COLUMBIA, Mo. — Led by a four-run first inning and a strong outing from starting pitcher Chandler Murphy, the University of Missouri baseball team cruised past No. 2 Tennessee, 9-1, in the Southeastern Conference opener for both clubs Friday afternoon at Taylor Stadium.
Murphy (3-1) limited the defending SEC champions to one run on three hits over 6.0 innings, striking out five Volunteers in notching his third consecutive victory. Rorik Maltrud was equally as impressive in relief, locking down the win with five more punchouts over 3.0 perfect innings.
Paced by Trevor Austin’s 2-for-3 day that included a pair of doubles and three runs scored, the Missouri offense clicked throughout the afternoon. Five Tigers recorded multi-hit games, as MU outhit UT by an 11-3 margin.
The onslaught started early, as Mizzou (14-3, 1-0 SEC) gashed UT starter Chase Dollander (3-2) for four consecutive extra-base hits in the first to grab a commanding 4-0 lead. Ross Lovich, who finished 2-for-4, started the rally with a one-out double, before Dalton Bargo (2-for-4) drove him home with a two-bagger for a 1-0 Mizzou lead.
Austin followed with a run-scoring double, and Hank Zeisler (2-for-3) plated a third MU run with his RBI triple into the right-field corner. Juju Stevens’ grounder to short brought home Zeisler for a four-run Tiger cushion.
Following another Lovich double two innings later, Bargo knocked in his second run of the day with a single to left, extending the Mizzou lead to five runs.
After Christian Moore launched a one-out homer to put the Vols (15-4, 0-1 SEC) on the board in the sixth, Dylan Leach contributed countered it with a two-out, RBI single in the bottom half of the inning to push the margin to 6-1.
The Tigers weren’t done. After loading the bases on a Zeisler single and a pair of hit batsmen to start the eighth, Leach lofted a sacrifice fly to bring Austin home, before Ty Wilmsmeyer (2-for-4) bunted for a hit that turned into two Mizzou runs after an errant throw by the UT pitcher.
Maltrud picked up where Murphy left off, striking out a pair of UT hitters in the seventh and eighth frames, before working another 1-2-3 ninth to record his first save as a Tiger.
• Mizzou improved to 9-1 at home this season and 391-226 all-time at Taylor Stadium
• The victory marked No. 2,400 in the history of the Missouri baseball program
• The win marked Missouri’s first victory in an SEC season opener in six years (March 17, 2017 vs. Alabama)
• Luke Mann saw his career-best 12-game hit streak end with an 0-for-5 afternoon
• It also ended Mann’s consecutive games reaching base safely streak at 21 dating back to last May
• As a team, the Tigers logged 11 hits — marking the 10th time this season Missouri has recorded 10 or more hits in a contest.
• Chandler Murphy logged five strikeouts, marking his third game of the season with five-plus strikeouts
• The Tigers snapped a six-game losing streak against the Volunteers with their first win over UT since May 5, 2019
• Missouri held Tennessee to one run, matching the Vols’ lowest scoring game of the season and their worst offensive showing against the Tigers since a 2-1 loss in Columbia on May 18, 2018
With inclement weather expected throughout the day Saturday, the series will now conclude with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Sunday (March 19) at Taylor Stadium.
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Single-game tickets for this weekend’s series, as well as all Mizzou Baseball games in 2023, are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 1-800-CAT-PAWS, or by visiting MUTigers.com/feature/BSBTix.