Pitching staff leads Missouri baseball to 5-2 win over Gonzaga

Tuesday, March 8, 2011 | 10:58 p.m. CST; updated 11:15 p.m. CST, Tuesday, March 8, 2011
MU senior Zack Hardoin pitched the first 6 2/3 innings of the game against Gonzaga on Tuesday. The Tigers beat the Bulldogs 5-2.

COLUMBIA — Unlike his last start, senior Zack Hardoin looked comfortable on the mound.

After only getting one out in his last appearance, Hardoin lasted 6 2/3 innings Tuesday night at Taylor Stadium and led Missouri to a 5-2 victory over Gonzaga.

In addition to allowing three hits and four runs on Feb. 27, Hardoin has been coping with a nagging injury.

“These past couple weeks I’ve been suffering from a little tendinitis,” Hardoin said. “I’ve been training pretty hard, and tonight I felt pretty good — and our team needed a big win, and it was great to go out there and give us a chance to do that.”

Hardoin had a no-hitter going into the top of the sixth inning, but it ended when Gonzaga center fielder Chris Sturdivant singled. The Bulldogs scored their first run of the game later in the inning off a Missouri error.

“Zack came out and threw strikes and controlled the game from the mound and gave us a chance to win,” coach Tim Jamieson said.

Hardoin gave up his only other hit in the seventh inning when Gonzaga first baseman Maxx Garrett homered to left field.

“Our coaches preach to just attack the strike zone and keep it low,” Hardoin said. “I was getting ahead of a lot of hitters, and I was getting them to chase a lot of pitches that weren’t hitters’ pitches.”

Missouri’s pitching onslaught didn’t let up after Hardoin was pulled. Junior Dusty Ross made his seventh appearance of the season in the seventh inning. Ross allowed no hits and no runs in 1 1/3 innings.

Senior Phil McCormick picked up the save by finishing off the Bulldogs in the ninth inning.

“Phil is very confident and Phil is aggressive and he knows how to get it done,” Jamieson said. “His stuff is better now than it’s ever been.”

With eight appearances so far, McCormick is on pace to break the conference record for number of appearances in a season. McCormick said he’s just happy as long as the team is winning even if that means throwing every day.

“I’ve got all the confidence in the world in the rest of our bullpen and I know he (Jamieson) does too,” McCormick said. “But if he wants to throw me out there, then just keep throwing me out there and I’ll keep doing my job until my arm falls off.”

Missouri’s pitchers got plenty of help from the offense. After singling and then stealing two bases in the first inning, left fielder Blake Brown scored when designated hitter Dane Opel walked. In the third inning, Missouri scored four runs off four hits and a Gonzaga error to take a 5-0 lead.

Missouri plays Gonzaga at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Taylor Stadium. Senior pitcher Brad Buehler is scheduled to start for the Tigers.

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