Gebhart's hit sparks Tigers in win over Ball State

Friday, March 6, 2009 | 10:35 p.m. CST; updated 11:41 p.m. CST, Friday, March 6, 2009
MU junior Kyle Gibson pitches during the first game of a four-game series against Ball State on March 6 at Taylor Stadium. Gibson struck out 13 batters, a career high, in the Tigers' 4-1 win over the Cardinals.

Freshman Ryan Gebhart stood at home plate with the bases loaded and the game tied at zero in his first career start on Friday night at Taylor Stadium.

Gebhart watched the first two pitches from Ball State pitcher Brenden Stines whiz by for called strikes.

"The coaches always tell you to battle with two (because) you have one left," Gebhart said. "I didn't think I was down; I just remembered what they said."

Gebhart wasn't going to let the third pitch blow by him. He hit the ball between the first baseman and the second baseman for two RBIs and a 2-0 lead.

"When I hit that double I was pumped up, and my adrenaline was going," Gebhart said.

After shortstop Michael Liberto drove in another run right after Gebhart, Stines was pulled. When Liberto ran to the dugout during the pitching change, he chest-bumped with Gebhart.

"We were just out there having fun," Liberto said. 

Mizzou beat Ball State 4-1 Friday night to improve to 4-7 on the year. The Tigers have now won three games in a row after losing seven-straight games.

"His hit was a huge hit," coach Tim Jamieson said.

Jamieson has been using a rotation of designated hitters throughout the year. Jamieson said he's just been waiting for someone to get hot to make them a regular in the starting lineup. That's what Gebhart did against the Cardinals (4-3), going 2-for-4 with the game-winning hit.

"Right now he has a leg up because he had a good game," Jamieson said. "He'll be out there again tomorrow."

Starting pitcher Kyle Gibson struck out a career-high 13 batters in eight innings pitched. Gibson threw 114 pitches.

"I want to make (114 pitches) go nine innings," Gibson said. "I would have gone out there if it hadn't been a long eighth inning."

Gibson allowed only one run after giving a lead-off double in the third inning, which led to the run.

"I lost focus in the third inning when I gave the guy something to hit with a guy in scoring position," Gibson said. "I can't do that."

Left fielder Greg Folgia, who led-off for the Tigers, went 2-for-4 and reached base four out of five times after batting sixth against Western Illinois on Wednesday.

Closer Scooter Hicks worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning and had a strikeout for his second save in as many chances. 

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