Mizzou's season ends at the hands of Louisville
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Mizzou baseball team saw its season come to an end as it lost an elimination game of the NCAA Tournament Tucson Regional, 10-3, to third-seeded Louisville on Sunday afternoon at Hi Corbett Field. The Tigers fell behind early but had cut the lead to 4-3 before Louisville put up a three-run sixth inning to put the game out of reach. Senior Dusty Ross was tagged with the loss as he made his first start of the season and gave up four earned runs in just 2.2 innings.
The Tigers were led at the plate by Eric Garcia, who went 2-for-5 with a pair of two-out RBI while left fielder Scott Sommerfeld also had a good day, going 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Blake Brown also had a nice day with a pair of hits in the loss. The loss ends the Tigers season as they finish 2012 with a 33-28 overall record, a Big 12 Tournament Championship and their eighth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 10 seasons.
Louisville got to Ross early in the game as he allowed a single and a stolen base to two-hole hitter Adam Engel. He was then singled in by Cole Sturgeon to put the Cardinals on top, 1-0. Then back-to-back singles and an error by Dane Opel in right field then led to two more runs as Louisville took a 3-0 lead out of the top of the first inning. The Cardinals put up five hits on Ross in the first inning.
Brown tallied a one-out single in the bottom of the first – his third of the regional - and then stole a base to try and get the Tigers going. Conner Mach then battled to draw a walk, bringing in Dane Opel with two on, two out. But he popped up to short to leave a pair of Tiger runners stranded on the base paths.
Ross settled in with a 1-2-3 inning in the second and the Tigers got one run back in the bottom of the frame. Andreas Plackis and Scott Sommerfeld tallied back-to-back one-out singles and then Garcia delivered a big two out hit to score Plackis on a blooper into left field. Brown then struck out to end the inning, leaving two men on base.
Louisville then answered in the top of the third, scoring a run on a sacrifice fly off the bat off Stewart Ijames. That made the score 4-1 in favor of the Cardinals and that ended Ross’ day in favor of Jeff Emens. He then retired the side to send the game to the bottom of the third in which the Tigers went in order. Mach was ejected after arguing balls and strikes in the third inning and was replaced by Gavin Stark at third base in the fourth inning.
Emens worked around a leadoff bunt single in the fourth to get the next three batters to retire the side. Mizzou then put runners on first and second for the third time in four innings in the fourth after a double by Plackis and a hit a batter by Louisville starter Chad Green as he plunked Scott Sommerfeld. Second baseman Dillon Everett then singled to right field, but Plackis was gunned at the plate for the second out of the inning. Instead of having bases loaded, one out, the Tigers had runners first and second for Garcia.
He then delivered his second RBI single of the day, driving in Sommerfeld to cut the Louisville lead to 4-2. Brown then walked to load the bases and Ben Turner gave a 2-1 pitch a pretty good ride toward the gap in right center, but it was caught for the third out, sending the game to the fifth inning.
The Tigers added another run on an RBI single by Sommerfeld in the fifth inning, giving the Tigers another two-out RBI in the game as all three at that point had been driven in with two outs in the game. But Louisville answered in the sixth with an RBI single by Sturgeon to put Louisville back up by two at 5-3. Then a two-out triple by Ty Young off of Emens put the game out of reach as Louisville took a 7-3 lead. The Tigers nearly had the third out on a pickoff at first base, but Plackis dropped the ball at first base on the low throw.
Mizzou attempted to rally in the sixth, putting two men on, but a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Stark ended the threat. Louisville then added another run in the top of the eighth on a sacrifice fly off of Jake Walsh as it took an 8-3 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning. Brown singled in the eighth with two outs but Turner grounded out to end the frame.
The Cardinals added three more runs in the top of the ninth and Mizzou got a pinch-hit single to lead off the ninth from Brannon Champagne. But Opel, McGraw and Plackis went 1-2-3 after that, ending the season.