The only bright spot in the offense was Gavin Stark's (30) home run, the first of his career.
Rob Zastryzny pitched eight innings, giving up three runs off of 124 pitches
Story by Kevin Donnellan
Photos by Gary Cotton
Defense dominated Missouri lost the first of their three-game Big 12 conference series against Baylor Thursday evening, with Baylor coming out on top, 3-1. Missouri is now 3-4 in conference play.
The game provided only two scoring innings, with the Bears’ three runs in the sixth trumping the Tigers’ single run in the third.
A large part of Baylor’s success was due to pitcher Josh Turley who threw 61 strikes from only 88 pitches in his eight and one-third innings on the mound. Missouri coach Tim Jamieson felt that the Tiger batters did not adjust enough to a strong pitcher.
“He’s pitching away and you gotta make adjustments physically and we didn’t do it, and that’s why we’re hitting ground balls, soft ground balls,” Jamieson said.
Those soft ground balls resulted in three double plays for the Bears. Junior Gavin Stark acknowledged that Baylor second baseman Lawton Langford seemed to always be in the right place at the right time.
“It is frustrating especially when we’re hitting the ball hard to the second baseman. That’s what our approach is supposed to be, hard on the right side and it goes right at him, it’s frustrating,” Stark said. “We’ll just have to work through it.”
There was some consolation for Stark who hit his first career home run in the third inning, sending the ball into the home bullpen in left field.
“It felt pretty good, starting to get comfortable up there,” Stark said. “I was ahead in the count, he threw a fastball…Got lucky, got the exact pitch I was looking for.”
That gave the Tigers a 1-0 lead that they held until the sixth inning. Then starting pitcher Rob Zastryzny gave up three hits and two walks to allow Baylor tie through a single from Dan Evatt before a Jake Miller double gave the Bears the two run lead they never lost. Zastryzny was frustrated with the walks that came in that crucial inning.
“When a game gets too fast you start walking people. I just changed my approach, I was throwing balls trying to get people out instead of just letting them get themselves out,” Zastryzny said. “Like I said walks is what killed me today.”
Jamieson agreed with his starting pitcher’s analysis.
“The walks, we walked five guys, you can’t do that on Friday nights (sic).” Jamieson said.
Defense got back on top after that and Zastryzny regained his composure to pitch eight full innings before Dusty Ross came in to close.
The game briefly threatened to burst into life at the bottom of the ninth when singles from Garcia, Brown and Champagne loaded the bases with one out. But Scott Sommerfeld’s hit was caught in right field then Conner Mach grounded out to end the game.
Sophomore Zastryzny believe that Missouri’s luck will turn.
“Games will start to roll our way it’s bound to,” he said. “We’ll start catching breaks, we just haven’t been catching any lately.”
The series continues at Taylor Stadium Friday at 6 p.m before concluding Saturday at 11 a.m.