Conner Mach's first career home run leads Tigers

Sunday, March 8, 2009 | 7:45 p.m. CDT; updated 7:59 p.m. CDT, Sunday, March 8, 2009
The Missouri baseball team congratulates freshman Conner Mach after his three-run home run in the fifth inning. It was his first home run and tied the game.

COLUMBIA — David Mach just had to get the ball his son Conner Mach had hit over the center-field wall. After all, it was the first career home run for the freshman from Chesterfield. 

Unfortunately for David Mach, the five boys chasing balls out of play all afternoon got there first. When he approached, they thought he worked for the security staff and denied having the ball. He then explained who he was and started negotiating for the ball.

David Mach offered the boys a ball of his own, $3 and autographs after the game, and the deal was done.

Entering the fifth inning, Missouri didn't have a hit and trailed by three runs. In that inning, Mach's home run tied the game, and Missouri scored five runs. That propelled Missouri (6-8) to a 7-6 win Sunday afternoon at Taylor Stadium.

It took three of four games from Ball State in the series.

"It was amazing," Conner Mach said.  "It's the best feeling being a freshman and getting a big hit in a big spot."

He has been battling with freshmen Ryan Gebhart and Ben Turner for at-bats in the lineup as the team's designated hitter but Jamieson said for the time being, Mach is the team's DH.

"There might be a little more pressure but it just comes down to playing your game," Mach said.

MU starting pitcher Nick Tepesch struck out 12 Cardinals (5-5) in 6 2-3 innings but allowed three home runs which resulted five runs for the Cardinals.

"I threw really well except for the three mistakes," Tepesch said.

Brad Buehler pitched 1 1-3 scoreless innings before handing the ball over to closer Scooter Hicks for the save.

"I have more confidence in our bullpen knowing that we can hold onto a small lead late in the game," Jamieson said.

Hicks earned his third save of the season but not without some drama. Jeremy Hazelbaker led off with a triple. Then after a strikeout, Kolbrin Vitek hit a ball that drove center fielder Ryan Lollis  to the warning track to catch the fly ball.

Missouri hosts Western Illinois Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Taylor Stadium before going to Austin, Texas, next weekend to open Big 12 conference play against the Longhorns.

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DON MERKLE March 9, 2009 | 7:52 a.m.

Way to go Connor, great to see you as a Freshman step up BIG for ole MIZ-ZOU ! glad dad was able to secure the ball you hit for a HR.

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