Missouri takes out No. 8 Texas A&M
Brown’s five RBIs, Stites’ strong 8.0 innings lead Tigers
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri used a wild nine-run sixth inning to top No. 8 Texas A&M 9-1 on Saturday in game two of a three-game series at Taylor Stadium.
Mizzou was led by sophomore Blake Brown, who went 3 for 5 with a five RBIs, a run scored and a home run, and junior starter Matt Stites, who went 8.0 innings while scattering just six hits and striking out eight. Stites earned the win for his second consecutive win in Big 12 play after earning his first Big 12 victory at Baylor a week earlier.
The win improves the Tigers to 19-24 on the season and 6-10 in Big 12 play. It is also the Tigers' third win against a top-10 opponent this season and marks the second consecutive Big 12 series win for Mizzou, which has now won four its last five league games.
The Tigers scored all nine of their runs in the sixth inning, knocking around Texas A&M starter Michael Wacha, who came into the game with an ERA of 1.64.
Aside from Brown's huge day at the plate, sophomore Eric Garcia went 3 for 5 with two runs scored. Brannon Champagne also scored a pair of runs.
Stites had a great start, matching his career-best in innings pitched while throwing 128 pitches. The only run he allowed was a solo home run to left field by A&M catcher Kevin Gonzalez in the fifth inning. He also struck out eight batters, just one off of his career high, while walking only one.
But the story of the game was the sixth inning.
Wacha was cruising against the Tigers, allowing just four base runners in the first five innings. The sixth inning started with a lead-off walk to Champagne and a single from Garcia, putting a pair of runners on base with no outs. But designated hitter Jonah Schmidt struck out looking, setting up a big spot for Brown. The Tiger right fielder launched a three-run shot over the wall in left center, putting Mizzou up 3-1.
Following the home run, Jesse Santo and Ben Turner tallied back-to-back singles and Andrew Thigpen reached base on an error by Aggie first baseman Jacob House. Santo scored on the error to make it 4-1.
After a fly out by CJ Jarvis, leadoff hitter Conner Mach singled to drive in Turner and Champagne reached on a bunt, bringing up a bases-loaded spot for Garcia with the Tigers leading 5-1. He sent a roller to second that was bobbled by the second baseman, allowing two more runs to come in, making the score 7-1. After a walk by Schmidt, Brown then singled to center, scoring two more runs and giving Mizzou the 9-1 lead. Brown had all five RBIs in the sixth inning.
Stites went back out to pitch the seventh and eighth innings and put up two more scoreless frames. Reliver Dusty Ross then closed out the ninth, allowing no hits on just 12 pitches.