Errors, Quiet Bats Cost Tigers the Sweep

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.”

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.”

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.”

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