COLUMBIA — Missouri baseball coach Tim Jamieson has had the same problem filling out his lineup card all year — someone has to bat leadoff.
Jamieson has used four different players at the top of the batting order throughout the year, and none of them have found lasting success there.
Saturday's announced crowd of 2,210 was the fourth-largest crowd at Taylor Stadium during a regular season.
Left fielder Scott Sommerfeld hit his first home run of the year in the second inning.
Relief pitchers Ryan Yuengel, Jake Walsh and Dusty Ross combined for 5 1/3 scoreless innings to finish the game after starting pitcher Jeff Emens gave up four runs over 3 1/3 innings.
On Saturday, the duty fell to Eric Garcia for the first time this season.
"It was a bit of a surprise," Garcia said. "I kind of looked up there, looking through the four through nine spots, and couldn't find my name. I looked up, and I was like, 'oh crap, I'm hitting leadoff.'"
After failing to reach base in his first four trips to the plate, Garcia finally capitalized in the eighth inning when his double to center field scored Scott Sommerfeld for the deciding run in Missouri's 5-4 victory over Texas at Taylor Stadium.
After the team lost its fifth straight game Friday night, Jamieson decided to shake up the lineup. The Tigers' normal No. 9 hitter, Dillon Everett, moved to the No. 2 spot and reached base four times. First baseman Andreas Plackis took over the cleanup role, and former leadoff hitter Brannon Champagne was dropped to the bottom of the lineup.
"There's nobody to say, we've got a legitimate three hole hitter guy or four hole guy or nine hole guy," Jamieson said. "The way we’ve swung the bats the last five or six games, we got a bunch of eight and nine hole guys, so we just throw guys into different spots, see what happens."
The shakeup seemed to work. Missouri managed nine hits, breaking a five-game streak of collecting five hits or less.
The win Saturday sets up the possibility of a series win. Missouri and Texas play the deciding third game at 1 p.m. Sunday at Taylor Stadium, something Jamieson emphasized after the game.
"The team has set a goal to win the last three series of the year," Jamieson said. "It kind of gives you a chance to fulfill that goal. It gives you a chance to win the series rather than coming out tomorrow trying to salvage a win."
With the win, Missouri is now 24-22 overall and 8-12 in Big 12 Conference play. Texas fell to 27-17 overall and 13-7 in the conference.
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder