COLUMBIA — The Missouri baseball team's postgame reaction Sunday at Taylor Stadium was an unusual sight. The Missouri players were uncharacteristically jubilant after sweeping Auburn in a doubleheader Sunday, 3-1 in the first game and 4-1 in the second game, to take its first Southeastern Conference series win at home.
There were high fives all around, pitcher Keaton Steele and infielder Gavin Stark shared a chest bump-based dance, and infielder Mike McGraw rode on the shoulders of outfielder Brannon Champagne.
Third baseman Shane Segovia's celebration was more understated. He stood by his teammates with a smile on his face, basking in the suddenly warm and sunny weather.
"I always saw that there was some light at the end of the tunnel and today, what a coincidence, the sun came out today," Segovia said. "I saw some light, and had a good day."
The tunnel Segovia was referring to was the season-long slump that he admittedly struggled with both on and off the field. Hitting .145 going into Sunday's games, his batting average was more than 100 points lower than any other Missouri starter. After making two costly baserunning errors Friday against Auburn, Missouri head coach Tim Jamieson said Segovia was playing with "very little confidence."
But Segovia finally had his day Sunday, going 3-for-4 over the two seven-inning wins.
The Tiger who hadn't caught a break all season long finally found some luck when three Auburn defenders couldn't reach Segovia's blooper to shallow right field, bringing home two Missouri runs.
"Something like that hit, that bloop single that fell, it wasn’t pretty, but it went my way," Segovia said. "Today was just a confidence builder all around."
The junior from Texas credited his teammates and coaches for supporting him through what he said was the toughest stretch of his baseball career. Pitcher Brett Graves said supporting Segovia was easy because of the confidence the team has in him.
"We saw (his best) all fall," Graves said. "That’s why Shane’s stayed in there. We all got a bunch of confidence in Shane. It’s great to see him break out like he did today."
With the two wins Sunday against Auburn, Missouri moved into a three-way tie for 10th in the SEC and gained the tiebreaker over Auburn based on head-to-head records. The Tigers will travel to College Station, Texas, this weekend to take on the other team they're tied with, Texas A&M.