Game 3: Missouri vs. Monmouth, 1 PM (Loser is eliminated)
Game 4: Western Kentucky vs. Mississippi, 5 PM
■ Western Kentucky Rips Missouri (Clarion Ledger)
The Hilltoppers have been a great hitting team all season, with a .331 team batting average and 80 homers. All nine of today starters were hitting at least .300 before the start of the game.
But Jamieson held his best pitcher Gibson, who has a 10-3 record and 123 strikeouts this season, because he figured Ole Miss will win tonight and he wanted to use the 6-foot-6 right-hander against the Rebels in a winner’s bracket game on Saturday night.
And WKU wasted little time making Jamieson’s decision look bad. Matt Payton walked and Matt Hightower reached on an error to open the game before Wade Gaynor crushed a homer over the left-field wall for a quick 3-0 lead.
■ Missouri drops regional opener (Columbia Tribune)
Johnny Wholestaff made an unscheduled and unwanted regional debut.
After sophomore right-hander Nick Tepesch struggled in the first inning, the Missouri Tigers reverted to survival mode early in the Oxford, Miss., Regional. Tepesch was chased after just one inning, forcing Missouri to go to its pitcher-by-committee approach.
It was too little, too late.
■ Missouri baseball team upset in regional opener (Columbia Missourian)
Western Kentucky scored six runs in the top of the first inning after shortstop Michael Liberto booted a ball that could have been a double play to put Tepesch one out away from getting out of the first inning.
“I thought it was a routine double play ball,” Jamieson said. “We make that play and the whole complexion changes."
Instead, the Hilltoppers sent 10 batters to the plate. Tepesch allowed three hits and walked two batters, and Western Kentucky took control of the game.
■ Loss hurts, but Mizzou coach right in pitching gamble (Clarion Ledger)
In baseball’s version of a roll of the dice, Jamieson tossed snake eyes. Missouri’s chances of winning this regional out of the losers’ bracket are next to nil, especially with a pitching staff that Jamieson admits is thin.
And by now, you are thinking this is going to be a column ripping the Missouri coach for his decision. Not so. I agree with Jamieson’s line of thinking, that his only chance to win this tournament was to beat Western Kentucky with someone else in anticipation of using Gibson against top-seeded Ole Miss in the winners’ bracket today.
“We did what we thought was best for this pitching staff and this team to win the tournament,” Jamieson said.
Agreed. The column ripping Jamieson would come if he were to throw Gibson in the losers’ bracket today against Monmouth. My guess: He won’t.
Yes, he runs the very real risk of going home to Columbia without ever using a future millionaire pitcher. But if his strategy was sound to begin with, then it still is. The only chance he has to win — and it’s slim — is to beat Monmouth with Johnny Wholestaff and then have his ace ready to pitch in Sunday’s first game.
■ More of the same:
- Toppers reach 40 wins with convincing win over Missouri (WBKO.com)
- Western Kentucky conquers Missouri baseball team (Kansas City Star)