By Shane Gravlin
It was a marathon of a home opener for the Missouri Tigers baseball team. Going into the seventh inning, it appeared that it was going to be a blow-out, with the Tigers ahead 7-0 at that point. Two innings later, the visiting University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks found themselves with a chance to take the lead late, but couldn’t cash in.
Mizzou held on by the skin of their teeth to win 12-10, winning their sixth straight home opener, going back to 2016. The game took about three hours and 45 minutes, the seventh and eighth innings lasting an hour plus on their own. Mizzou baseball season ticket holders showed up in limited numbers and stayed through the end to cheer on the Tigers baseball squad, which opened up its season last week in Arizona at Grand Canyon University, where Mizzou dropped three of four.
Mizzou bounced back today, though, and the bats were fully alive and alert. Multiple home-runs and extra base-hits at key times were huge for Mizzou, and it turned out that they would need every run they could squeeze out. The bullpen folded completely, but eventually 6’5” freshman Zach Hise was able to pick up the save.
Prior to the seventh inning, it was smooth sailing for Mizzou. Starting pitcher Spencer Miles was dominant, striking out numerous Maverick batters and never letting any base-runners reach third base or cross the plate. The tide changed in the seventh, once Cameron Pferrer entered the game and walks were abundant. Omaha stormed back to make it 7-5, not before Mizzou struck right back with their offense.
Performances from Mark Vierling, Luke Mann, and Cameron Swanger at the plate ended up to be critical. Vierling hit a homerun early in addition to scoring on an error, Mann hit a bases-clearing triple to extent the Tigers lead to seven, and then later Swanger got the momentum back when his team needed it in the bottom of the seventh when he crushed a two run shot to put Mizzou back up by four.
It was a back and forth game, but Mizzou led for the entirety of it, so it would’ve been a crushing defeat. Instead, Mizzou rolled with the punches and never let it totally slip away, though it was very close at times.
Mizzou gets the Mavericks again tomorrow in a doubleheader. The Tigers are now 2-4.4
Edited by Tyler Kading