Missouri baseball team advances to Big 12 Tournament championship

Saturday, May 28, 2011 | 7:30 p.m. CDT; updated 9:35 p.m. CDT, Saturday, May 28, 2011
Missouri's Blake Brown, center, gets high fives and a drink of water from his teammates after hitting a seventh-inning home run that turned out to be the winning run in the Tigers' 2-1 victory over Texas on Saturday at the Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City.

The Missouri baseball team beat Texas 2-1 on Saturday afternoon to advance to the championship game of the Big 12 Conference Tournament in Oklahoma City.

The top-seeded Longhorns needed to beat the eighth-seeded Tigers twice on Saturday to stave off elimination and had beaten Missouri 6-1 in Saturday's first game.

But in the second game, Jesse Santo's RBI double in the second inning and Blake Brown's solo home run in the seventh were enough to hold off Texas and advance to Sunday's championship against Texas A&M.

However, the Longhorns added some suspense in the final innings. Jordan Etler singled then scored on a fielder's choice in the eighth. Then in the ninth, Cohl Walla walked, stole second and advanced to third on an error to put the tying run in scoring position with two outs. Missouri reliever Phil McCormick got Etler to strike out to preserve the victory.

Senior left-hander Kelly Fick, who is normally a middle reliever for Missouri, started the game and threw seven innings to earn to the win. He allowed just four hits, struck out three and walked none to leave Tigers coach Tim Jamieson impressed.

"To be quite honest with you, we wouldn't have given him the ball if we didn't think he could do it, but to think he was going to give us seven innings, that's beyond expectations," Jamieson said.

Texas coach Augie Garrido sounded frustrated by Fick.

“He kept us off balance," he said. "We’ve had trouble with that kind of pitcher all year. Soft throwing, left-handed, breaking ball, sinker, slider, just the type that he’s really effective against us for some reason.”

Missouri had also been frustrated at the plate Saturday against Texas and managed just three hits in the slim victory. Blake seemed especially annoyed before hitting his crucial home run.

"I just really wanted to attack. I was really passive earlier today and I was taking too many strikes so I was out there just trying to hunt fastballs and I got a couple of hits and put the bat on the ball," he said.

The second-seeded Aggies eliminated Kansas State with a 9-8 victory in 11 innings Saturday to advance.

Sunday's title game is set for 1 p.m.  The game will air live on FSN. It will mark the Tigers' fourth appearance in a Big 12 Tournament title game. Missouri is the first No. 8 seed to advance to the championship.

"Well, they are one less game into the weekend which could make a difference," Jamieson said about Texas A&M, "but we have to just come out and compete and play well against them like we did in Columbia."

Missouri won two of three games against the Aggies at the end of April at Taylor Stadium.



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