Bats come to life in Game 2 as Missouri baseball splits Saturday doubleheader at Illinois State.

The Tigers only plated one run in the first game before all Missouri infielders recorded an RBI in a Game 2 rout.

For the second time in three weekends, Missouri baseball faltered on the mound and at the plate in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader. But just like their performance against Omaha in late February, the hitters found their groove in the second game as the Tigers split the two seven-inning matchups against Illinois State 10-1 and 12-2, respectively.

"We came out with a little fire in the second game and responded in game two,” Missouri coach Steve Bieser said. “We had swings that were going to produce good results."

Missouri put runners on base at a consistent rate — as the Tigers only had one inning without a baserunner — but Illinois State redshirt freshman right-hander Jordan Lussier’s hot pitching never allowed them to score.

In his first collegiate start, freshman right-handed pitcher Zach Hise kept pace with Lussier’s efficiency, only allowing three baserunners, none of which made it into scoring position through the first three innings.

But the game unraveled once he reached the middle of the order a second time.

After a leadoff single from Illinois State cleanup hitter Joe Butler, the senior right fielder launched a two-run homer into right before freshman center fielder Ryan Cermak followed with a solo shot of his own.

Hise finished the frame with only three runs allowed in the fourth, but the Redbirds teed off on junior southpaw Trae Robertson, junior right-hander Tommy Springer, sophomore lefty Brenner Maloney and freshman righty Holden Phelps for seven runs in the final two innings.

Robertson struck out two of his three batters before Bieser turned it over to Springer and Maloney. Both walked a batter to load the bases for Phelps, who gave up a bases-clearing double to give Illinois State an insurmountable lead.

With redshirt freshman left-hander Sean Sinisko replacing Lussier on the bump in the second game, Missouri chased the new starter quickly. Sinisko surrendered six runs in 2 1/3 innings as the game was in Missouri’s hands early.

Missouri scored runs in the first five innings as all four infielders — sophomore first baseman Torin Montgomery, senior second baseman Mark Vierling, junior shortstop Joshua Day and junior third baseman Cameron Swanger — recorded RBI in the early innings.

Similar to two weekends ago, when Missouri beat Omaha 10-1, the offense provided enough early run support for redshirt sophomore right-hander Seth Halvorsen to pitch with confidence and hold the big lead with ease.

The 2018 Minnesota “Mr. Baseball” threw five innings, struck out seven batters and allowed just two hits. Halvorsen didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning as he walked six Redbirds and worked around the baserunners with timely strikeouts and harmless grounders.

Similar to the home series two weekends ago against Omaha, the Tigers have a chance to win their first series of the year this afternoon.

Edited by Kyle Pinnell | kpinnell@themaneater.com

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