Priday, not Crow, makes history for Missouri baseball team

Saturday, April 12, 2008 | 12:04 a.m. CDT; updated 5:45 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Missouri's Jacob Priday is congratulated by his teammates after hitting a three-run home run in the third inning of the Tiger's game against the Texas Longhorns on Friday. Priday hit four homers on the night, breaking the Big 12 Conference record, during the Tigers' 31-12 victory.

COLUMBIA — As we have come to be familiar with it, Friday night’s Missouri-Texas matchup only vaguely resembled the game of baseball. There were bats and balls of course, and they lined up in the traditional manner, but with wind gusts of up to 30 mph blowing out to center field, the venue, Taylor Stadium, played something like a cross between Denver’s Coors Field and a little league stadium on the moon.

By the third inning, an inning in which the Tigers scored more runs than the scoreboard could hold, each and every Missouri fly ball was met by an eruption from the crowd which, by that point, was certain that any airborne baseball could and would leave the park. They had reason.

By the time the game had ended, the score was 31-12 in favor of Missouri, but a few brave fans remained in their seats, the only witnesses to the history that had been made throughout the four-hour marathon. Despite all the hype, and given the conditions, Aaron Crow played no role in the history making. He and his consecutive scoreless innings pitched streak were quickly and unceremoniously demolished by the Texas hitters, who got a run on Crow before he had even recorded two outs. Scoreless streak aside, which will be laid to rest at 43 innings, Crow allowed more runs in the first inning — five — than he had all season, and more in the game — nine — than he had allowed in any other game in his entire career. He did, however, improve to 8-0 on the season.

With Crow out of the mix, the record breaking was left to the offense and outfielder Jacob Priday.

“You can’t imagine that,” Priday said of the 31 runs his team scored, “especially on a Friday night in the Big 12, but we’ll take it.”

It’s not often a coach hears boos from his own crowd in the midst of such a performance, but such was the case when Tigers coach Tim Jamieson pinch-hit for Priday in the eighth inning, with the game already in hand.

“Pretty darn good, wasn’t it?” Jamieson asked of Priday’s performance. The question, however, was rhetorical. After all, Priday had hit a ball on top of the roof of Daniel J. Devine Plaza in right-center field, and another off the back wall of the bullpen in left field. And another one over the scoreboard and into some trees. Despite the strong winds, all of these home runs were legitimately hit. The fourth one, which he struck high into the sky in center field might not have been, but it still gave him the Big 12 single-game record for home runs, as well as the record for total bases. Obviously, both also set individual team records, and his nine RBI gave him another team mark. It wasn’t all Priday, though. With 26 hits, Missouri (24-8, 5-5 Big 12) tied its team-record, though it did break its record for total bases. Miraculously, the Tigers managed to fall four runs short of their all-time record for runs of 35, which has stood since 1904, though Jamieson didn’t complain of a lack of timely hitting.

After the game, first baseman Steve Gray, who hit two home runs, could hardly believe the offensive display.

“I don’t really know if it was the wind or what it was,” he said, “but it’s good to see us go out and score some runs.”

Crow, though disappointed in having lost his streak, was proud of his effort, all things considered.

“I knew we were going to score a bunch of runs the way the wind was playing,” Crow said, before commenting on his nine runs allowed performance.

“I kept us in the game.”

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