Missouri ace Kyle Gibson said on Sunday he wanted to pitch on Wednesday and he wanted to carry his team to a win in its first game of the Big 12 Conference tournament.
Gibson didn't pitch all nine innings but he accomplished his goal. Missouri beat Texas A&M 5-2 on Wednesday afternoon in Oklahoma City.
vs. Texas Tech (24-30)
WHEN: 3 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City
RADIO: KTGR /580 AM; KTGR.com
Streaming Video: big12sports.com
Gibson didn't allow a run in six innings pitched, allowing only three hits. He struck out seven Aggies while throwing 99 pitches. Gibson said he struggled to control his fastball, and he walked three batters.
"I was letting my fastball line and sink a little bit and then I would use my off-speed to make my fastball look a little bit better," Gibson said in a press conference posted on the Big 12 Web site. "Late in the year, I was trying to throw them for a loop a little bit and trying to make it look a little bit different and mix them up."
Texas A&M coach Rob Childress said Gibson wasn't overpowering like he was the first time he beat the Aggies earlier this season, but he was still impressed.
"Everybody is tired this time of year. His fastball wasn't overpowering, but what he did is, he pitched," Childress said. "A lot of guys can go out and compete well when they've got their A stuff. Great pitchers are those who, when they have their B stuff and they're not 100 percent, go out and find a way to get it done, and Kyle Gibson is definitely a great one."
For the third consecutive appearance, Missouri (33-23) closer Brad Buehler made the ninth inning too interesting for the Tigers. Against Kansas, Buehler gave up a game-tying grand slam. Saturday against Cal. St-Bakersfield, Buehler allowed the go-ahead run to come to the plate before striking out the final batter.
Against the Aggies (34-22), Buehler got only one out and gave up two runs before coach Tim Jamieson called on usual starting pitcher Nick Tepesch to come to the rescue. Tepesch got two outs on eight pitches to earn the save, his first of the season after earning four saves last season.
"I thought we had to go to somebody, and we had that option down there," Jamieson said. He (Tepesch) didn't throw very much on the weekend and we weren't for sure which day he was going to throw. We needed the win today before we worried about Friday and Saturday."
Senior first baseman Steve Gray went 2-for-4 with a two-run home run off A&M's best relief pitcher, Kyle Thebeau. The home run gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
"It was a fastball away." Gray said. "I was just trying to sit on his speed and try to time it. I hit it good, but I thought I got under it too much. It just got in the wind and it carried out."
Third baseman Kyle Mach extended his hitting streak to 16 games. The streak is the longest for the Tigers since 2004. During the streak, Mach is hitting .469 with seven doubles.
Missouri is 10-2 in its past 12 games against the Big 12 since losing both games of a double-header to Baylor on April 11.
After a day off on Thursday, Missouri plays Texas Tech at 3 p.m. Friday in Oklahoma City in its second game of the tournament.