COLUMBIA — One dropped ball.
That’s all it took for things to spiral out of control for the Missouri baseball team in the second game of its doubleheader Tuesday at Taylor Stadium. Backup Missouri catcher Jake Ivory dropped strike three of what would have been the third out of the top of the eighth inning, leaving the ball to roll all the way to the backstop.
The runner reached first base. There was no throw.
“We didn’t catch the baseball,” said Missouri coach Tim Jamieson. “But then we didn’t respond to it.”
It took five more at-bats, featuring three different Missouri pitchers, to remake that final out. In the process, Missouri’s bullpen squandered two 0-2 counts and allowed seven runs, putting what was a tie game far out of reach.
After winning the first game against Arkansas State 5-1, Missouri dropped the second 10-3.
Despite hitting his first two home runs of the season Tuesday — one in each game — Missouri outfielder Dane Opel spoke in a solemn tone when reflecting on the doubleheader, including eighth inning debacle.
“We had the guy out, then the ball kicked away,” Opel said. “I don’t know. It was just kind of one of those innings that got out of control.”
The Tigers’ collapse came just half an inning after they had tied the game, seemingly grabbing the momentum. When Shane Segovia, who had previously been hitting a dismal .100 since returning from a hamstring injury, crossed the plate as the tying run, he raised his helmet in celebration while his teammates left the dugout to join him.
“Once we tied it, I thought we were gonna win the game, honestly,” Missouri pitcher Jace James said. “Then, all of sudden, it was a snowball effect kind of thing. We couldn’t stop it.”
James watched the second game from the bench after starting the first. The one earned run James allowed was his first in 19.1 innings this season.
The Tigers will travel to Knoxville, Tenn., this weekend to take on the Volunteers in a three-game series. Rob Zastryzny will likely be on the mound Friday for Missouri.
Supervising editor is Grant Hodder.