Missouri put the Arkansas State Red Wolves through another doozy Wednesday at Taylor Stadium, tallying 14 runs in a seven-inning game. The teams’ head coaches agreed to end the contest early.
“We talked about the 10-run rule when we started off the game,” Missouri coach Steve Bieser said. “They’ve got conference play. They were not interested in hanging around very long, so they were just ready to get out of town.”
Missouri (11-5) continued its offensive tear with a 14-4 win over Arkansas State (11-7) on Wednesday. The Tigers’ bats have come alive during a five-game homestand, racking up 55 runs over the past four contests.
Konnor Ash earned the win Tuesday after recording a career-high six strikeouts and throwing 3⅓ scoreless innings.
The highlights of the night, both on the field and at the plate, came from Kameron Misner. In the top of the third, the center fielder made a diving catch with two outs to save two potential runs, a play Bieser called key to preventing a dangerous momentum shift.
“When you have somebody like Ash out there on the mound and he competes, you see that as a defensive player,” Misner said. “When he competes like that, you want to do something good for him.”
Misner continued to shine in the fourth inning, hammering a two-out grand slam over the right-field fence to put the Tigers up 10-4 and earn his fifth homer of the year. Moments later, Chad McDaniel kept things going with a two-run dinger, increasing his team-leading hitting streak to 12 games.
Mark Vierling had another clutch day in the five-hole. Down 4-0 with two outs in the first, the sophomore knocked a single that scored three runs thanks to aggressive base running from Tony Ortiz. Vierling went 2-for-3 with a run and four RBI.
“That game could’ve been totally different if Vierling doesn’t come through with that two-out hit, because that really starts turning the tide as far as them starting to build some confidence,” Bieser said. “If they had a lead, they had enough bullpen guys that they could’ve totally threw different than what they did.”
Chris Cornelius was solid as usual, going 2-for-2 with two runs, two walks and two RBI, while Luke Mann scored three after walking twice and getting hit by a pitch. Josh Holt Jr. earned his second consecutive start Tuesday after a 3-for-4 showing in Missouri’s opener against the Red Wolves. The freshman went 1-for-3 with two runs scored after moving from the nine-hole to the leadoff spot.
On the mound, starter Art Joven struggled from the get-go, giving up five hits, two walks and four runs in an opening inning characterized by heavy wind and rain. Despite notching two K‘s in the second, the junior’s day was done after issuing a walk and another hit. Bieser was frustrated and disheartened by Joven’s lack of success Tuesday.
“He just really wasn’t commanding his pitches. He was hitting the big part of the plate,” Bieser said. “They’ve got a bunch of good hitters over there, and when you put it in the middle of the plate, they can do some damage.”
Out of the bullpen came Ash, who opened with a K to secure a scoreless inning. The sophomore had a solid day on the rubber, giving up three hits, one walk and no runs.
“I had my slider going,” Ash said. “I was just trying to get ahead of hitters, and my defense played great behind me. That helped a lot.”
Ian Bedell and Cameron Dulle took the mound for the sixth and seventh frames, respectively. Bedell notched one K and went 1-2-3. Dulle followed with a perfect inning of his own and ended the day with two K‘s. Bieser anticipates the use of both pitchers in the Tigers’ upcoming weekend series against Arkansas.
“We’re going to have to mix and match at Arkansas,” he said. “They’ve got a high-powered offense, and we’ll be pushed. Our bullpen will be pushed. I think we’ll really find out a lot about the club this weekend.”
Missouri will kick off Southeastern Conference play with a three-game weekend series against the No. 10 Razorbacks in Fayetteville, Arkansas. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday.
Supervising editor is Brendan Lavell.