Missouri pitcher Rob Zastryzny spoke with four reporters following an 8-6 loss Friday night against Florida, but his wide-eyed gaze wasn’t on his interviewers. Zastryzny wasn’t focused on anything in particular, staring past everyone in the room.
He couldn’t bear to look.
“He’s one of the biggest competitors I know,” said Missouri outfielder Dane Opel. “I’m sure you guys heard it in his voice, he was pretty upset.”
The Gators hit Zastryzny hard Friday night, as he allowed six earned runs and a season-high 12 hits. Even after the offensively challenged Tigers scored four runs in the first inning, Zastryzny dug his team a hole by allowing several costly two-out hits, leading to Gator runs.
“We score six runs, 12 hits offensively on a Friday night, you’ll take that in any conference,” said Missouri head coach Tim Jamieson. “We had to stop the bleeding and we didn’t do it on the mound.”
Friday’s shellacking was the second in as many weeks for Zastryzny, a sore subject after the loss to Florida.
“That’s two weekends in a row they’ve scored more than five runs for me and I couldn’t get the ‘W,’ ” Zastryzny said. “That’s gonna change. I’m not gonna let that happen ever again.”
In Zastryzny’s defense, his two poor outings were against the Southeastern Conference’s top-hitting teams in Vanderbilt and red-hot Florida, both ranked in the top 15. But Zastryzny won’t accept that as an excuse.
“I’m not gonna admit or say that anyone’s better than me because I know no one is and I’m not gonna ever give anyone credit,” Zastryzny said. “They get hits, it’s my fault. It’s not 'cause they beat me, it’s 'cause it’s my fault.”
With yet another loss, the Tigers find themselves below the cut line for the SEC tournament, which accepts the top 12 teams in the conference. Missouri’s 4-12 record in SEC play puts them at 13th of 14. In order for Missouri to get to Hoover, Ala., for the postseason, Zastryzny knows he needs to be better.
“It falls a lot on me, I feel like,” Zastryzny said. “I don’t put the weight of the world on my shoulders or anything, but I gotta do better.”