With its strong finish in the regular season, the Missouri baseball team came into the Big 12 Conference Tournament feeling confident about its prospects for a postseason berth. Because of the finish, coach Tim Jamieson said this week’s action serves only as a tune-up for the imminent regional tournament.
However, the Tigers’ hot streak stalled in Wednesday’s 7-2 loss to Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. Now, it appears that Missouri’s engine is due for a check-up.
Missouri stranded 14 runners and was unable to capitalize on five Sooners errors. Those statistics, coupled with shaky performances by starter Stephan Holst (2-2) and reliever Kyle Gibson, led to Missouri’s first loss in 10 days. Though his team’s lackluster effort hints otherwise, Jamieson said his team wasn’t looking ahead to next week’s regionals.
“I think they (the Tigers) were focused,” Jamieson said. “You’ve just got to give credit to Oklahoma’s pitching.”
After giving up two runs in four innings pitched, Oklahoma starter Joseph Hughes gave way to Heath Taylor (9-3), who pitched around five walks in four scoreless innings. Because of those walks, Missouri had numerous scoring opportunities, yet the Tigers were only able to muster one hit in 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
“We had people on base,” Jamieson said. “A couple of hits here and there, and we’re in the game.”
The loss doesn’t end the Tigers’ chances of a Big 12 Championship. With two more games left, Missouri still has the opportunity to win its pool. According to the Big 12 Web site, if Missouri finishes tied with one team for the pool lead, the team with a better head-to-head record will advance. In the event that it finishes tied with more than one team for the pool lead, Missouri will automatically advance to the championship because of its higher finish in conference play.
Missouri faces Baylor at 4:30 p.m. on Friday at the Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
NOTES: Missouri’s game, originally slated for a 5 p.m. first pitch, didn’t begin until 6:52 p.m. The Nebraska-Texas A&M opener finished in three hours and 10 minutes, and the Texas-Kansas State game took 3:44, with the final out occurring just before 6 p.m. Missouri’s game ended around 9:45 p.m., pushing the start of the Oklahoma State-Baylor game back two and a half hours from its planned starting time.
Scores from Wednesday
Nebraska 5, Texas A&M 3
Texas 19, Kansas State 10
Oklahoma 7, Missouri 2