COLUMBIA — Why did Dane Opel throw to third?
That was the question on everyone's mind, and one that Missouri baseball head coach Tim Jamieson didn't have an answer to even after the game.
"We still had an out at second base," Jamieson said. "He dropped the fly ball, we had an easy out at second. I don’t know why he threw it to third. I can’t explain that."
It was a mistake the coach didn't expected from Opel, who Jamieson considers one of his best defensive outfielders. Then again, who would've anticipated the Tigers' top defensive infielder, Shane Segovia, letting a routine ground ball past him just two batters earlier?
Unexplainable errors like Opel's and Segovia's seem almost routine for Missouri baseball. In its 6-5 loss Sunday against No. 2 LSU, Missouri was virtually handed an early four-run lead before letting it slip away in the very next inning.
The mistakes piled up quickly for Missouri in the top of the third inning. With a 5-1 lead, freshman pitcher Alec Rash put LSU's first two batters on base before surrendering a three-run bomb to Mason Katz. Katz's third home run of the weekend was swiftly followed by Segovia and Opel's errors.
"If you look throughout the course of the season, we’ve had a lot of big numbers happen after mistakes," Jamieson said. "It’s a trend that has to stop. That should’ve been a two-run inning, or no runs scored after the home run."
Trailing 6-5 midway through the third, Missouri generated only two hits through the final seven innings. Designated hitter Jake Ivory, who recorded a two-RBI single in the second, reflected on the team's inability to hit when it needs to.
"Our offense isn’t necessarily struggling, we just need to come up with hits in the situations where we need them," Ivory said. "I don’t know if it’s a confidence thing or if it’s just our luck right now."
With the win Sunday, LSU completed its sweep of Missouri in the teams' first-ever conference showdown. Missouri will next play Illinois at Busch Stadium on Tuesday for what has become an annual tradition. For Jamieson and the Tigers, the timing couldn't be better.
"I think the timing is good after this weekend," Jamieson said. "Midweek game, we'd probably be searching for motivation, but playing at Busch Stadium, you've got it."