By John Guminski
Editor’s note: This story has been changed to correct errors in the retelling of the scoring. KBIA regrets the error.
Missouri’s bats did the talking Sunday afternoon, as the Tigers defeated the No. 19 Florida Gators by a score of 8-2.
The Tigers have struggled at the beginning of SEC play, going 5-13 against their new rivals.
The hitters were locked in at the plate from the beginning. Sophomore outfielder Logan Pearson launched the first pitch of the Tiger offense over the right field fence, the first of 14 hits for the Tigers in their victory. Missouri added another run in first inning with a Dylan Kelly RBI single.
The game remained scoreless heading to the fifth inning after reliever Jake Walsh was called upon by coach Tim Jamieson in the top of the fourth. The Gators had runners on second and third with nobody out, but Walsh was able to get out of the jam unscathed. Walsh pitched 3 2/3 innings and was rewarded with the victory. His only blemish came on a fifth inning home run by Florida’s catcher Taylor Gushue.
In the sixth inning, Keaton Steele was hit by a pitch. Kelly then moved him over with a single through the left side of the diamond. Florida’s third basemen Zack Powers misplayed a ball at the hot corner on the next play, allowing Steele to score. Kelly came around on a Scott Sommerfeld fielder’s choice to extend the Tiger lead to 4-1.
From the sixth inning through the eighth, the Tigers managed to continue to score runs at a consistent clip. In the seventh, Case Munson extended his on-base streak to 17 games with a single to right-center and Dane Opel followed that with a gap-seeking triple that scored Munson. Once again, Kelly was there for another single and another RBI as that drove home Opel.
Kelly, or “DK” as his teammates call him, finished with three hits and two RBIs. He leads the team with a .328 batting average.
In the eighth inning, back to back triples by Dillon Everett and Drew Pearson extended the lead to 8-1. The Gators picked up an extra tally in the ninth on a fielder’s choice.
The Tigers’ game at home against on Tuesday against Murray State has been canceled due to expected rain. It will not be rescheduled. Wednesday against Missouri State 6 p.m., which is a make-up from last week’s rainout.