Losing the series opener has been nothing new for the Red Raiders. Tech has lost its last three Big 12 series openers, but each time in blowout fashion that allowed Spencer to save his top pitchers for the rest of the weekend. The difference this weekend is Missouri (23-17, 7-8), like Tech, also held its best starting pitchers for today and Sunday, seriously affecting Tech’s chances of coming back to win the final two games of the series like it has done each of the last three weeks.
Using Bettis (6-4) for three innings and having nothing to show for it doesn’t help. Tech had numerous chances to take the lead or win it in the eighth, ninth and 10th innings but could not capitalize. Bettis threw 66 pitches and retired six of the first seven Tigers he faced before Missouri took advantage of Bettis’ control problems in the 11th.
■ Tigers rally for four runs in the 11th (Columbia Tribune)
Freshman Dane Opel hit a two-run single in the top of the 11th inning to help the Missouri baseball team defeat Texas Tech 12-8 in extra innings last night in the Big 12 series opener in Lubbock, Texas.
Aaron Senne and Brett Nicholas hit back-to-back singles to open the 11th. Pinch-hitter Andrew Thigpen laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached on an error, loading the bases for Opel’s go-ahead single. Andreas Plackis followed with a sacrifice fly and Eric Garcia added an RBI double for the four-run cushion.
■ Missouri baseball blows lead over Texas Tech, wins in extras (Columbia Misourian)
Ampleman was key in the team’s sweep last weekend with his pitch calling behind the plate. On Friday, he was key with his offense.■ Announcing his presence with authority (Columbia Tribune)
The catcher hit his second career home run in the fourth inning to give Missouri a 4-0 lead.
Ampleman had been struggling at the plate, but he has been more comfortable since taking coach Tim Jamieson’s advice to stop worrying about improving his season batting average and start off each day with a fresh mindset. Ampleman added another base hit and went 2-for-3 on the day.
If his past two outings are any indication, Tepesch, a junior from Blue Springs, has learned that when he has the ball on the mound, he’s in control of the game.
“You can take your eyes off the scoreboard or even the hitter and the catcher and just watch him,” Missouri pitching coach Tony Vitello said, “and you’d be a lot more excited and you’d be a much bigger fan of him, because he kind of captivates you right now with how good his presence is.”
Other Mizzou Sports
■ Phil Bradley a calming force as
Missouri volunteer assistant softball coach (Columbia Missourian)
People unfamiliar with the Missouri softball team could mistake Bradley for the head coach. But Bradley is a volunteer assistant for the school where he is a legend.
Bradley was a two-sport athlete from 1977 to 1981. He was the starting quarterback for the Missouri football team his sophomore through senior year, leading the Tigers to three bowl appearances. He also played baseball for the Tigers, batting .457 during his senior season and earning third-team All-American honors.
MU in the Minors
■ Cardinals fold late in loss to Naturals (News-Leader.com)
Had anyone evaluated Kansas City Royals' 2009 first-round pick Aaron Crow (06-08) for the first time last weekend, it would have been difficult to say the right-hander would make a quick ascent to the big leagues this year.
However, Crow re-set his trajectory against the Springfield Cardinals on Thursday night, firing a season-high eight innings in a miniscule 79 pitches and allowing the Northwest Arkansas Naturals to rally for a 9-2 victory.
. . .
Meanwhile, Crow pitched far better than he showed Saturday (eight runs allowed, four earned in 4 1/3 innings), this time earning his first Double-A win.
Mainly, his slider became a chase pitch and prevented the Cardinals from narrowing down his fastball. It's that style of pitching that has drawn several major league scouts to his five starts.
"I hadn't had command of (the slider) all year, so it helped me out," said Crow, who registered 15 ground-ball outs. "If you can throw it for a strike early in the count and show it when you can because they are going to be defensive, it gives you another weapon."