Howard homer powers Missouri to steal the series win against No. 6 Florida
COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Ryan Howard put an exclamation point on Mizzou's (22-11, 8-4) 5-3 victory against No. 6 Florida (24-9, 6-6), launching a three-run bomb into the bullpen in left in the fifth inning and giving the Tigers the decisive four-run cushion on Sunday afternoon at Taylor Stadium.
Mizzou allowed only 20 hits in the weekend set, the fewest amount of hits in a three-game series for Florida this season.
Peter Fairbanks got the start for the Tigers on the mound, tossing five innings of two-hit, one-run ball to earn his third win of the season. Alex Del Rio drove in the first run of the day for the Tigers, a single up the middle to tie the game at one by scoring Zach Lavy.
Brett Peel also drove in a run in the contest and extended his on-base streak to 30 games, two short of the school record.
For the first time in the series it was the Gators that scored first, with Josh Tobias stroking a homer to right center, a solo shot for a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Teams traded scoreless innings through the fifth, with Fairbanks holding the deficit to a manageable one run.
Lavy's second hit of the day opened up the fifth, a double to left center, and Del Rio's single to center with one out knotted up the game at one run apiece. Case Munson then singled to left, and a bunt single from Peel brought Del Rio in to score for a 2-1 Mizzou lead. Howard followed with a three-run shot to the bullpen in left, claiming a 5-1 edge through five innings.
Andrew Schwaab replaced Fairbanks in the sixth inning, tossing two scoreless innings to preserve the four-run cushion into the game's home stretch. Schwaab tallied a career-best four strikeouts in his two innings of work. Breckin Williams took over in the eighth inning, allowing two runs in the ninth but sealing the winning weekend for Mizzou.