Home runs lead Auburn to a 3-1 victory over Mizzou

Text by John Guminski

Photos by Zach Garcia

Auburn starting pitcher Conner Kendrick throws a pitch during the fifth inning of Auburn’s 3-1 win at Taylor Stadium on Friday April 26, 2013.

Auburn starting pitcher Conner Kendrick throws a pitch during the fifth inning of Auburn’s 3-1 win at Taylor Stadium on Friday April 26, 2013.

Starting pitcher Rob Zastryzny knows that he is the person to blame when things go wrong.

“He didn’t get a hold of me, I let him get a hold of me.” Zastryzny said.

Zastryznyis referring to Auburn’s first basemen Garrett Cooper, who hit the second of his two solo home runs on an 0-2 breaking ball that was over the middle of the plate.

Zastryzny allowed three runs while striking out eleven batters, but the home runs were the difference maker in the 2-run loss

“You can make any hitter good and that’s what I did today.” Zastryzny continued. “I’ll take this one on me. It’s really frustrating and knowing this was a team we needed to beat to we needed to beat to get to the tournament, it hurts a little more. I’m sure Brett Graves will pick me up tomorrow because that’s what he does.”

Missouri entered the weekend one game behind the Auburn Tigers in the Southeastern Conference standings. Unlike the Big 12 Conference, not all teams make the postseason tournament and Missouri will need to pass teams like Auburn if they want to make the trip to Alabama in May.

Missouri went 0-7 with runners in scoring position. Coach Tim Jamieson accredited Auburn starter Conner Kendrick to the lack of offense.  “He made tougher pitches to hit when he had runners in scoring position. Our approach wasn’t bad; I thought he made really good pitches in those situations.

The Tigers’ biggest chance came in the third inning. Missouri loaded the bases with one out, but Auburn catcher Blake Austin picked off Dane Opel at first. Keaton Steele struck out to end the threat.

Jamieson thought the pickoff was a turning point in the game.

“It changed how they could pitch Steele and it changed how they played the rest of the inning. It was a very big play,” Jamieson said.

The only run for Missouri came on a Keaton Steele second inning home run. The blast tied the game at one.

Steele attributes his power to a change of approach at the plate.

“I’m just starting to grasp it, what pitch I can hit. He has to beat me, I don’t have to beat him,” Steel said.

Case Munson’s on-base streak came into an end after 18 games. The two teams will play again Saturday at 2 p.m. at Taylor Stadium.

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