Columbia proved to be as friendly to the Missouri baseball team as the road.
After falling behind the Leathernecks 2-1 in the third inning, Missouri’s offense surged and scored three runs in the sixth and the eighth.
“I needed to break out of a little slump that I was in,” Flanders said. “That hit really helped me out.”
After watching Missouri’s offense struggle through five innings, coach Tim Jamieson said he would like to see the team hit consistently.
“We try to talk to them and simplify what they’re doing at the plate,” Jamieson said. “We just have to continue to play and keep getting guys in the lineup.”
In the eighth, Missouri’s runs resulted more from Leatherneck miscues than Tigers offense.
Western Illinois pitcher Tim Navin beaned Flanders to lead off the inning, and Hernandez reached first on Navin’s error in the next at-bat. Boone added to Navin’s problems, tripling to the right-center field gap and driving in Flanders and Hernandez. A Zane Taylor single brought in Boone.
The Leathernecks (4-6) committed four errors and hit two batters, and in the ninth, shortstop Ryan Schmidgall moved to pitcher as the sixth Western Illinois reliever.
“We’ve been playing solid defense up to this point,” Leatherneck coach Stan Hyman said. “It’s kind of disappointing to see those mistakes happen at crucial moments.”
Pitchers stay hot
Missouri pitching was strong again, with Jamieson using three relievers.
“The pitching staff as a whole is tremendously confident,” Jamieson said. “The ability to throw strikes and be ahead in the count is extremely beneficial.”
Missouri allowed no more than three runs in a game during the homestand.
“(Missouri pitchers) are guys who will go right after you,” Hyman said. “They’ll throw inside, they’ll paint the outside corner. You have to be aggressive.”
Ryan Rallo has been the most productive Tiger at the plate, going 2-for-5 on Wednesday to extend his hitting streak to nine. Rallo said experience has helped him be effective.
“Being a fifth-year helps,” Rallo said. “I’ve seen a lot of pitches.”