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Columbia Missourian

Missouri baseball team couldn't overcome Missouri State's pitching

By Justin Yang
April 24, 2013 | 11:31 p.m. CDT
Missouri played Missouri State University in baseball Wednesday at Taylor Stadium. The Bears defeated the Tigers 4-2.

COLUMBIA — The clink caught the attention of the children by the foul line in left field.

The sound of a Missouri State bat connecting for a home run broke the team's debate about wooden and aluminum bats and was a feature of the Missouri baseball team's 4-2 loss to the Bears on Wednesday afternoon.

"That's sewage," one said as he followed the trajectory of the ball over the tree line behind the right field wall where a downward slope behind Taylor Stadium features a large sewer lid.

Missouri State second baseman Eric Cheray hit the home run in the third inning off Missouri pitcher Jace James to give Missouri State a 2-0 lead — a lead the Tigers could not make up.

James, who only pitched for the first three innings, gave up five hits and two earned runs to receive his second loss of the season.

"Pitching-wise, I thought we were OK, not great," Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. "We were good enough to survive and give ourselves a chance to win."

Five different Missouri pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts, but it was the lack of offense that led to the loss.

The Tigers quickly responded to the home run in the bottom of the third when  outfielder Dane Opel hit a single to center field to score second baseman Kendall Keeton and close the lead to 2-1.

After that, Missouri's offense failed to produce any runs until the bottom of the ninth.

Missouri State left-hander Matt Hall looked comfortable on the mound, striking out six Missouri hitters in his seven innings. The Bears had 11 hits compared to the Tigers' six.

"He (Hall) did a pretty good job," Opel said. "He kept us off balance and didn't pitch us the same stuff … mixed his stuff up."

The Bears added another run when outfielder Tate Matheny, son of St. Louis Cardinal's manger, Mike Matheny, scored in the seventh off an error by Keeton. Missouri State first baseman Spencer Johnson scored the Bears' final run in the eighth.

Tigers catcher Dylan Kelly scored in the ninth on third baseman Josh Lester's double, but Keeton grounded out to end the game.

"It was a couple steps forward and couple steps back," Jamieson said comparing Wednesday night's loss to Missouri's 8-2 win Sunday over Florida.

Missouri (13-23, 5-13 SEC) will play Auburn (24-16, 6-12) Friday at Taylor Stadium.