The conference season has not begun the way the Missouri baseball team would have liked.
The Tigers dropped their second straight game, losing 6-4 to Kansas State in 11 innings Saturday at Taylor Stadium, in their first Big 12 Conference series. A Kansas State win today would be the second year in a row an opponent swept Missouri in its opening conference series.
Missouri led 4-2 heading into the ninth inning, but reliever Mark Alexander allowed two runs on a walk and two hits to send the game into extra innings.
“We’ve had trouble closing them out, it seems like, this whole year when we’re up by two,” first baseman Cody Ehlers said. “Several times now the other team seems to find a way to get two across.”
After a scoreless 10th, the Wildcats (19-6, 2-0) scored two in the 11th.
Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer entered in the 11th and allowed walks to Ryan Saltzgaber and Brian Patty before Dustin Braud replaced him.
Kansas State’s Eli Rumler then reached on a fielder’s choice, and Braud walked the next two batters, allowing Saltzgaber to score. Rumler scored the second run of the inning on a Braud wild pitch.
“When we’ve got (Alexander) or Scherzer out there and we’re up by two, we’re fully expecting to win,” Ehlers said. “I don’t think anyone thinks we’re going to go out there and blow it.”
Brad Flanders led off the bottom of the 11th with a double, but Missouri (19-6-1, 0-2) was unable to capitalize; the game ended when Trevor Helms hit into a double play.
“As a team we didn’t get it done, so it’s hard to point a finger at one or two guys,” coach Tim Jamieson said.
Pitcher Erik Dessau was solid for Missouri, allowing two runs on four hits before leaving with one out in the eighth. Dessau struck out one of the 27 batters he faced.
“(Dessau is) not a strikeout guy,” Jamieson said. “He kept the ball down in the zone and today the wind is blowing out, there could have been a whole lot of home runs.”
Dessau said he was disappointed to not get a win in his first Big 12 start, but is confident the Tigers can regroup after two difficult losses.
“Stuff is going to happen, things aren’t going to go our way all the time,” Dessau said.
The majority of Missouri’s offense came in the third when the Tigers scored three.
Zane Taylor led off the inning with a triple and scored on Lee Laskowski’s sacrifice fly. Ehlers followed with a home run that barely cleared the fence in left field and scored Hunter Mense, who had reached on a walk.
“I guess when the wind is blowing 30 mph out to left and you hit it up in the air, you can’t really argue with that,” Ehlers said.