Missouri had a big day offensively Sunday at Taylor Stadium. Again. And the Tigers shut out Youngstown State. Again.
But perhaps lost in Missouri’s 17-0 blowout of the Penguins was the emergence of two additional weapons.
Senior catcher Cosme Caballero broke out of an early-season slump with a 2-for-5 day, with both hits coming in the Tigers’ 11-run second inning. Caballero had been 2-for-24 before Sunday.
“It feels good to get a couple of hits,” Caballero said. “I’ve been struggling at the plate just trying to get into a rhythm. I felt a little better today.”
Seldom-used outfielder Tyrone Roberson also had a big day, going 3-for-4 with a walk and two runs scored. Two of Roberson’s hits were on the infield, one of the benefits his speed can bring him.
“I notice that when I try to hustle, I can make certain plays that I probably couldn’t have made if I wasn’t running as hard,” Roberson said.
Roberson hit a ball deep to left field in his final at-bat. The wind held the ball up and it was caught, but Roberson was close to what would have been the second home run of his career.
Coach Tim Jamieson said starting players who don’t see much game time has its advantages.
“We’re going to need those guys,” Jamieson said. “We’ll get situations in conference where you need to make moves off the bench and those guys need to be ready.”
Missouri’s usual suspects were also out in full force. Junior outfielder James Boone continued his recent tear, going 4-for-4 with five RBI, including a three-run triple in the fourth inning. Boone, who left the game a home run short of hitting for the cycle, has 34 RBI in 16 games.
“He’s been great, but I think it’s also a reflection of how many people have been on base when he comes up,” Jamieson said.
For the second straight day, MU (12-4) blew the game open with one big inning. Saturday, a nine-run sixth inning made the score 11-0.
A day later, two costly Youngstown State (1-9) errors prolonged the second inning until the Tiger bats warmed up. Missouri had 10 hits in the inning.
Caballero poked a ball through the right side of the infield for a hit his first time up, and then drove in the 11th run of the inning with a single to left field in his next at bat.
The senior said the first hit, which was part of a hit-and-run, helped give him confidence.
“Any hit at this point, I’ll take it,” Caballero said. “Any hit amounts to something.”
After the Tigers added a run in the third and another in the fourth, Boone came up with the bases loaded and smoked the first pitch into the right-field corner for a 17-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Missouri’s starting pitcher Nathan Culp scattered eight hits, many of them on the infield, through five innings without giving up a run. The most recent time Missouri had shutouts in back-to-back games was in the 1992 season.