Tiger infielder Ryan Howard struggled offensively (0-6) in Missouri’s 2-1 loss on Friday, April 4, 2014. The Tigers will look to avenge the loss as the series continues Saturday, April 5, and Sunday April 6 at Taylor Stadium in Columbia, Mo.
Senior infielder Shane Segovia went 0-6 on the night in Missouri’s 2-1 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs on Friday, April 4, 2014. The series will continue on Saturday, April 5, and Sunday April 6 at Taylor Stadium in Columbia, Mo.
Missouri’s DH Erik Anderson scores the first run of the night in the bottom of the first inning for the Tigers in the series opener against the Georgia Bulldogs. Mizzou lost 2-1 to the Bulldogs on Friday, April 4, 2014 and Taylor Stadium in Columbia, Mo.
By Erik Hall
Photos by Caroline Hecker
Failed execution in the final innings cost the Missouri baseball team during Friday’s 2-1 loss to Georgia in 13 innings.
“Before we lose the game, we should have won the game,” Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said.
Missouri loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the 12th inning. The Tigers ended the threat with a strikeout and a groundout.
“The way they played their defense there, all you have to do is put the ball in play in the outfield, and the game is over,” Jamieson said. “The whole inning was set up to win, and we didn’t find a way to do it.”
Defensive lapses in the 13th inning sent Georgia home with the win. Georgia No. 6 hitter Daniel Nichols hit a ball to right-center field that was scored a double, but it would more accurately be called a single and defensive indifference.
Nichols did not settle for a single with his hit to the outfield. He did not stop at first base and instead kept running to second base. Missouri freshman center fielder Jake Ring was slow to get to the ball after it dropped for a hit, and middle infielders Josh Lester and Shane Segovia were not at second base when Nichols slid into the bag.
“It was great base running,” Jamieson said of Nichols. “It took advantage of a young pup in the outfield — a guy that made a great play the at bat before to take away a hit. He’ll learn from it. We still make a play after that, it doesn’t cost us. Everything adds up. Every little mistake, you leave yourself wondering.”
The next defensive play that was not made came when Georgia No. 7 hitter Stephen Wrenn grounded to third base. Missouri first baseman Kendall Keeton did not hang onto the third baseman’s throw, which allowed Nichols’ pinch runner Skyler Weber to score and put Georgia ahead 2-1.
“Stuff like that happens,” said Missouri relief pitcher Keaton Steele, who took the loss. “Kendall catches the ball 99 times out of 100, and if it does happen tomorrow, he’s going to catch it. Freak play. Freak accident.”
The error on Keaton was just his second error of the season in 266 opportunities.
Missouri’s offensive and defensive struggles came on a night that its pitching was strong.
Brett Graves pitched seven scoreless innings before allowing one earned run in the eighth inning. Graves threw 7 1/3 innings while scattering nine hits with one walk and a career-high nine strikeouts.
Steele replaced him and went the final 5 2/3 innings. Steele allowed one unearned run on three hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
But the Tigers were not taking positives in the moments after the loss.
“I definitely heard at least 10 F-bombs dropped in there. Breaking stuff in a brand new place,” Steele said referring to the team’s new clubhouse. “It’s definitely not a good mood. But let us sit in there for a while and get angry and come out tomorrow and try to fight for a win.”
Missouri drops to 13-15 overall and 3-7 in the Southeastern Conference. Georgia is 17-12 overall and 4-5-1 in the SEC.
The teams are scheduled to return to action Saturday with a 2 p.m. game before an 11 a.m. game Sunday.
“You’ve just got to get guys in the right frame of mind and try to stay positive because frustration will only get you so far, and it’s not going to make it better,” Jamieson said. “We got to come out and compete and get after it and take our best shot. We haven’t lost a series. We’ve just lost a game.”