COLUMBIA, Mo. - Behind a dominant mound effort that saw Missouri pitchers rack up 14 strikeouts, the Tigers stayed hot on a cold Tuesday afternoon at Taylor Stadium, stretching their win streak to eight games with a 6-0 shutout of Western Illinois.
Logan Lunceford (1-0) led a contingent of five Mizzou hurlers - including three true freshmen - who combined to post the ninth double-digit strikeout performance by the Tiger staff in 12 games this season.
Lunceford, making his first start as a Tiger, fanned six and scattered four hits in his 4.0 scoreless innings to earn his first collegiate victory. The right-hander worked around a leadoff hit with three straight strikeouts in the second, then escaped a jam in the third with two more strikeouts after back-to-back WIU singles started the inning.
The Tiger offense pressured the Leathernecks throughout the afternoon, scoring in the first after Luke Mann drove the first pitch he saw off the top of the right-field wall for a leadoff triple. That run, which crossed the plate on Dalton Bargo's grounder to first, was the first of five separate single tallies over the first five frames.
Mizzou (10-2), which improved to 5-0 at Taylor Stadium, took advantage of seven walks and five hit batsmen, plating runs in the second and third innings after free passes set up scoring opportunities.
Jackson Lovich, who doubled home the second MU run in the second, was a key figure in three separate scoring rallies. The freshman drew a bases loaded walk in the third to record his second RBI of the game, the coaxed another walk during the Tigers' fifth-inning rally.
Justin Colon sparked the offense from the No. 9 spot in the lineup as well, launching his first home run of the season to lead off the bottom of the fourth to stretch the lead to 4-0. The sophomore drew a walk in the fifth, then singled and stole a base before scoring the final Mizzou run in the eighth.
Colon, who raised his season average to .382, went 2-for-3 and reached base safely in three of his four trips to the plate.
Bargo also proved to be a thorn in the Leathernecks' collective side, reaching four times-twice via walks and two more times after being hit by pitches. The freshman extended his personal-best hit streak to six games as well.
In addition to Lunceford's work, fellow rookies Brock Lucas and Nic Smith turned in scoreless innings, and Jacob Hasty struck out a pair of hitters in his 2.0 frames. Kyle Pothoff then closed out the victory by punching out the side in a 1-2-3 ninth.
Ricky Pospisil and Jake Allgeyer turned in two-hit efforts to lead the Leathernecks, who dropped to 1-11 with their 10th straight loss.
- Mizzou moves to 27-5 all-time against Western Illinois
- The Tigers remain unbeaten (5-0) at home in 2023, improving to 387-225 all-time at Taylor Stadium
- The Tigers' eight-game win streak represents their longest since claiming nine straight wins, Feb. 27-March 13, 2018
- The Tigers matched their season high with five batters being hit by a pitch
- Justin Colon's fourth-inning home run marked the ninth-straight game in which the Tigers have hit at least one homer
- Luke Mann matched his career-best hit streak (eight games) with his leadoff triple in the first
- The Tigers scored in each of the first five innings and in six of their eight turns at bat
- Ty Wilmsmeyer swiped two bags to raise his team-leading season total to eight stolen bases, tying his career high in a single season
- Hank Zeisler drove in his team-leading 17th run of the season, marking the ninth game in which he has driven in at least one run
- Mizzou's 10-2 start matches last season's opening 12-game stretch as the program's best since the 2017 season, when the Tigers won 20 of their first 21 games
Mizzou will open a four-game weekend series with NJIT at Taylor Stadium Friday (March 10) at 6 p.m.