Missouri baseball splits pair of games to open season

Saturday, February 15, 2014 | 9:59 p.m. CST; updated 5:34 p.m. CST, Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Missouri baseball team won its season opener Saturday, beating Southern Mississippi 4-2, but lost its nightcap against McNeese State 3-2. 

Against Southern Mississippi, the Golden Eagles took a two-run lead in the first inning, but the Tigers got some timely hitting and excellent relief pitching to take a 4-2 win.

John Miles started on the mound for Missouri and struggled early before eventually settling in. He allowed four hits in 4 2/3 innings.

Golden Eagles starter Cameron Giannini struck out six of the first nine Missouri batters he saw and made extremely quick work of the Tigers through the first five innings. 

His luster faded in the sixth, though, as Shane Segovia started the frame with a single and, after Jake Ring walked and Dillon Everett was hit by a pitch, the Tigers loaded the bases with two outs. Segovia then scored on a wild pitch to give Missouri its first run of the season.

Missouri took a 3-2 lead in the seventh when Kendall Keeton singled, Zach Lavy reached first on catcher's interference and Segovia doubled to score both. The Tigers expanded their advantage to 4-2 in the eighth when Lester singled and later came around to score on a Lavy grounder.

Southern Mississippi never threatened offensively after Miles left, as four Missouri relievers combined to throw just 39 pitches in 4 1/2 innings. Keaton Steele got the save for the Tigers. 

In its game against the Cowboys, Missouri again received strong pitching performances, but errors and missed scoring opportunities hurt the Tigers.

Brett Graves went 4 2/3 innings and gave up four hits, though he was saddled with the loss when an error by third baseman Ryan Howard let an unearned run come across in the fifth inning.  

That score put McNeese State up 3-2, which would prove to be the winning margin. Singles by Eric Anderson and Jake Ivory in the seventh inning gave Missouri runners on first and second, but Dylan Kelly grounded into a double play to end the inning. 

Almost the same scenario happened in the eighth. Sean Ullrich walked, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, then advanced to third on an Everett single. Lester lined into a double play, though, and the Tigers left another runner at third.

Missouri (1-1) will play its third game of the weekend at 12:30 p.m. Sunday against Chicago State.

Supervising editor is Mark Selig.

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