Missouri baseball blows lead, loses in extra innings

Sunday, April 20, 2014 | 7:22 p.m. CDT
Missouri played Mississippi State at Taylor Field on Sunday. Missouri lost 9-7 in 11 innings.

COLUMBIA — This was the progression the Missouri baseball team experienced Sunday: At first, there was hope.

Mississippi State had runners on first and second in the top of the 11th, and both were sent running before Bulldogs catcher Zack Randolph hit a ground ball down the third-base line. 

Tigers third baseman Ryan Howard stretched his 6-foot-1 frame to his right and snared the ball, then got up and threw to first for the second out in the inning.

The game was still tied at 7-7. If pitcher Peter Fairbanks could get the next out, Missouri would have a chance to walk off in the bottom of the frame, avoid the sweep to the Bulldogs and stay out of last place in the conference standings.

But then, there was reality.

Missouri (17-21, 6-12 Southeastern Conference) was outhit and outpitched all weekend against the Bulldogs, and that wasn't going to change in its 9-7 loss in 11 innings at Taylor Stadium on Sunday. 

The Tigers busted open a 6-3 lead with four runs in the fifth inning. They scored another in the sixth to make it 7-3.

From that point, though, Mississippi State's offense crept steadily toward a tie — a run in the seventh, a run in the eighth, and it was 7-5. Tigers sophomore Breckin Williams, who had pitched the eighth inning and part of the seventh, came out in the ninth to try for the save.

The Bulldogs loaded the bases, and C.T. Bradford's single drove in two runs to tie the game and send it to extra innings.

Both teams went scoreless in the 10th inning. The Tigers put men on first and second with two outs in the inning, but Eric Anderson flew out to center.

"I just can't seem to find a hole right now," he said. "The whole weekend, I squared up a lot of balls, and not much to show for it, but when something like that's happening, you've just got to stick with it and trust that they're going to find some holes."

The hope Howard's diving stop in the 11th provided barely lasted a minute. Two pitches later, Fairbanks threw an inside fastball that Mississippi State infielder Reid Humphreys knocked into short left for a single.

Two runners scored. Mississippi State led, 9-7.

"I didn't think the guy got a real good swing," Missouri head coach Tim Jamieson said. "I didn't think he hit it very hard, but I'll have to take a look at the film to know exactly where it was."

The Tigers got a one-out double from Logan Pearson and pushed Bulldogs right-hander Ben Bracewell over 100 total pitches for the game in the 11th inning, but Jacob Lindgren entered and promptly struck out Dillon Everett to seal the victory for the visiting team.

Missouri is scheduled to play Wichita State on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. 

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