Mocking “S-E-C!” chants filled the air of Grand Canyon University Ballpark after Mike Coletta struck out swinging to end Missouri’s game Sunday afternoon.
As members of the Southeastern Conference, Missouri isn’t expected to lose 10-3 to GCU, a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
Yet Missouri lost three of four games in the series, starting the season 1-3.
Pitching was subpar for the Tigers. Only two of Missouri’s eight hurlers managed more than 2 innings of work, and the majority of the rest failed to make three outs. The pitchers handed out eight walks, which turned into seven earned runs.
Missouri’s three errors gave the GCU offense three more unearned runs. Tiger infielders, including catcher Tre Morris, made several mental errors that didn’t appear in the stat book. Missouri fielders’ poor throws to first landed balls in the dirt, allowing runners to advance and runs to score. The team has for the past few years prided itself on its stingy defense, but its play on Sunday did not reflect that reputation.
“We have a lot of work to do and a long way to go based on our performance this week,” Missouri coach Steve Bieser said in a news release.
Two of the Tigers’ three runs came off the bat of redshirt senior Brandt Belk. The first baseman hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning which scored Andrew Keefer, who doubled earlier in the inning. Those were the Tigers’ only two extra-base hits.
GCU, on the other hand, lit up the stat book just like it had all weekend. The Lopes put up nine hits, adding runs here and there throughout the game. The pitching staff again deftly handled the slogging Missouri offense, with Carter Young getting the win.