Bullpen seals Missouri win over Lindenwood
ST. CHARLES, Mo. - Missouri scored in three consecutive innings to overcome a one-run deficit, then leaned on a strong effort from its bullpen to edge Lindenwood, 7-5, Wednesday afternoon at Lou Brock Sports Complex.
After the Lions battled back from an early 3-1 deficit with a three-run third, Mizzou (19-6) roared back to score single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to reclaim the lead. Juju Stevens extended the margin to three runs with a one-out, two-run homer in the seventh.
Brock Lucas (1-0) gave the Tigers 4 1/3 solid innings of relief, fanning a career-best seven hitters while allowing just one run on two hits to earn his first collegiate victory. Fellow freshman Daniel Wissler then closed out the win-and his first save as a Tiger-with a scoreless inning and one-third.
The duo combined to limit the Lions to just one run on three hits over the final 5.2 frames to help secure Mizzou's sixth-straight midweek victory.
Stevens, who drove in three runs in Mizzou's 6-5 win over Illinois on Tuesday, delivered another critical blow against the Lions with his momentum-swinging home run that turned a one-run game into a 7-4 advantage. Luke Mann added his ninth multi-hit effort of the season, and Hank Zeisler drove in a pair of runs to bolster the Tiger offense.
The afternoon started with a two-run Mizzou rally in the top of the first, after Ty Wilmsmeyer recorded the first of his two hits on the day. A wild pitch and a passed ball moved the runner to third, and Trevor Austin made it a 1-0 game with a base hit to right-center. Zeisler followed with a sacrifice fly to right, bringing in Dalton Bargo with the second Tiger run.
Lindenwood (3-22) answered with a run against Mizzou starter Nic Smith in the home half after Marcus Heusohn singled, before trotting home on a two-out wild pitch.
Mizzou got the run back in the second, however, as Jackson Lovich tripled to lead off the inning against LU starter Josh Newell. Dylan Leach followed with a base hit up the middle on Newell's first offering, stretching the lead back to two runs.
But the Lions broke through against Smith in the third, using a Tyson Ludwig one-out single as a springboard to a three-run inning. With two out, Brett Bowers doubled Ludwig home to start a string of five consecutive Lindenwood hits. Back-to-back RBI singles by Joe Copeland and Ethan Abercrombie ultimately put LU in front, 4-3.
Lucas, who took over for Smith with a man on second and one out in the fourth, gave the Tigers a lift by retiring the first two hitters he faced to strand the runner in scoring position.
Mann's leadoff single in the fifth led to the equalizing run when Zeisler's chopper to the right side brought the runner home from third.
Matt Garcia came off the Tiger bench to spark the go-ahead rally in the fifth. The senior transfer doubled with two men out, then raced home with the fifth Mizzou run on Mann's base hit to right.
Stevens followed a walk to Zeisler with his second home run of the season in the seventh, giving Lucas and the Tigers some much-needed breathing room.
After striking out the side in the sixth, Lucas permitted his lone run in the bottom of the seventh. But the right-hander worked out of the inning with two more punchouts, then got a defensive lift from Garcia, who made a diving stop at shortstop and initiated a critical 6-4-3 double play in the eighth.
From there, Wissler recorded the final out of the eighth, then worked around a leadoff double in the ninth to wrap up the win.
Wilmsmeyer contributed a two-hit effort in addition to Mann's 2-for-5 afternoon. Trevor Austin also enjoyed a strong day, reaching safely in three of his four trips to the plate, finishing 2-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and a stolen base.
- Mizzou improved to 4-0 all-time vs. Lindenwood by sweeping the season series from the Lions.
- The Tigers also improved to 6-0 in midweek contests and 16-3 in nonconference games in 2023.
- Stevens logged his fourth multi-RBI performance of the season-and his second in a row.
- Bargo extended his on-base streak to 10-straight games.
- Lucas surpassed his previous personal best in strikeouts (previously two vs. Western Illinois).
- Mann turned in his third multi-hit effort in the last five games.
- Austin logged his ninth multi-hit game, matching Mann for the team lead.
- Zeisler recorded his team-best seventh multi-RBI performance this season.
- Mizzou ran its record to 13-1 when scoring six or more runs.
- The win is the Tigers 18th of the season when leading after six frames.
- The Tigers remain undefeated when scoring first, winning all 17 contests when they get on the board first.
Mizzou travels to Lexington, Ky., for a three-game Southeastern Conference series with Kentucky, beginning with a 6:30 p.m. ET contest this Friday at Kentucky Proud Park.