Text by John Guminski
Photos by Zach Garcia
Missouri starting pitcher Rob Zastryzny delivers a pitch during the third inning of Friday’s game against San Francisco. Zastryzny went on to throw the Missouri pitching staff’s first complete game of the season, pitching nine innings while allowing six innings and just two runs – both of which came in the first inning.Photos by Zach Garcia
Going into tonight’s game, starting pitcher Rob Zastryzny had been struggling to find his command and the numbers have shown it. His season line stood at 0-2 with an earned run average of 6.75. Heralded as the Tiger’s ace, he knew that he needed to improve.
Early on, it looked like things wouldn’t change for Rob Z. A trio of doubles had the Tigers down 2-0 in the first inning. From there on out, the Tiger’s ace pitched eight innings of scoreless baseball, allowing two hits and striking out nine.
Emotions were high and Missouri’s ace delivered.
“In my mind, I was zoned in more than I had ever been in my life,” Zastryzny said. “It was time for me to stop what I was doing. I just need to rebuild off what I did today and do it for the rest of the season.”
After throwing 25 pitches in the first inning, Zastryzny finished the game with 112, 77 for strikes. The complete game was the first for Zastryzny since April 2012 against Texas Tech. Coach Tim Jamieson was very happy with the way “Rob Z” battled.
“He was as good tonight as I have ever seen him in this program,” Jamieson said.
Zastryzny credits his ability to battle through the adversity because of the relationship with catcher Dylan Kelly.
“He may run a little weird, but he is a phenomenal teammate,” Zastryzny said.
Missouri second baseman Kendall Keeton advances from second base to score on Dylan Kelly’s single in the bottom of the fifth inning on Friday. The hit broke a 2-2 tie, giving Missouri its first lead of the game.
A great pitching performance is never complete without great defensive play. Third baseman Shane Segovia made a bare-handed desperation throw to nab a San Francisco runner on a two-out suicide squeeze attempt to keep the game tied at two in the fifth inning.
“That was a run if he doesn’t make that play,” Zastryzny said. “Once he fielded the ball, he knew he was out, because he was running off the field before the ball ever got to first base.”
The play fired up the Tiger’s dugout, which immediately responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Kelly had two hits, knocked in a run, and got hit by a pitch. Kelly also extended his on-base streak to six games.
“I feel like I’ve put in the work. I just have to keep it going,” Kelly said.
The Tigers are slated to continue their series against San Francisco Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.
Supervising editing for this story was done by Jared Jeffries
Missouri second baseman Kendall Keeton (left) dives back to first base in response to a San Francisco pickoff attempt in the bottom of the fifth inning of Friday’s game at Taylor Stadium.
San Francisco first baseman Brendan Hendriks picks a thrown ball out of the dirt to retire Missouri leadoff man Kendall Keeton in the bottom of the first inning during Missouri’s eventual 6-2 on Friday.
Missouri right fielder Dane Opel looks to the sky after popping up a pitch in the third inning of Friday’s game against San Francisco.
San Francisco second baseman Jason Mahood (left) and Missouri center fielder Logan Pearson look to the second base umpire for a ruling on Pearson’s attempted steal in the sixth inning of Friday’s game. Pearson was ruled
Keeton Steele (right) gives first base coach Dan Pietroburgo a fist bump after reaching on an error in the eighth inning of Friday’s 6-2 win over San
Missouri starting pitcher Rob Zastryzny is mobbed by teammates as he approaches the Missouri dugout after completing his eighth inning of work
against San Francisco on Friday night.