Missouri picks up 7-0 win after strong pitching by Spencer Miles and a big ninth-inning rally

After zero total runs in eight innings, Missouri’s offense woke up with seven runs in the final frame.

Coming off a loss and overall poor performance last Friday against Dallas Baptist, Missouri starting pitcher Spencer Miles entered Friday’s matchup against Illinois State with redemption in mind.

Miles turned in the best start of his career, going seven innings and only gave up two hits. He also struck out six batters, leading his squad to a 7-0 victory.

It was Miles’ fourth start of the season, as he looks to be cemented atop the Tiger pitching rotation. This is also going to be Miles’ last appearance before SEC play starts in a week. He is currently lined up to pitch in a week, in the conference opener against Kentucky.

Unfortunately for Miles, Missouri’s offense couldn't get him any runs during the first eight innings, so he wasn’t credited with the win.

Instead, it went to junior pitcher Jacob Kush, who pitched first in relief for the Tigers, and he didn’t allow a single base runner during one and one third inning.

Sophomore Shane Wilhelm retired the final two Redbirds and put the final bow on the excellent job by Missouri pitchers. This performance was needed, especially since Tiger hitters were being shut down by a pitcher themselves.

Illinois State starting pitcher Colton Johnson impressed against Missouri on Friday night, striking out 12 batters through his eight innings of work.

The only problem is that there are nine innings in baseball, not eight.

With Johnson’s pitch count at 117, the Tigers quickly pounced on the opportunity. Redbirds’ coach Steve Holm turned to sophomore Derek Salata.

The inning started with back-to-back singles by senior infielder Mark Vierling and senior outfielder Brandt Belk. With two runners on and no outs, coach Steve Bieser gave Joshua Day the bunt sign.

Day executed the play perfectly, laying down the bunt right at the third baseman Joe Butler. After fielding it cleanly, there was just a slight hesitation on the throw, completely altering the whole infielder rotation.

Butler threw the ball wildly toward first base, the ball got away, leading to Vierling scoring all the way from second.

Senior outfielder Jackson Lancaster smacked the first big hit for Missouri on the day, doubling down the right field line to bring in one insurance run.

The nail in the coffin came off the bat of junior catcher Mike Coletta, who crushed a ball to deep left-center that got down for a bases-clearing double, which gave the Tigers a 7-0.

Other than the big final inning, the Tigers struggled to create any sort of offense. Missouri totaled three hits through the first eight frames and struck out 12 times. The Tigers only managed five hits in their 2-1 win over St. Louis on Wednesday. Two games ago they again struggled offensively, scoring four runs with three of them coming off one swing by Luke Mann.

Missouri’s main source of offense comes at the inconsistency of opposing pitchers. The Tigers rank 21st nationally in total walks with 65 and seven players have five walks or more on the season.

For tomorrow’s doubleheader, Bieser turns to freshman Zach Hise, making his first career college start. Hise has been a key arm out of the bullpen for the Tigers however Bieser has mentioned he wants to move the freshman to the starting rotation.

The game two projected starter is redshirt sophomore Seth Halvorsen. Similar to Miles, Halvorsen is coming off a poor start against Oklahoma. He will also be looking for redemption.

With only three games left before SEC play, Missouri still has to figure out some things on both sides of the ball. Two straight wins under their belt will help give some momentum to the rest of the series.

Edited by Kyle Pinnell | kpinnell@themaneater.com

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