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Missouri baseball finds offense in win over Missouri State

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 | 11:33 p.m. CDT; updated 12:43 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Missouri shortstop Josh Lester throws the ball to first base after fielding a ground ball during the Tigers' game against Missouri State on Tuesday at Taylor Stadium. Missouri defeated the Bears 9-4.

COLUMBIA — Missouri right-hander Peter Fairbanks' fifth start began like it was going to be his worst.

The first inning started with a sharp single up the middle and was followed by a walk. Fairbanks threw two balls to Missouri State center fielder Tate Matheny, jabbing his glove in frustration as he caught the ball thrown back by catcher Dylan Kelly.

Then, Matheny hit a pop fly that fell beyond the reach of second baseman Shane Segovia. Missouri State had the bases loaded with no outs.

All the while, the Bears' dugout had been jawing at Fairbanks, enough for home plate umpire Mark Winters to intervene. The trash talk may have helped Fairbanks find his groove.

"Every team jaws a little bit," Fairbanks said. "But when you have an ump come in and say something about it, obviously they're going to laugh about it. So, I mean, why not take it and go shove for the next six innings?"

Fairbanks allowed two runs in the first, but limited the Bears to just two hits in the five innings that followed, helping the Tigers to a 9-4 win that also included a flood of extra-base hits.

The first three innings were a continuation of the weak offensive showing Missouri (15-16) had in its weekend series against Georgia. Clay Murphy held Missouri to two hits and no runs.

The shift in momentum began in the fourth inning. Shane Segovia doubled to lead off the frame. Logan Pearson walked and Ryan Howard bunted to advance the runners to second and third.

Dillon Everett singled Segovia home, then Pearson scored when Jake Ring laid down a push bunt to the right side and beat Missouri State's first baseman to the bag. 

The inning ended with the teams tied 2-2.

Missouri's offense kept scoring in the following frame. The Tigers got a single from Kelly and double from Segovia to open the inning, and Pearson singled Kelly home to put Missouri ahead 3-2.

The Tigers scored five runs on five hits in the fifth inning, the most runs they scored in a single inning since a 10-run inning against Radford on Feb. 21.

Missouri added two more in the sixth inning Tuesday.

The Tigers had six extra-base hits in the game compared to just one extra-base hit in their three-game series against Georgia.

"It really was amazing," Missouri pitcher Breckin Williams said. "We were sitting down in the bullpen, and we were like 'What the heck's going on? This isn't us.'"

Segovia had three doubles Tuesday. The senior had struggled at the plate before facing Missouri State, but he made an adjustment to start his swing later.

The improved patience showed when the right-handed hitting Segovia hit doubles to the right-center gap and to deep center field. Those at-bats displayed an ability to hit the ball deep in the strike zone.

"It was more of letting the ball travel enough, seeing it deep and just letting the ball get to me, rather than me chasing the ball," Segovia said. 

Missouri returns to action with a three-game road series against Kentucky this weekend. The first game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. Friday. 

Missouri/Missouri State box score

Supervising editor is Erik Hall.


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