With sunny skies and temperatures near 70 degrees, Sunday afternoon was a fine day to take a walk in Columbia.
The Eastern Michigan baseball team seemed to agree.
The Eagles’ pitching staff walked 11 Missouri batters and hit five more with pitches in their 14-4 loss to the Tigers at Taylor Stadium.
“When you’re given 16 baserunners, it’s kind of hard to lose,” Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said.
Half of Missouri’s runs were scored by players who reached base via the walk or a hit-by-pitch.
Eastern Michigan starting pitcher Matt Onderlinde (0-3) struggled with his control all day. He walked four batters and hit three.
Roger Coryell, coach of the 3-8 Eagles, tried to offer him counsel on the mound, but his left-hander was unreceptive.
Coryell sauntered out of the dugout to talk to Onderlinde in the second inning after his wildness had put him in a jam.
A hit batsman and two walks had loaded the bases with one out. How did Onderlinde respond to his coach’s advice?
He threw a ball to the screen on the next pitch.
The wild pitch to Trevor Helms scored Missouri’s first run of the afternoon. Helms singled home another in the at-bat, tying the game at 2.
Missouri (9-4) broke the game open in the fifth with strong hitting.
“Everybody just started being a lot more disciplined at the plate,” left fielder Hunter Mense said. “Everybody seemed like they were getting good swings.”
The Tigers scored seven runs and collected six hits in the inning, while sending 13 men to the plate. They did not make an out until Helms, the ninth batter of the inning, grounded out to third base.
Jamieson was happy to see his team do well against left-handed pitching. Four of the five pitchers Eastern Michigan used in the game were southpaws.
“We’ve struggled against left-handed pitchers in the last three or four starts against us,” Jamieson said. “I thought that we had a lot of good at-bats.”
In the dugout after the game, a few Tigers wondered about the fate of their basketball counterparts.
Their game had started an hour before tip-off at Mizzou Arena.
The public address system at the stadium played the last few minutes of the radio broadcast on KFRU/1400 AM.
Missouri starting pitcher Erik Dessau (3-1) said the team’s focus was solely on matters of the diamond until the game ended.
“During the game you’ve got to worry about what’s going on out here,” he said. “It’s always tough to get 27 outs.”