Zimmermann leads Tigers to winning record during wild weekend in Houston

Missouri defeated No. 22 Oklahoma and Texas by scores of 8-7 (10) and 9-8, respectively
Junior RHP Ian Bedell threw 7 strikeouts in 6.1 innings in a 4-2 loss against Baylor at Minute Made Park. | Photo courtesy of Twitter via @MizzouBaseball.

St. Louis native and Chaminade high school graduate Peter Zimmermann, Missouri’s designated hitter, knew it was gone the instant he hit it.

Zimmermann, a righty, spiked his bat into the left-handed batters’ box and watched his masterpiece, which was a baseball flying over the yellow home run line and into the seats just to the right of Houston’s famed Crawford Boxes in the fifth inning against Texas on Sunday afternoon. Missouri would go onto win the finale of its trip to the 2020 Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic.

That home run was one of the senior’s six hits in two victories, including a walk-off double that capped off a comeback that erased a 5-0 deficit against Oklahoma. He was the main reason the Tigers were able to leave Minute Maid Park, the home of the Houston Astros, with a 2-1 record — the only loss coming to Baylor by a score of 4-2 on Friday — and head back to Columbia for this Friday’s home opener at 6-5.

The play of Zimmermann, lefty first baseman Brandt Belk (a transfer from Pepperdine, who contributed six hits of his own in the two victories), and the rest of the Tigers’ bats were enough to overcome some erratic pitching. Against Oklahoma, Missouri sent pitcher Konnor Ash to the hill and he allowed five runs (three earned) over four innings of work. Ash didn’t get help from his defense, which couldn’t catch them all in the second inning, but he did issue five walks.

Ash not being able to find the strike zone was rendered meaningless when third baseman Luke Mann finally tied it up in the eighth, with a single that brought Zimmermann home. The Tigers’ relievers held firm from there until the bottom of the tenth when Zimmermann drove in McDaniel on a blast to right center that flew over the outfielders’ heads and ended the ballgame.

The next day, freshman and Rock Bridge graduate Spencer Miles made his first career start and fared quite well through four innings, showcasing a plus slider and decent control, but ran into trouble in the fifth. He allowed the first two runners on before being replaced by southpaw Art Joven, who proceeded to throw six straight balls before being replaced himself.

The last ball hit Texas’ Zach Zubia in the foot, which sent home the second run of the inning.

Missouri was able to hold off Texas’s comeback effort, thanks in large part to 3.2 solid innings from reliever Shane Wilhelm (W, 1-0) and an unearned insurance run in the top of the ninth. The Tigers’ 11-batter, five-hit, five-run outburst in the sixth gave them the lead for good, but the game would have gone to extras without some wild throws by Texas in the final frame.

Specifically, Missouri outfielder Jackson Lancaster stole second, where he was awaited by a throw in the dirt that got away. It allowed Belk to come home from third, and the throw to try to get him was also off the line, which scored the ninth Tiger run of the contest. It was enough for closer Trey Dillard (S, 2) to shut it down in the bottom half of the inning and seal the game for Missouri.

The Tigers, after nearly a month away from Taylor Stadium, finally come home on Friday where they’ll butt heads with Western Illinois. They play three games against the amazingly-named Fighting Leathernecks before hosting Northern Illinois for two more, then setting off on the road again to face the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Edited by Eli Hoff | ehoff@themaneater.com

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