KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Junior righty Peter Fairbanks (St. Louis, Mo.) struck out a career-high 11 batters in 7.0 innings of one-run baseball as No. 23 Mizzou claimed the rubber game at Tennessee,10-1, on Saturday (April 11) at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Fariabnks' 11 strikeouts are the most by a Tiger since April 6, 2014, when Eric Anderson struck out 12 against Georgia. The win for Mizzou clinches its fourth SEC series win this season as the Tigers improve to 24-12 and 10-5 in SEC play through the halfway point of league play. All four series wins have come against SEC East teams.
The bulk of the offense came in the fifth inning as Mizzou exploded for a four-run inning, using four extra-base hits including back-to-back homers from Case Munson (St. Charles, Mo.) and Jack Klages (St. Louis, Mo.) and triples from Zach Lavy (Auxvasse, Mo.) and Brett Peel (St. Charles, Mo.). Over the last two games of the series, Mizzou tallied 10 runs on 11 hits (six extra-base hits) in the fifth inning. Fairbanks earned the win to go to 4-3 on the year while Tennessee's Drake Owenby took the loss (2-4).
Now at 24-12, Mizzou continues to be one of the nation's top turn-around stories in college baseball, winning seven more games in 2015 than at this point of the year in 2014. Mizzou improves to 15-5 away from home this season and 11-1 on Saturdays.
Mizzou got on the board in the second inning as a pair of left-handed hitters jumped on UT lefty Owneby. Josh Lester (Columbus, Ga.) roped a leadoff double into right field on a 1-2 pitch. He was moved to third and Lavy ripped an RBI single into left center to give the Tigers an early 1-0 lead.
The lead didn't last as Tennessee plated a run on an RBI single by nine-hole hitter Brodie Leftridge. Tennessee then had runners on second and third with just one out, but Fairbanks struck out leadoff hitter Nick Senzel and A.J. Simcox to strand the runners, leaving the dangerous Christin Stewart on deck.
Fairbanks then turned in a 1-2-3 inning against the 3-4-5 batters in the fourth and both pitchers seemed to settle in. Owenby had sat down eight in a row until Lavy led off the fifth inning with his team-leading third triple. He was brought home on a groundout by Jake Ivory (St. Charles, Mo.) and then Munson and Klages hit their back-to-back solo shots to extend the lead to 4-1. Peel then tripled and was brought home on an RBI single by Jake Ring (Ingleside, Ill.), giving Mizzou a 5-1 lead. Mizzou had five hits in the inning, four for extra bases (two homers, two triples).
Fairbanks then worked around a two-out walk in the fifth and found himself in the middle of a streak in which he retired 10 of 12 Volunteer batters as he sent the game to the sixth with the Tigers leading. He pitched through the seventh and tallied 11 strikeouts, the most by a Tiger this season. Mizzou added four more runs in the eighth on two-run singles by Ring and Howard. Ring finished with three hits and three RBI to complete a very impressive weekend for the Tiger sophomore. Howard also drove in two on Saturday.
The Tigers will be back in action Tuesday (April 14) against UALR at 4 p.m. at Taylor Stadium. Alabama then comes to Taylor Stadium for a three-game series next weekend.