The Missouri baseball team headed down to Athens, Ga. after losing four games in a row, including an error-filled defeat to Illinois at Busch Stadium on Tuesday. Its ride back to Columbia should be more pleasant after the Tigers took two of three games from the Georgia Bulldogs this weekend.
Missouri edged Georgia out 8-5 to clinch the series on Sunday. Dane Opel, who extended his on-base streak to 21 games over the weekend, gave the Tigers the lead with a ninth-inning triple that brought home three runs. Opel added an insurance run as well by scoring on a sacrifice fly from catcher Dylan Kelly.
After Missouri's comeback effort fell just short Saturday in its 6-5 loss, the Tigers found themselves in a similar position on Sunday. Starting pitcher Alec Rash got shelled in just 1 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. By the end of the third inning, the Tigers were down 5-0.
But three runs in the fourth on four hits put the Tigers back within striking distance. Kendall Keeton drove in an RBI, his second of the game, on an eighth-inning single, leading up to Opel's clutch triple an inning later.
Missouri pitcher Keaton Steele, who relieved Rash, struck out nine Bulldogs while holding Georgia to one run on four hits. It was the second time in as many Sundays that Steele had to take over for Rash. A dual threat, Steele also went 3-for-5 at the plate and scored a run.
By winning the series, Missouri widened its lead over last-place Georgia in the Southeastern Conference standings to two games. Missouri currently holds the 12th and final spot in the SEC tournament, with Georgia and Auburn tied for 13th.
The Tigers return to Missouri this week for an intra-state matchup Tuesday against the Missouri State Bears in Springfield. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and Jace James will likely be on the mound for Missouri.