KANSAS CITY — Missouri’s business trip Wednesday to Kauffman Stadium turned into a trip gone bad.
The Tigers baseball team lost 7-3 to Kansas and got to hear the KU faithful chant the “Rock Chalk Jayhawk” thanks to Preston Land’s three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning at the home of the Royals.
Unlike Missouri’s trip to Busch Stadium in St. Louis, this trip was about taking care of business against rival Kansas (27-14) in front of 4,102 fans clad in either black and gold or crimson and blue.
“They’re all fun trips, but I guess a little more emphasis was put on this game because it's KU, and there’s a rivalry,” junior Greg Folgia said.
Entering the bottom of the sixth inning, Missouri led 3-1 after some timely hitting from the Tigers included a two-out RBI single by Steve Gray that allowed Folgia to score in the top half of the inning.
In relief of starter Ian Berger in the bottom of the sixth, freshman Ryan Clubb nearly escaped after giving up a lead-off triple to right fielder Brian Heere. Clubb forced the Jayhawks to ground out to third and a pop up to the second baseman.
But Clubb hit a batter, allowed an RBI single and then gave up a three-run home run to Land that barely cleared the left field wall featuring a Jayhawk logo to give Kansas a 5-3 lead.
“We got the game and we almost get out of the inning, and we don’t get it done,” coach Tim Jamieson said.
Kansas added two insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth to close out the Tigers.
Unlike the Tigers win at Busch Stadium, there weren't a whole lot of oohs and ahs about the experience of playing in another major league park. The players' body language displayed disappointment after another loss. Folgia enjoyed the experience for the most part and pondered what it would like to play in a major league stadium every day.
“It’s big, and it’s intimidating,” Folgia said. “There were people behind me in center yelling at me.”
Folgia went 2-for-4 with a double and scored two runs to lead the Tigers.
Berger started for the 13th time and wasn’t relieved after one inning like he usually is as part of Jamieson’s pitcher-by-committee approach, which has been successful this season.
“As much as anything, we want him to get it done,” Jamieson said.
Also for the first time this season, Jamieson mixed up the defensive positions in the outfield after usual center fielder Ryan Lollis committed two errors against K-State in the Tigers' last game. Lollis played in a different position for the first time this season, and junior Aaron Senne switched from right to left field.
“Ryan’s been struggling defensively, and it's just to try and take some pressure off of him,” Jamieson said. “It’s more of a one game thing.”
The game didn’t count in the Big 12 conference standings, and that’s something that Jamieson realized and used the chance to get a preview of the Jayhawks while limiting how much the Jayhawks saw of the Tigers.
“The games that matter more are the games we play on the weekend in Columbia,” Jamieson said. “We weren’t too excited to show them a whole lot of things that they’re going to see when they come to Columbia.
“Don’t get me wrong, we wanted to win this game.”