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Missouri pounds SLU at Busch Stadium

Wednesday, April 1, 2009 | 11:14 p.m. CDT; updated 12:47 a.m. CDT, Thursday, April 2, 2009
From left to right, Austin Holt, Andrew Thigpen and Rex Meyr watch from behind the batting cage, as the Arch and Busch Stadium loom in the background during the Tigers' batting practice session before Wednesday's game against Saint Louis University.

ST. LOUIS — Everything was brighter for the Missouri baseball team on Wednesday night in the Tigers' 19-6 win over Saint Louis University at Busch Stadium. 

Over the shoulder of St. Louis native Connor Mach was the Cardinals logo glowing on the giant scoreboard. Over his brother Kyle's shoulder, out on the left field wall, were the retired numbers of Ozzie Smith, Stan Musial, Lou Brock and Bob Gibson. And over everyone's head stood the Arch.

"It's pretty cool to step in the same box as (Albert)Pujols and (Rick) Ankiel," Connor Mach said. “I was pretty anxious. I was pretty surprised how good it looks out here.”

Later this summer, the MLB All-Star game will be played here.

The organ played when a batter stepped out of the box and the in the middle of the eighth inning, "Here Comes the King" played as the Budweiser Clydesdales trotted across the big screen just like they do during Cardinals games.

Some of the parents even got in on the Major League act. Pitcher Kyle Gibson's parents, Harold and Sharon Gibson, had a cameo appearance on the scoreboard Kiss Cam.

During batting practice, first baseman Steve Gray and outfielder Ryan Lollis hit home runs.

For the ninth time this season, Missouri used at least nine pitchers to complete the game. The Tigers are now 8-1 in those games and the Tigers' team ERA during those games is lower than three. Ryan Clark earned his third win of the season striking out two SLU (14-13) batters in the second inning.

“It’s a couple steps forward and one step back. Overall, we are moving in the right direction, but the middle of the game was kind of sloppy," Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said.

After scoring only four runs in three games against Oklahoma State this weekend, the Tigers scored 19 runs on 16 hits.

Coming into the game shortstop Michael Liberto was struggling at the plate and during batting practice, the coaches were telling him to stay behind the ball.

"I was like, 'What the heck does that mean?'" Liberto said.

So Liberto went into the indoor batting cages under the Cardinals' dugout to work with hitting coach Evan Pratte. It worked for tonight. Liberto went 4-for-6 with four singles and three RBIs.

Busch Stadium is the third major league stadium the Tigers (14-14) have played in the past two years. Last season, Missouri played at the MetroDome where the Minnesota Twins play and at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. 

Missouri ace Kyle Gibson pitched the first inning, giving up three runs on four hits. Today was his scheduled throwing day so why not let the ace take the Busch Stadium mound.

In the next few years, Gibson hopes he can be taking a major league mound wearing something other than a Missouri uniform.

Mizzou took the lead with four runs in the bottom of the first, then put away the Billikens with seven runs in the second capped off by Jonah Schmidt's two RBI single.

Left fielder Greg Folgia had the play of the day, chasing down a ball that was headed to the gap and catching it while running at full speed.

“It was really big out there. It felt like I was running for so long. I just finally got to it,” Folgia said.

Missouri hosts Oklahoma in a three-game series this weekend with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. Friday at Taylor Stadium.

 


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