COLUMBIA — Sophomore catcher Ryan Ampleman didn’t mind the shaving cream burning his nose, eyes and ears.
He hit a game-winning home run off Kansas reliever Colton Murray with one out in the ninth inning to give the Tigers a 13-12 win over rival Kansas. Ampleman was then hit with a plate full of blue shaving cream entering the Tigers locker room after the game.
“They were suffocating me, I couldn’t catch my breath for five minutes,” Ampleman said of his teammates mobbing him at the plate. “It was 2-0, and they threw two curveballs to me, which they had been throwing all day, and I was sitting on a fastball and put a good swing on it.”
It was the first career home run for Ampleman, who replaced catcher Trevor Coleman two weeks ago after Coleman broke his hand on a freak play against Eastern Illinois.
“I was running hard to second base until I saw the outfielder, and that’s when I pumped my fist,” Ampleman said.
The win gave the Tigers their fourth straight Big 12 series win. Kansas hasn’t won a series in Columbia since 1983.
“I know for sure we’re going to the postseason now,” coach Tim Jamieson said.
The Tigers led 12-7 entering the ninth inning and closer Brad Buehler was on the mound after pitching in part of the seventh and all of the eighth. Buehler allowed one run and got one out in the ninth before giving up a game-tying grand slam to Big-12 home run leader Tony Thompson that had the small group of Kansas fans going crazy.
“We were riding him because he’s our best guy,” Jamieson said of Buehler.
The teams almost got in a fight after Kansas first baseman Preston Land was hit with a pitch that almost hit his head after Thompson’s game-tying grand slam. The umpires stood in-between Buehler and Land while Land walked to first base and both teams stood on the top step of the dugouts, ready to converge on the field.
Reliever Phil McCormick entered the game with runners on first and third and one out after Buehler hit Land. McCormick struck out pinch hitter Jason Brunansky on three pitches and then got James Stanfield to line out to outfielder Ryan Lollis.
“The strikeout was unbelievable, and I was happy that Lollis got to camp under that ball in the outfield,” McCormick said. “It’s kind of an exclamation point when you get to stop the bleeding like that.”
McCormick was mobbed by teammates after walking off the mound in between innings before Ampleman hit the game-winning home run.
The win gave Missouri 30 wins for the seventh straight season. The Tigers finished 16-11 in the Big 12 conference for the second consecutive season.
Missouri concludes the regular season with a three-game series starting at 6:30 p.m. Friday against Cal-State Bakersfield.