Missouri sophomore Josh Lester walks to the dugout after the final out was recorded on Sunday, May 4, at Taylor Stadium in Columbia, Mo. Lester finished 0-for-2 in Missouri’s 3-1 loss to Vanderbilt.
Story by Caroline Hecker
Photos by Erik Hall
The Missouri Tigers didn’t have much luck against the No. 9 Vanderbilt Commodores this weekend.
Vanderbilt swept the Tigers on the weekend and Sunday’s 3-1 loss dropped the Tigers to 20-27 overall and 6-18 in conference play.
Tiger pitcher Keaton Steele pitched his first ever complete game, holding the Commodores scoreless through the final six innings.
The game on Sunday, May 4, 2014 marked Steele’s first start for Missouri this season. The team has suffered the loss of three pitchers in the last few weeks. Most notably, John Miles during Saturday’s game, who left after two innings with pain in his bicep.
Coach Tim Jamieson said Miles had an MRI and the team hopes to get the results on Monday.
“I think there may be a nerve issue, because he has some tingling in his pinky and ring finger,” Jamieson said. “But until we see the results we won’t know for sure. It could have been a lot worse. Hopefully, that’s all it is.”
The Tigers had 5 hits, led by catcher Dylan Kelly (2-4). Missouri’s only run came off a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the fourth inning.
“I thought we had some good at bats, we hit some balls hard and made some plays on them,” Jamieson said. “I can’t fault our hitters in terms of their effort or approach, we just weren’t good enough.”
Steele tied his season high strikeout count with 7, and retired 10 of 11 batters from the third to the sixth inning.
“I just tried to go in there and approached it like I would closing, which is just attack, attack, attack,” he said. “My job is to throw first pitch strikes and that’s what I was doing.”
Some excitement erupted from the dugout in the top of the fourth inning, when Missouri assistant coach Kerrick Jackson was ejected from the game for arguing.
“It gave them a little boost,” Jamieson said. “Everybody got some adrenaline pumping.”
The loss is the ninth straight conference loss and the third loss in a row for the Tigers.
“We’re falling short, and we’re playing good teams that are one, better than us, or two, playing better than us,” Jamieson said. “I can’t question their heart right now, they’re competing.”
The Tigers travel to South Carolina to face the No. 7 Gamecocks this weekend. This will be the third conference series in a row where Missouri faces a top-10 ranked opponent.
“These guys will respond, I just want to make sure the seniors finish the right way, I don’t want them to start thinking about the end when we’re not at the end yet,” Jamieson said. “Those five guys still need to come out, play hard, and lead us.”
Missouri starting pitcher Keaton Steele delivers a pitch in the fifth inning against Vanderbilt. Steele pitched a complete game allowing three runs on seven hits with one walk and seven strikeouts.
Missouri third baseman Ryan Howard and Vanderbilt’s Xavier Turner look to third base umpire Darren Spagnardi as he rules Turner safe at third base in the eighth inning. Turner advanced on a ground ball by Bryan Reynolds.
Missouri freshman Ryan Howard (8) receives congratulations in the dugout after scoring a run in the fourth inning. Howard scored on a bases-loaded walk by Dillon Everett.