By Caroline Hecker
Inclement weather wasn’t enough to stop the Missouri baseball team from getting off to a solid start to the 2014 season. Despite last minute travel changes sending the Tigers to Louisiana instead of Florida, the team put together wins against Southern Mississippi, 4-2, and Chicago State, 6-3. The loss was to McNeese State, 3-2.
The 2-1 start is an improvement over last season, when the Tigers started out the season 0-6.
The Tigers traveled to the McNeese State Invite in Lake Charles, La., after traveling through harsh weather made it inadvisable to travel to Jacksonville, Fla., for the UNF Best Bet Classic.
The bullpen made its presence known this weekend, combining for 11 strikeouts, one walk and two hits allowed in 12 2/3 innings. Additionally, Missouri relievers kept opponents scoreless throughout all three games. The bullpen struck out 20 batters through three games and allowed just four walks. It boasts a 2.42 ERA in 26 innings pitched. Ryan Phillips claimed both victories for the Tigers.
Keaton Steele, named to the 2013 first-team All-SEC, lived up to his name. Steele had two saves, two strikeouts and one walk in his three innings of action this weekend. The two saves match his total from last season.
Missouri seniors also helped pave the way for a successful opening weekend. Catcher Dylan Kelly and Josh Lester both scored twice, with Kelly adding an RBI. Shane Segovia leaves opening weekend with a .625 batting average, one RBI and three runs scored.
The Tigers will be back on the road for a weekend tournament in Winston-Salem, N.C. The squad will face the Radford Highlanders on Friday morning (11 a.m.), Wake Forest on Saturday (3 p.m.), and Cincinnati on Sunday (11 a.m.). All times are Central time.