COLUMBIA – Every once in a while, there are baseball games where the final score just doesn’t tell the real story of the game. Missouri’s Wednesday night contest against North Dakota wasn't one of those games.
Not nearly as sloppy as Tuesday night’s game but every bit as ugly, the Tigers hit, ran and walked all over the seemingly lifeless Fighting Sioux en route to a 21-5 victory, sweeping the two game series and easily extending their winning streak to eight.
Fans inside Taylor Stadium on Wednesday night really didn’t even need the scoreboard to tell them how ugly this game had gotten.
Here are five ways anyone watching this game could tell it got out of hand:
1. Tiger runners declined the opportunity to advance a base when North Dakota pitchers unloaded wild pitches.
2. Missouri pinch hit for three of the the top four hitters in its lineup because there was really no point in letting them hit anymore.
3. Before Wednesday's game, the Tigers had hit six home runs this season. By the fifth inning, Missouri hit three more. And a fourth in the eighth.
4. Despite 26 total runs scored in the game, the true highlight of the night was the promotional hot dog eating contest that took place between the second and third innings.
5. The starting pitching for North Dakota recorded fewer outs (5) than runs he allowed (7).
This game was long over before the final out was recorded in the top of the ninth inning. It was over right after Missouri outfielder Blake Brown launched the first of his two home-runs into the Tiger bullpen in left field extending Missouri’s lead to 8-0.
All the runs the Tigers put up after that were really just collateral damage.
North Dakota was able to muster four runs in the third inning cutting the 8-run deficit in half against Missouri starter Brandon Platts, but that was about it. The Tigers put up 12 unanswered runs before the Fighting Sioux tallied its fifth and final useless run.
"From the very get-go, our at bats were really great," Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. "You score first, it makes it a lot easier for everybody."
Clearly. Only one of the Tigers nine starters didn't record a hit in Wednesday's game. Brown had four, and senior third baseman Conner Mach added three to the team's total of 18.
"Hitting is like a disease, and once someone catches it, everybody's got it," Brown said.
Mach agreed, though he used a less contagious comparison.
"Everyone starts putting good swings together, and everybody kind of just jumps on the hit train," Mach said.
The Tigers next game comes on Friday night against High Point University. The High Point Panthers will ride a four-game winning streak into Taylor Stadium for a three-game series against the Tigers.
Notes: The Tigers 21-run outburst was the most they've scored this season. Their previous high (15) came against Ball State on March 3. Freshman infielder Case Munson notched the first hit and RBI of his career Wednesday night hitting a ball through the hole in the right side of the infield. Mach's five RBIs and Brown's four placed them in the team lead for RBI with 15.