The Missouri baseball team improved to 3-1 after a 4-2 victory against Florida Atlantic on Friday in Auburn, Ala. in its first game of the Auburn Invitational. The third victory already gives the Tigers one more win than they had on last seasons’ opening road trip.
The Tigers got the scoring started early with two runs in the top of the first inning on RBI base hits from senior first baseman Aaron Senne and junior third baseman Eric Nicholas. The hits came off of Florida Atlantic starting pitcher Taylor Everist, who took the loss.
Freshman starting pitcher Eric Anderson wouldn’t need much more. Anderson, making his first collegiate start, threw five scoreless innings to earn the win. He gave up just four hits and had five strikeouts.
Anderson was scheduled to start last weekend but because of rain a game was canceled. Anderson said he didn’t let getting pushed back phase him.
“I knew I’d get my shot,” he said during a radio interview after the game.
Missouri Coach Tim Jamieson noted that the strike zone was fairly big, but he was impressed with how steady and aggressive Anderson appeared.
“He’s got great poise for a freshman,” Jamieson said during a radio interview after the game. “He wants the ball. He wants to compete.”
The game got more interesting after Jamieson relieved Anderson. Junior Jeff Scardino took over for him in the bottom of the sixth and gave up a home run to junior outfielder Andy Mee. Scardino then gave up a double, but eventually settled down to get out of the inning.
The score would stay the same until the ninth inning when the Tigers added two more insurance runs. Florida Atlantic battled back with a run of their own in the bottom half of the inning before Missouri sophomore Jeff Emens closed the door, earning his first career save.
The only bad news for the Tigers came when freshman outfielder Brannon Champagne injured his left shoulder while stealing second in the top of the seventh inning. Sophomore outfielder Russell LaFleur replaced him. The severity of Champagne's injury is not yet known.
The Tigers will play again Saturday against Auburn at 3 p.m.