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March 3, 2012

Tigers drop home opener

On a typical Missouri weather day, the baseball team dropped their home opener to the Ball State Cardinals 5-2 Friday night at Taylor Stadium. It was 41 degrees at game time.

Ball State started the scoring with two runs in the second inning. The Cardinals knocked three hits in a row into right field after their first two batters of the inning were retired. Kevin Franchetti scored the first run and an error by right fielder Dane Opel a second run to score. The Tigers committed three errors on the day.

"[Ball State] took advantage of every mistake we made," third baseman Conner Mach said.

The Tigers responded with two runs of their own in the inning. Scott Sommerfeld and Ben Turner lined singles into the outfield to reach base. Landon Lucansky tripled to bring them home and tie the score 2-2.

Kirby Campbell put the Cardinals in front again with a solo home run in the fourth for just his second hit of the season. The homer deflated the Tigers as they would never again truly challenge Ball State.

"The response (to the home run) all the way around wasn't what we needed it to be," catcher Ben Turner said.

Indeed, the Tigers failed to register another hit against Cal Bowling. Bowling pitched a complete game on just 103 pitches, with six strikeouts and one walk. Last year, Bowling pitched four complete games as the ace for the Cardinals.

"He did a good job throwing strikes and mixing speeds," Turner said.

"I'd take him in a heartbeat," Mizzou coach Tim Jamieson said.

Ball State added two more insurance runs in the seventh on a Wes Winkle triple and a suicide squeeze by Mitch Widau. Winkle entered the contest hitless but finished 3-4 with two RBIs.

Eric Anderson lost his third start of the season and the Tigers fell to 2-5 overall.

Jamieson criticized his club following the loss, citing some "selfish" attitudes.

"We have too many guys worried about their individual numbers, and not worried about our ball club," he said. "[It's] amazing the game was as close as it was."

Some bright spots did exist for the Tigers. Turner picked off two runners in the seventh and went 1-2 with an RBI and a walk.

"Ben is one of those guys who is doing what he is supposed to be doing and I think his defense reflects that," Jamieson said.

The Tigers play again today at 2 p.m. at Taylor Stadium, looking to break a four-game losing streak.

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