Zagone’s career day leads Tigers

The left-handed MU pitcher was only two outs from a no-hitter.
Sunday, April 8, 2007 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:34 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 12, 2008

One day after finding itself on the wrong side of a 12-0 thumping by Kansas State (22-9, 4-4 Big 12), the Missouri baseball team’s offense continued to struggle Saturday, managing only three runs off of six hits in support of starter Rick Zagone. But, thanks to Zagone’s nearly perfect day, one run would have been enough to secure the win.

Zagone came within two outs of a no-hitter in a dominant, one-hit shutout that Missouri won 3-0. The sophomore lefthander walked four and recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts to keep his season record perfect at 6-0 in what coach Tim Jamieson called a “tremendous” performance.

“We’ve had trouble scoring runs this weekend, so Rick knew he had to be good,” Jamieson said. “He got better as the game went on.”

After Missouri’s (23-9, 5-3) rough outing Friday, in which Jamieson used four bullpen pitchers in addition to No. 1 starter Aaron Crow, Zagone’s complete game also gave the bullpen an extra day’s rest. Zagone threw 137 pitches in his second complete game in his last three starts, but Jamieson said he believes the team’s No. 2 starter can handle the extra work.

“His pitch count was a little higher than I usually like it, but he can handle it,” Jamieson said. “After yesterday’s loss, we needed to be good today. And now we’ve given ourselves an opportunity to win another series.”

Senior John McKee ended what had been a 15-inning scoring drought for the Tigers in the seventh inning when he connected for his fourth home run of the year. Later in the same inning, junior Lee Fischer drove in two more runs with a single up the middle to put the Tigers up by three.

“After yesterday, I wanted to show our guys that I would keep the number of runs down and make it easier of them,” Zagone said. “There were a few tough situations, but I just tried to stick with the game plan.”

Missouri will finish its series against Kansas State this afternoon at 1 p.m. in Manhattan, Kan., before heading to St. Louis on Tuesday for one game against Saint Louis University. Missouri has yet to lose a series this season.

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