Missouri baseball lets four-run lead slip away

By Erik Hall

COLUMBIA — Missouri right-hander Peter Fairbanks threw 12 pitches in the 11th inning. Only three of the pitches were strikes, and Mississippi State took advantage.

The Bulldogs scored two 11th-inning runs and the Tigers had little response.

Mississippi State completed the three-game sweep of Missouri with Sunday’s 9-7 win in 11 innings.

“They’re a better bullpen than we were,” Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said on KTGR radio after the game.

Mississippi State trailed 7-3 after six innings but responded to force two extra frames. Missouri went to its bullpen to start the seventh inning, and the bullpen allowed six runs on nine hits in five innings.

“I don’t feel very good about it,” Jamieson said of the bullpen in his postgame press conference. “We gave up too many runs.”

Fairbanks took the loss. Right-hander Ben Bracewell was the winning pitcher for Mississippi State.

It is the sixth loss for the Missouri’s bullpen of the team’s 12 SEC losses. Missouri is 0-3 in extra-inning games.

“We’re having trouble finding a way to win,” Missouri starting pitcher Eric Anderson said.

The loss drops Missouri to 17-21 overall and 6-12 in the SEC.

Fairbanks encountered a tough situation when he entered in the ninth inning. Mississippi State just tied the game and had two runners on base with one out.

Fairbanks got two outs to end the ninth inning then retired four of the first five batters he faced in extra innings. But a four-pitch walk, a wild pitch and three intentional balls caused trouble. A fielder’s choice put the walked runners on second and third base. That allowed Reid Humphreys’ single to short left field to score two runs and give Mississippi State the 9-7 lead.

“When (Austin) Tribby and Breckin (Williams) don’t do it, we haven’t had anybody else do it,” Jamieson said. “Pete did a nice job when he came in there. … All we got to do is get five outs or so, and we win the ballgame.”

Tribby allowed a run pitching the first 2/3 of the seventh inning. Williams pitched the next 1 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on six hits.

The pitching struggles ruined Missouri’s offense producing a season-high seven runs and 13 hits during a home SEC game. It’s the third most runs in any SEC game and the second most hits in any SEC game.

“I thought we swung the bat really well,” Missouri freshman Ryan Howard said. “A lot of people got a lot of hits.”

Missouri junior Logan Pearson’s career day at the plate was spoiled. Pearson had career-highs of four hits and two doubles.

Howard had one double went 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs. Missouri sophomore Josh Lester also had multiple hits going 2-for-6 with two runs.

“I’m confident we will be right back in here tomorrow working hard getting ready for this week,” Howard said.

Missouri is scheduled to return to action Tuesday with a 7 p.m. game against Wichita State at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City.

“It’s tough to win,” Jamieson said. “We got to find ways to do it.”

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