Missouri bullpen struggles again in loss at Big 12 tournament

Friday, May 22, 2009 | 7:20 p.m. CDT; updated 9:04 p.m. CDT, Friday, May 22, 2009
Texas Tech's Chris Richburg, right, scores past Missouri catcher Ryan Ampleman in the eighth inning of the Tigers' second game of the Big 12 baseball tournament Saturday in Oklahoma City.

OKLAHOMA CITY — Early this season, Missouri closer Brad Buehler said he likes getting thrown into the high-pressure situations.

But the past few appearances for Buehler have been pressure-packed when they didn’t have to be. In regular season appearances, he gave up a game-tying grand slam to Kansas and allowed the tying run to get on base against Cal. St.-Bakersfield. In the Tigers' first game of the Big 12 tournament Wednesday, he gave up two runs against Texas A&M before being removed.

Next game

Missouri (33-24)

vs. Oklahoma (41-16)

WHEN: 4 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City


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Friday afternoon against Texas Tech at Bricktown Ballpark was another one of those situations for the Buehler. He entered the bottom of the eighth inning with a 2-1 lead thanks to an two-out RBI single by outfielder Aaron Senne. 

Kelly Fick got the first out of the inning after allowing a single. Buehler then hit the first batter he faced but struck out the next batter on three pitches. The things began to spiral out of control again for Buehler.  

With two outs and two strikes, Buehler threw a hanging curve ball that center fielder Tyler Ashby hit for a single to tie the game. Left fielder Michael Reed then hit another single. Greg Folgia’s throw home to the plate was in time to catch the runner, but the ball flew out of the glove of catcher Ryan Ampleman on the tag and bounced up the first base line allowing another run to score.

Missouri ended up losing to Texas Tech 4-2. 

“(Folgia) definitely had him from my view — and that’s a long ways away – but I thought he was out until the ball came loose,” Senne said. “The throw was there, the tag was there and the ball just popped loose.”

Missouri swept Texas Tech in Columbia earlier this year outscoring the Red Raiders 42-14 including a 15-2 win in the series finale in which Texas Tech starter Nathan Karns only lasted one inning. 

Friday, Karns retired 15 of the first 16 batters he faced and struck out six of those.

“I tried to throw more strikes,” Karns said. “Last time, I didn’t do a very good job.”

The Missouri offense then faced reliever Chad Bettis who the Tigers scored 11 runs off of in the same game. 

Bettis didn't forgot the beating he took on the mound that Sunday afternoon in Columbia. After the game, Texas Tech had to take a 14-hour bus ride home after bad weather cancelled its charter flight back to Lubbock.

“We got embarrassed against Missouri earlier in the year,” Bettis said. “We didn’t want to go 0-4.”

Senior pitcher Ian Berger started his first game since losing to Kansas at Kauffman Stadium in April because of an illness to pitcher Scooter Hicks. Berger pitched his best game of the year. After walking the first batter, Berger retired 13 straight batters before Reed reached base on an infield bunt.

“I kept the ball down most of the game and mixed all three pitches,” Berger said. “I was working my fastball on both sides of the plate.”

Missouri can still win the pool and advance to Sunday’s title game if it wins its game against Oklahoma at 4 p.m. Saturday and if Texas A&M defeats Texas Tech in the final game on Saturday.  Missouri coach Tim Jamieson still likes his chances of winning the pool.

“As much as we want to get to Sunday, I still think that is a real possibility,” Jamieson said.



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