Mizzou completes sweep of Kansas State with shutout

Story by Gary Cotton

Photos by Kevin Donnellan

The third game of the Missouri and Kansas State series felt like the second. Missouri led by three runs in the top of the seventh inning, and the Wildcats remained scoreless looking to make a comeback.

It was deja vu.

Blake Brown

Blake Brown prepares to catch a fly ball hit by Blair DeBord in the ninth inning. The final out secured the shutout and the series sweep for Missouri.

Unlike the Wildcats in game two of the series, the Tigers extended their three run lead to seven in the eighth inning. The Missouri bullpen preserved the shutout in the ninth for a 7-0 victory and a sweep of Kansas State.

Coach Tim Jamieson was pleased with the performance of his team in the series. He believed his team responded well after losing three games against Oklahoma to drop their conference record to 3-9.

“I think they recognize that there’s still a lot of baseball to be played,” Jamieson said. “You can’t get it all back in one game or one weekend.”

Pitcher Brett Graves helped to get at least one back for the Tigers. The freshman allowed no runs in six and two-thirds innings.

Graves led the Tigers defense allowing four hits on 94 pitches. After struggling early, he settled in and took control from the mound.

“I was getting behind a couple guys, and I had to trust the defense,” Graves said. “As the game went on, I got more comfortable with the curveball and threw a couple of changeups.”

Graves pitched all but the first inning with a lead after a strong offensive start by the Tigers.

Brannon Champagne extended his hitting streak to 30 games in the first inning. After stealing second base, Champagne scored the first run of the game on a two RBI single by Blake Brown.

“You know what you’re going to get with (Champagne),” Brown said. “It’s great to have him there so you don’t have to think about what he’ll do.”

Brown did his job for the Tigers too. He finished the game with three hits and one run, which came in the eighth inning on a Dane Opel single.

Opel said the sweep gave the Tigers a huge confidence boost. Missouri had not swept a conference team since 2010.

“It’s been a really long time, but it just feels really good to put three consistent games together,” Opel said. “I feel that everyone on the team, one through nine, they all did their job and put that together.”

Missouri will start a six game road trip on Wednesday with a non-conference game against Missouri State at 6:30 p.m. in Springfield, Mo.

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