By Lucas Owens
Missouri had the tying run on first, but an attempt to move that runner, Alex Peterson, into scoring position cost the Tigers a close loss to the Kansas Jayhawks.
Kansas came into the game at 28-24, but struggling in Big 12 play. Missouri also has been struggling this season, but were coming off a whirlwind series win against No. 3 Mississippi State in Starkville, Mississippi. That momentum did not transfer on Tuesday though, as Kansas quickly jumped out to a lead on an unearned run scored by Casey Burnham, who reached first off a catcher’s interference.
Clayton Peterson answered back for the Tigers in the bottom of the second, as he plated a pair of runs with a double to take a 2-1 lead. The back-and-forth battle continued through the third, as Kansas scored three runs in the third and three in the fourth. Luke Mann hit a two run home run in the fourth to narrow the lead to 7-2. Missouri closed the gap with a homer by Claton Peterson that got him his third and fourth RBI of the day, making the score 8-7. Kansas got an insurance run in the top of the ninth which proved to be beneficial when Alex Peterson got an infield single in the bottom of the inning to put Missouri within a run. However, Peterson was caught stealing second on a close play to end the game.
Missouri’s Achilles Heel all day was Kansas’ Skyler Messinger. The slugging third baseman had four hits and five RBI, as well as adding a sacrifice fly for good measure. All of Messinger’s hits were singles, but he was by far the key to Kansas’ offense Tuesday night. No Jayhawks pitchers were exceptionally impressive, but Ryan Vanderwahl and Ryan Cyr both came in and shut down the Missouri offense when needed.
As mentioned, Clayton Peterson was the offense Missouri needed, but Luke Mann with a home run and Alex Peterson with an RBI both made a difference in an unsuccessful effort. Konnor Ash impressed out of the bullpen in the eighth inning, as he came in relief for Jackson Lancaster after Lancaster loaded the bases, and shut down two Kansas batters to get out of the inning.
Next up for Missouri is Auburn this weekend at Taylor Stadium, in what is the final regular season series of the season for the Tigers, and quite possibly the last games they will play this season. Kansas also concludes the regular season this weekend in Lubbock, Texas when they play Big 12 rival Texas Tech.