MO State HS Sports

Ninth-Inning Rally Dooms Baseball in Series Opener

Trevor Austin

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Purdue Fort Wayne rallied for three runs in the ninth inning to overcome a valiant comeback by University of Missouri baseball for a 9-7 victory over the Tigers in the opening game of a four-game series Friday afternoon at Taylor Stadium.

Trailing 7-6 after Mizzou scored three times in the home half of the eighth, the Mastodons flipped the script on Grant Thoroman’s two-run homer in the ninth.

Justin Osterhouse, who belted a three-run homer to open the scoring in the first inning, added his second round-tripper of the day with two out in the final frame, handing Purdue Fort Wayne a two-run advantage. Reliever Kevin Fee (2-0) closed out the win for the ‘Dons (5-9), working around a one-out walk to retire the final two Mizzou hitters of the game.

The heartbreaking setback for the Tigers (6-7) came on the heels of a gritty rally that saw Mizzou battle back from a 5-1 deficit to tie it on Trevor Austin’s two-run blast in the eighth, then take its lone lead of the contest moments later on freshman Mateo Serna’s two-out single.

Austin registered a 3-for-5, 3-RBI performance to lead the Tigers, and his equalizing shot was his second game-tying homer in just 13 games this season.

But Osterhouse turned in a big day of his own to spark the Mastodons’ early surge, finishing 4-for-5 with five RBIs. After launching his three-run drive in the first, Osterhouse added a run-scoring double as part of Purdue Fort Wayne’s two-run rally in the third.

Nick Sutherlin delivered at the plate for PFW as well, recording three consecutive hits, beginning with his third-inning RBI triple.  He added a double in the fifth and a leadoff single in the eighth that led to a Mastodons’ run that gave the visitors a 6-4 lead heading into the home half of the inning.

But the Tigers kept clawing their way back into the game, using a Tucker Moore single to kick off their biggest inning of the day. Austin homered on a 1-0 pitch, driving Sean Kasper’s offering over the wall in left to knot the score at 6-6. A pair of walks kept the rally alive before Serna lined a 1-2 pitch from Fine pitch up the middle to bring in Jackson Lovich with the go-ahead run.

The visitors answered, however, using Jacob Walker’s leadoff single as a springboard to the deciding rally. Ian Lohse (0-1) struck out Camden Karczewski for the first out, but a wild pitch allowed Walker to move into scoring position.

It wouldn’t matter, as Thoroman drove the second pitch he saw deep to right for the deciding home run.

Mizzou’s Bryce Mayer logged perhaps his best outing as a Tiger, striking out a career-best eight batters over 6.0 innings. The right-hander yielded five runs on seven hits but blanked the Mastodons over his final three frames. Josh McDevitt followed with a strong seventh inning, striking out a pair in his fourth scoreless outing in five appearances this season.


  • With the loss, Missouri drops to 0-2 all-time against the Mastodons.
  • Matt Garcia continued his impressive return from an injury that sidelined him for the first two weeks of the season, logging a single, his second stolen base of the season and a walk while scoring two runs.
  • Mayer’s eight strikeouts eclipsed his previous career best of six vs. Northern Kentucky in his last start on March 1; his 6.0 innings also represented a career high for the junior.
  • Thomas Curry drove in the Tigers’ first run with an infield pop fly that fell in for a double in the first inning; that marked the fifth game in which the freshman has driven in at least one run.
  • Lovich extended his career-best hit streak to eight games with his sixth-inning triple.
  • Lovich’s triple was his second as a Tiger, with his first coming against Lindenwood on March 29, 2023.
  • Austin three hits matched his career high, marking the second time in three games the Jefferson City product has accomplished the feat (vs. Northern Kentucky on March 3).
  • Additionally, Austin’s eighth-inning homer was the 20th of his Mizzou career.
  • Serna, who drove in three runs in his last game vs. Northern Kentucky on March 3, has recorded at least one RBI in half of his six starts this season.

The Tigers and Mastodons continue their four-game set Saturday (March 9) with a Noon doubleheader.

For all the latest information on Mizzou baseball, please visit For up-to-the-minute updates, follow the Tigers on XInstagram and Facebook.

This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics