Story by Caroline Hecker
Photos by Erik Hall
Corrections: Missouri’s opponent was Southern Mississippi, not Mississippi State. The caption of a photo incorrectly identifies the player making a put-out. The correct player is Southern Mississippi’s Nick Dawson. KBIA Sports regrets the errors.
The Missouri Tigers committed six errors and were held to four hits in Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Southern Mississippi.
The Tigers came into Sunday’s matchup already having clenched the series, recording victories over Southern Miss on Friday (4-1) and Saturday (6-4).
“We didn’t really have that killer instinct you need after winning two games,” coach Tim Jamieson said. “We played as poorly as you can play and still be in the game.”
Missouri junior Brett Peel leads off first base as a pinch runner while Southern Mississippi relief pitcher Bradley Roney delivers a pitch in the ninth inning Sunday, March 9, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. It was Peel’s first game since breaking a bone in his left hand Feb. 15, 2014.
Missouri relief pitcher Austin Tribby delivers a pitch during the fifth inning on Sunday, March 9, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. Tribby entered the game with the bases loaded and recorded two outs without allowing a run.
Missouri sophomore Josh Lester is tagged out attempting to steal second base by Southern Mississippi second baseman Nick Dawson on Sunday, March 9, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. Southern Mississippi beat Missouri 2-1.
The Tigers saw a solid start from pitcher Eric Anderson, who pitched four innings and recorded four strikeouts; the most Anderson has had since Feb. 24, 2012. Anderson also batted in the leadoff spot, the first time ever a pitcher has been at the top of the order under Jamieson. He extended his team-leading six-game hitting streak despite the loss.
“Honestly today wasn’t our best baseball,” Anderson said. “Mentally we were sloppy, sloppy at the plate, and I’m not to thrilled about how I pitched.”
The sixth inning proved troublesome for Missouri. An error by shortstop Ryan Howard resulted in Southern Mississippi’s Bradley Roney reaching first base. During the next at-bat, in an attempt to pick off Roney, Missouri pitcher Griffin Goodrich overthrew first baseman Kendall Keeton, collecting the error and advancing Roney to second base.
“We made great plays to save runs, but overall we played very poorly defensively,” Jamieson said. “The plays we made errors on were fairly routine.”
Despite committing six errors, the Tiger bullpen minimized the damage.
“I think we did great,” Anderson said. “Our pitching staff was resilient and we battled. We didn’t make it easy for them and we got out of a lot of jams. Our bullpen should be proud of how we performed.”
Missouri senior Dillon Everett follows through on a swing during the second inning Sunday, March 9, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. Everett batted 0-for-2 Sunday.
Missouri’s Josh Lester is called out at second base on a steal attempt following the tag from Southern Mississippi second baseman Nick Dawson in the bottom of the first inning on Sunday, March 9, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. Lester had reached first base on an error.
Missouri baseball players Jake Ivory (21), Ryan Howard (8), Keaton Steele (29) and Kendall Keeton (front) walk off the field after a 2-1 loss to Southern Mississippi on Sunday, March 9, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. Missouri’s record falls to 6-7 overall.
Errors weren’t the only challenge the Tigers faced. Quiet bats at the plate stalled Missouri’s attempts to rally.
“We gave away too many at-bats, too many non-competitive swings,” Jamieson said.
Keeton and Anderson both recorded a single, while infielder Zach Lavy collected two hits. Lavy’s single in the bottom of the third inning was only Missouri’s second base runner of the game, after infielder Josh Lester reached first base on an error in the bottom of the second.
The Tigers failed to capitalize in the bottom of the third after Lavy was picked off at first.
“The pick-off was a mental error, he just didn’t react,” Jamieson said.
The Golden Eagles’ starter Cameron Giannini pitched a shutout into the eighth inning and gave up only one unearned run.
With the loss Missouri falls to 6-7 and will now look toward its upcoming weekday series against Alcorn State. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday and 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Taylor Stadium.
“It’s disappointing because the thing we wanted to do was come out of this weekend and have a pretty good idea before conferences games get started, Jamieson said. “But with today’s infielding, we’re kind of back to square one.”