ATLANTA, Ga. -- The Mizzou Baseball team closed out a conference road series win in big fashion Saturday with a 6-1 win over Georgia playing at the brand new SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves. The Tigers got a career pitching performance from junior RHP Bryce Montes De Oca (Lawrence, Kan.), who went a career-high 6.0 innings and allowed only two hits and one run as MU improved to 23-9 overall and 6-6 in Southeastern Conference play while the Bulldogs fell to 14-19 and 4-8. Montes De Oca struck out six Georgia batters on the day, and improved to 3-1 on the season, with the only run scoring on a second-inning sacrifice fly. Freshman LHP T.J. Sikkema earned his fourth save of the season by throwing three scoreless innings in relief, allowing just two hits and striking out three.
Montes De Oca was supported by an eight-hit attack from the Tiger offense as Mizzou scored three runs in the fourth inning and three more in the eighth to pull away in front of 33,025 fans, which marked the second-largest crowd to ever see a college baseball game.
Junior RF Trey Harris (Powder Springs, Ga.) continued his torrid weekend pace as he blasted a three-run home run into the left field bullpen with no outs in the top of the fourth inning to stake the Tigers to a 3-1 lead. Harris' blast traveled some 375 feet and came after senior DH Kirby McGuire (Round Rock, Texas) and freshman LF Kameron Misner (Poplar Bluff, Mo.) started the inning with back-to-back walks off UGA starting pitcher Chase Adkins.
Mizzou got some big insurance in the top of the eighth to take a 6-1 lead with a three-run outburst, thanks to a two-run double by junior 3B Alex Samples (Bridgeport, Texas) and a one-run single by sophomore 1B Brian Sharp (Liberty, Mo.). Sharp's single came first on a one-out safety to right that drove in Harris, who drew a four-pitch walk two hitters prior. Samples came up next and promptly two-hopped the left center field fence to score junior C Brett Bond (St. Louis, Mo.) and Sharp. Bond reached with a single after Harris' base on balls.
Harris' fourth-inning home run goes down as the first collegiate home run in SunTrust history, and was the second homer of the series for the Georgia native, after his two-run shot to right center at Foley Field in Athens in Mizzou's 8-5 win Friday evening. The round-tripper was Harris' sixth of the season and the third this week, and it improved him to 5-of-10 with two home runs and five runs batted in the series against Georgia. The Bulldogs had taken a 1-0 lead in their half of the second on a sacrifice fly off Montes De Oca. Harris also had an important hand in keeping the Bulldogs to just one run in the second, as he made a headlong diving catch that ended the inning on a sinking line drive with a runner on second base.
Montes De Oca worked out of a two-out jam in the Bulldog fourth after issuing a one-out walk and allowing a two-out single, but he recovered to induce an inning-ending fielder's choice groundout to keep the Tigers on top by a 3-1 count.
Senior DH Kirby McGuire (Round Rock, Texas) had a pair of hits, and added a walk, a stolen base and a run in support of the Tiger pitchers, while Sharp went 2-for-3 with a run, an RBI and a walk.
The Tigers next return home for a six-game homestand, beginning Tuesday, April 11 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff at 6:30 p.m. at Taylor Stadium/Simmons Field.
Head Coach Steve Bieser Quotes
Opening statement... "I really liked the way that we bounced back in this series, we started it off pretty rough on the first night, but we were able to bounce back and win the series, and if you can continue to win series you can be pretty successful. I thought offensively, we did a really good job of attacking once we got them in trouble, and have a couple of big innings. Obviously Trey's home run was very important to get us back in the lead."
On the performance by starting pitcher Bryce Montes De Oca...
"That was outstanding, I loved the way that Bryce competed, he did everything we asked him to do and more. I'm excited for what I saw today from him."
On T.J. Sikkema's performance out of the bullpen...
"After yesterday he didn't look as sharp, and that's why we wanted to get him back out there and he responded really well today."
Junior RHP Bryce Montes De Oca
On his performance... "I threw well, I didn't have the best stuff really but it was one of those days that you just battle through it. It was a really good day overall pitching and defense-wise, my defense helped me out and the offense did their job really well."