NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Mizzou junior ace RHP Tanner Houck (Collinsville, Ill.) hurled an absolute gem as Mizzou Baseball earned an 12-inning, 2-1 win over Vanderbilt Saturday afternoon at Hawkins Field. Houck pitched 8.0 shutout innings, striking out a season-high nine while surrendering just five hits and a walk, but earned a no-decision after Mizzou blew a 1-0, ninth-inning lead. It took extra innings, but junior INF Robbie Glendinning (Scarborough, Australia) dumped an RBI single into right field in the top of the 12th inning for the game-winning run.
Mizzou improves to 29-19 on the year and 9-14 in SEC play while Vanderbilt falls to 28-18 and 11-11 in SEC play. The win is Mizzou's first ever over Vanderbilt in 16 tries. Freshman LHP T.J. Sikkema (DeWitt, Iowa) earned the win, his team-leading seventh this season, despite blowing the save in the ninth.
Houck needed just seven pitches to retire the side in the first, throwing all seven pitches for strikes. He allowed a bloop hit to Jeren Kendall, but he was erased on a 5-3-5 double play to end the frame. Pinch hitter Johnny Balsamo (Kansas City, Mo.) singled after a nine-pitch at-bat in the bottom of the third, breaking a streak of eight straight sat down by Vandy starter Kyle Wright. But that was all the offense for Mizzou through the first three innings.
Both pitchers face just one batter over the minimum through three innings as both appeared to be sharp early. Houck had a strikeout and induced a double play with seven groundouts through the first three innings, throwing just 31 pitches.
Houck struck out the side in the fourth inning, working around a two-out walk. He did that against the middle of Vanderbilt order. Mizzou responded offensively in the top of the fifth inning, getting a leadoff double from Kameron Misner (Poplar Bluff, Mo.). He eventually scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Brian Sharp (Liberty, Mo.) as Mizzou took a 1-0 lead.
Now pitching with a lead, Houck hit the first batter he faced, C Jason Delay, in the bottom of the fifth, setting up a jam. Delay moved to third after a pair of groundouts and Connor Kaiser ripped a ball back up the middle, but Glendinning ranged to his right to snare the ball and throw out Kaiser to save a run.
After a steady dose of groundouts and strikeouts, Vanderbilt finally got a ball in the air against Houck in the sixth inning as Kendall lifted a ball to shallow center and Mizzou's Connor Brumfield (Columbia, Mo.) hauled it on for an out. Houck tallied his fifth strikeout of the game to send it to the seventh. At that point, Houck had retired six in a row after hitting Delay to open the fifth.
Wright continued to be equal to the task, retiring nine straight Mizzou batters after Misner's double. Houck then had his streak of six-in-a-row sat down snapped as Reed Hayes hit a leadoff single in the top of the seventh. But Brett Bond (St. Louis, Mo.) caught him stealing and Houck then struck out JJ Belday for the second out. Vanderbilt got back-to-back two-out hits to put runners on the corners, but Houck got Alex Brewer swinging to strand a pair, his seventh strikeout of the game.
Houck then picked up two more strikeouts in the eighth, including one of Kendall to end his outing. Sikkema took over in the ninth and allowed the tying run to score on a sacrifice fly. The run came after a walk and a pinch-hit single put runners on the corners with one out.
Mizzou nearly took the lead in the top of the 11th, getting a two-out double from Balsamo after a Sharp walk. But Sharp was gunned at the plate, 8-6-2, to preserve the 1-1 tie. Vanderbilt got the winning run on second in the 11th, but Sikkema picked up his second strikeout to send the game to the 12th inning.
Brumfield started Mizzou's rally in the 12th with a leadoff single into center. He moved to second on a groundout and was later knocked in on Glendinning's single. Sikkema then tossed a shutout bottom of the 12th to preserve the win.
Mizzou and Vanderbilt will conclude the three-game series with the rubber game Sunday at 1 p.m. on SEC Network+.
Potent Quotables - Head Coach Steve Bieser
Opening statement... "Feels very good. Important win for us. We had our backs against the wall today and we knew what we needed to do to keep things where we want them this season. We need a strong finish and that's what we're looking to do. I thought we played a very good game today and we just have to continue to play that way."