 4-0 on the season. Of those 107, only 20 weren’t strikes.
“That’s the Aaron Crow I know from last year,” senior shortstop Lee Fischer said. “Playing behind him in a game like this, it’s great.”
Because Toledo starter Kyle Rawlings, who allowed only one run and four hits in seven innings, was toying with the Tigers’ hitters for most of the night, it was fortunate for coach Tim Jamieson and the rest of the Tigers that Crow threw as well as he did.
“He was outstanding, and he had to be, because we didn’t swing the bats until the eighth inning,” Jamieson said. “It was just one of those nights where unless they walk the park or made some errors, we weren’t going to score a lot of runs.
“We hit some balls hard, we hit some balls right at people. On a different night we would have had three home runs.”
Any time a pitcher pitches like Crow did, the hitters know what they have to do.
“Tonight he was dominant, we knew that,” Coleman said. “We knew all we had to do was scratch out a couple runs, and we did that.”
The Tigers and Rockets face off again Saturday at 5 p.m. at Taylor Stadium. Saturday’s planned doubleheader has been rescheduled for Sunday afternoon, beginning at 1 p.m.