COLUMBIA — Missouri starting pitcher John Miles’ fourth pitch of the third inning went behind the back of Vanderbilt designated hitter Rhett Wiseman.
Missouri pitching coach Matt Hobbs hustled to the mound before Miles could get back himself. Head coach Tim Jamieson followed, then the rest of the infielders, then a trainer.
Miles threw three practice pitches, but two of them went wide of the plate. Hobbs and Jamieson decided to give the ball to Peter Fairbanks. Miles exited with bicep tightness, according to a team spokesperson.
Fairbanks, a sophomore right-hander, came out of the dugout, rather than the bullpen. He rushed through some stretches and warmup pitches on the mound.
The No. 9 Commodores scored five runs by the end of the third inning, which proved enough to hand the Tigers (20-26, 6-17 Southeastern Conference) a 5-1 loss Saturday at Taylor Stadium.
Fairbanks said he remained somewhat loose from his pregame warmup and gained adrenaline from entering a tight situation. That helped him hold Vanderbilt to three hits and no runs in the six innings that followed.
“After that first inning (I pitched), I felt like I was able to keep us right there and give us a chance for the offense to come through a little bit,” Fairbanks said.
Missouri's offense managed only five hits Saturday. A double by Ryan Howard produced the Tigers' only extra-base hit.
Saturday marked the second consecutive extended outing for Fairbanks where he held opposing hitters largely in check — he gave up four hits in eight innings against Illinois on April 23. Missouri losing to Vanderbilt wasn’t the ideal outcome, but it didn’t totally dampen Fairbanks’ spirits.
“My outings are my outings,” he said. “I try and compartmentalize that.”
Jamieson’s view was a bit different. Miles’ injury is another blow for a pitching staff already missing injured starters Eric Anderson and Griffin Goodrich. With Saturday’s defeat, the team has lost three consecutive SEC series and eight consecutive SEC games.
“It’s tough to lose, period,” Jamieson said. “But it’s even tougher when you know your guys are competing, and they’re doing what they can do and you still come up short.”
Sunday’s series finale is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.
Supervising editor is Erik Hall.