FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Missouri had its share of situations this season where things looked hopeless and the season seemed over.
This time, though, the magic ran out.
After Arkansas dominated the first eight innings of the NCAA regional game, the Tigers scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth to bring the score to 10-7, including Jeremy Hernandez’s three-run blast. But after Brad Flanders flied out for the third out, the Tigers had their second loss of the double-elimination tournament and the season was over.
It wasn’t the first time Missouri was in a must-win situation. The Tigers began Big 12 Conference play 2-7 and needed to upset several opponents to qualify for the conference tournament.
In the conference tournament, the Tigers entered as the No. 7 seed and pulled off three wins before losing to Oklahoma State 10-9 in 13 innings in the championship game.
“I’m proud of the way we ended the game tonight,” Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. “I think it was a kind of a microcosm of how we battled the entire year.”
On Saturday, after looking impressive by winning the early game against Le Moyne, Missouri (38-23-1) faltered early against the Razorbacks. Arkansas starter Jay Sawatski pitched six sharp innings, allowing two walks and striking out seven with no earned runs. Boyd Goodner relieved Sawatski, pitched two scoreless innings and left with a 10-1 lead.
When James Gilbert came on to close out the ninth, the Tigers began to rally.
Kyle Johnson singled to lead off the inning, then Trevor Helms hit a one-out, RBI single. After Ryan Rallo flied to right field, Lee Laskowski walked, Cody Ehlers hit an RBI single and James Boone hit a single to score a run.
Hernandez crushed a three-run home run over the right-field fence to bring the score to 10-7, but Flanders popped a 1-2 pitch to center field to end the rally.
The Razorbacks knocked Missouri starter Nathan Culp out the game after four innings. Culp allowed four earned runs and seven hits. Dustin Braud, Mark Alexander and Taylor Parker finished the game for the Tigers.
Arkansas jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first when Clay Goodwin singled, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on a single to right-center off Clay Goodwin.
Missouri tied it in the bottom of the first when Helms reached first on a fielding error, moved to third when Laskowski doubled and scored on Ehlers’ sacrifice fly.
The Razorbacks (41-22) began to get to Culp in the fourth. Blake Parker and Haas Pratt singled to lead off the inning. After Bubbs Merrill flied out, Danny Hamblin hit an RBI double down the third-base line. Brady Troops dropped down an RBI bunt single to score Pratt and Scott Hode’s sacrifice bunt scored Hamblin to open the lead to 4-1.
The Hogs increased their lead to 7-1 in fifth. Goodwin led off with a double, and after a fly out, Pratt, Merrill and Hamblin hit singles, Brady Toops walked and Hode singled.
Arkansas added three runs in the eighth, prompting the departure of Alexander and extending the lead to 10-1.
MISSOURI 11, LE MOYNE 3:A day after being limited to four hits and no runs, the Tigers slammed 11 runs on 16 hits to eliminate the Dolphins while Garrett Broshuis tied the school record for wins with a complete game.
Broshuis (11-0) took a shutout into the eighth inning and finished with six strikeouts and no walks.
Missouri, which lost to Wichita State 3-0 in the opening round of the double-elimination tournament Friday, had eight of its starters register a hit and seven starters had multiple-hit games.
“Our guys have a lot of confidence with (Broshuis) on the mound,” Jamieson said. “That confidence goes down to our hitters, and they come a lot more disciplined.”
With the win, Broshuis moved into a tie for wins with Keith Weber (1964) and Ron Mathis (1979).
The Tigers jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second. Flanders walked to lead off the inning and moved to third when Williams doubled. Helms and Hernandez hit back-to-back singles.
Laskowski hit a sacrifice fly to score Williams, and then Helms and Hernandez scored when Ehlers and James Boone singled.
The Tigers extended their lead to 7-0 in the fourth off Ehlers’ three-run home run. Missouri scored two more in the fifth when Laskowksi singled and added runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
Le Moyne’s Tom Warner hit a pinch-hit, two-RBI home run in the eighth and the Dolphins mustered another run in the ninth.
Dolphin pitcher Alan Drechsler, who entered 10-0 with a 2.80 ERA, didn’t last through the second inning. He was pulled after pitching 1 2/3 innings, surrendering four earned runs, four hits and four walks. Le Moyne used four other pitchers to finish the game.
“We worked the count to our favor and he was kind of wild at the beginning of the day,” Ehlers said. “That set the tone for the whole offense.”