Everything went right for Missouri on Saturday when they beat Mississippi Valley State on Saturday 19-2. The Tigers could not have asked for more.
The team got a little help from Mississippi Valley State’s three errors and sub-par pitching. And while on defense, the Tigers were stunning.
In the top of the second, senior left fielder Zane Taylor dove headfirst to make an amazing catch that ended the inning and saved a run. In the next inning, sophomore third baseman Brock Bond snatched a line drive and then zoomed the ball to first base for the double play.
It seemed Mississippi Valley State could have hit a ball to the moon and a Tiger defender would have been there to catch it.
The Delta Devils did not hit the ball much of anywhere, though.
Junior ace Max Scherzer took the start for the first time since April 8. He shut down Mississippi Valley State for five innings. He faced a little trouble in the sixth when two runs scored, but he managed to finish the inning. He struck out seven and walked two.
“It was nice to have him out there,” coach Tim Jamieson said. “We wanted him to go six innings and get around 80 or 90 pitches.”
Scherzer has had injury problems for most of the season. He suffered tendonitis in his right biceps in March, and the team has been careful about using him. He said that all the medical problems have been taken care of and that he felt good about the game.
“It was nice to start, no matter who it was against,” Scherzer said. “Everything felt good.”
After Scherzer left the mound, three relievers finished the game without any problems. Redshirt freshman Brant Combs, junior Brett Reynolds, and freshman David Coles did not allow any runs for the final three innings.
Offensively, the Tigers’ stagnant bats woke up. After a good performance on Friday night, when Missouri beat Mississippi Valley State 12-1, the team got hits at the right time. The Tigers had 10 batters who with RBIs. In the second inning, the Tigers scored more runs, 11, than could be put on the scoreboard in left field.
“It is always great to have run support,” Scherzer said.
The Tigers had two players hit home runs. Sophomore Brock Bond hit a solo home run his first time up, and freshman Kyle Mach got his first career home run in the eighth inning.
“It is really good to get that first one,” Mach said.
Missouri has one more game with Mississippi Valley at 1 p.m. today. After that, it will face a tough stretch that leads up to the Big 12 Conference Tournament. As of May 1, the Tigers (12-12) seventh in the Big 12 standings and only the top eight make the tournament. Missouri must play Texas Tech (6-13-1) in Lubbock, Texas and then host Texas (19-4). The Tigers will need to play well to assure themselves life in the playoffs.
“We have nine games left and we can still move up,” Jamieson said. “It is something to play for.”