It was a frighteningly familiar scene in the top of the ninth inning Friday night at Taylor Stadium. The Missouri baseball team had allowed another ninth-inning comeback.
The Tigers beat No. 15 Nebraska 3-2, though, battling back in their half of the ninth thanks to a Brad Flanders winning single with the bases loaded. It was the ninth time Missouri has seen a game decided in the last at bat this season.
Flanders, who has struggled at the plate this season, hit a single through the left side of the infield, scoring Tyler Williams from third.
"I've been just trying to stay relaxed, take a couple deep breaths and let it come to me," Flanders said. "I got a good pitch to hit, so I got it up."
Flanders said Coach Tim Jamieson had words of encouragement that helped him at the plate.
"(Jamieson) told me I was going to succeed," Flanders said. "Coach J's got all the faith in me in the world, he's got all the faith in everyone of us on this team, and whenever he says that it just makes you want to try even that much harder."
Missouri (23-12-1, 3-7) got a big night from starter Danny Hill, who pitched 7 2/3 innings and allowed one run on five hits, with five strikeouts. Hill said the crowd of 837, the largest this season, gave him energy and helped him pitch well.
"It's about the best feeling I ever had coming out of a game," Hill said. "Hopefully they'll keep coming out."
The one-run difference in the game made a controversial call in the fourth inning a large factor.
Trailing 2-1, Nebraska (25-7, 6-4) had Jake Mullinax on first after he walked. Curtis Ledbetter then doubled, allowing Mullinax to score from first. Home plate umpire Ken McQueen called the run back, though, ruling that Mullinax missed third base. McQueen ejected Nebraska coach Mike Anderson when he continued to argue the call after the inning.
Cornhuskers' starter Zach Kroenke, who entered the game with a 1.94 ERA, was strong in his eight innings. Kroenke allowed two runs on five hits, throwing 122 pitches.
"He's a good pitcher," Jamieson said. "To think it's going to be a 3-2 game tonight is surprising. It's a credit to both guys keeping the ball down in the zone."
Tigers first baseman Cody Ehlers was able to get to Kroenke in the second inning, hitting a lead-off home run that went beyond the 420 foot sign in right field. Ehlers home run follows a 3-for-5 performance Wednesday against Southwest Missouri State when he hit the winning home run in the 10th.
"This week he's had a pretty good week," Jamieson said. "We've got 20-something games left, and I'd like to see him go for 20 more games just like he is."