TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Mizzou Baseball shutout Alabama, 3-0, Friday night to win its SEC opener at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, pushing its win streak to 17, the second-best streak in school history and tied for the longest active streak in the nation. At 17-1 (1-0 SEC), Mizzou is off to the best start in school history and earned its first SEC shutout since March 15, 2015, in a 6-0 decision at Georgia. Mizzou got great pitching from junior RHP Tanner Houck (Collinsville, Ill.) and freshman LHP T.J. Sikkema (DeWitt, Iowa) as the two combined for 14 strikeouts, just two hits and four walks. The two hits allowed in the game are the fewest ever allowed by Mizzou in an SEC game.
Houck earned the win, going 7.0 shutout innings while extending his streak to 21.2 innings without an earned run. He struck out nine and walked just three in the outing and took a no-hitter through 4.2 innings. As impressive as Houck's streak is without and earned run, Sikkema's is even better at 23.2 straight shutout inning sas he earned his second save of the season after striking out five over 2.0 frames. He now leads the SEC strikeouts (41) and strikeouts looking (21).
Mizzou scored two runs in the first and got a big insurance homer in the ninth inning from junior OF Trey Harris (Powder Springs, Ga.) for all the offense it needed Friday night. Despite notching just three hits, Mizzou walked 13 times in the game and now has 27 walks over its last two games after drawing 14 Wednesday vs. Chicago State.
Mizzou plated a pair of runs in the first after loading the bases with no outs. Brett Bond (St. Louis, Mo.) drew a bases-loaded walk and Brian Sharp (Liberty, Mo.) hit a sacrifice fly to score Mizzou's two runs, giving Houck a 2-0 lead before he even stepped to the mound.
Houck pitched around a two-out error in the first and then sat down seven in a row with four strikeouts in that span. That got Mizzou through the third with a 2-0 lead. Houck picked up two more strikeouts and pitched around an error in the fourth. Alabama starter Jake Walters continued to struggled with command in the fifth inning, walking the bases loaded, but Mizzou failed to get the clutch hit, stranding the bases loaded as the Tigers left eight men on base through five.
Alabama finally got its first hit off Houck with two outs in the fifth inning, a double just past the glove of 3B Alex Samples (Bridgeport, Texas) and then walked the nine-hole hitter Gene Wood to put a pair on. But Houck picked up his ninth strikeout to escape the jam, preserving the 2-0 lead after five.
Houck then got into trouble in the seventh, issuing back-to-back walks to open the frame. But he made a great fielding play on an attempted sacrifice bunt to get the lead runner at third. He then induced a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
Sikkema replaced Houck, who was north of 100 pitches for the second consecutive outing, in the eighth inning. He picked up a pair of strikeouts in the eighth, both looking to send the game to the ninth. Harris launched a 0-2 pitch over the wall in left to give Mizzou an insurance run and a 3-0 lead. Sikkema then struck out the side in the ninth to complete the shutout.
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Head Coach Steve Bieser
Opening Statement... "Well, I forgot about the 17 in a row. Just really competed well tonight. Hits were hard to come by. We did a great job of creating base runners; we didn't do a good job of getting the big hit. Those big hits sometimes can be very elusive and they kept sneaking away from us. We did a good job of putting pressure on the other team all night. Made them throw a lot of pitches. I thought the approach was good, we just have to relax in RBI situations and come up with a big hit."
- Mizzou pushes its win streak to 17 games, the second-longest streak in school history, trailing only the 1964 CWS runner-up team.
- At 17-1, Mizzou is now in sole possession of the best start in school history.
- Mizzou is now 3-2 in SEC openers.
- The Tigers are now 12-9 in league openers since joining the Big 12 in 1997.
- Steve Bieser is the first Mizzou coach to win his conference opener since Gene McArtor in 1974.
- The win is Mizzou's first SEC shutout since a 6-0 win at Georgia on March 15, 2015.
- Junior C Brett Bond drew a bases-loaded walk and has now reached base safely in 12 straight games.
- Freshman OF Kameron Misner stole his team-leading ninth base in the seventh inning.
- Houck has now pitched at least 7.0 innings in 17 times in his 34 career starts.
- Houck has nine outings in his career with at least nine strikeouts including two this season as he matched a season-high on Friday.
- Houck has now won his past three starts without allowing an earned run in that span (21.2 IP).
- Mizzou has now drawn double-digit walks in consecutive games after walking a season-high 14 times Wednesday vs. Chicago State and 13 times Friday.
- TJ Sikkema extended his shutout inning streak to 23.2.
- Sikkema picked up four strikeouts looking to move his season total to 21, tops in the SEC, doing so in 24.0 innings on the season.
- He has 41 strikeouts on the year, best in the SEC.
- Sikkema picked up his second save of the season and now has a decision in six straight appearances (four wins, two saves).