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April 27, 2013

Auburn wins battle of Tigers

The Missouri Tigers dropped a tough one 3-1 to the visiting Auburn Tigers Friday Night at Taylor Stadium. The game featured an excellent pitching duel; Missouri's Rob Zastryzny and Auburn's Conner Kendrick went a combined 16.1 innings and registered 19 total strikeouts.

The Auburn Tigers wasted little time getting on board. With two outs, Cullen Wacker and Garett Cooper singled. Patrick Savage then doubled, making the score 1-0 in favor of the visiting Auburn Tigers.

In the second, Missouri drew even with a solo home run over the left field wall from junior Keeton Steele.

"I saw all three of his pitches [in that at-bat.] So I was pretty comfortable just standing in there. I knew what he had and I knew he couldn't beat me," Steele said.

Missouri threatened in the bottom of the third. Kendall Keeton and Logan Pearson each reached base on singles. After Case Munson was retired, Dane Opel was hit by a Kendrick fastball that loaded the bases with one out.

However, the threat subsided with no runs after Dane Opel was picked off at first base and Keeton Steele struck out.

"I need to be better than that," Steele said.

"That was a turning point. No question," coach Tim Jamieson said.

The home Tigers struggled offensively after the inning, registering only three hits against Kendrick the rest of the way.

"I think a lot of credit needs to go to [Auburn starter Conner] Kendrick," Jamieson.

Kendrick went 8.1 innings, registering eight strikeouts and allowing three walks.

Missouri's Zastryzny also had a strong outing. Zastryzny struck out eleven batters and walked only one in eight innings of work.

"He pitched well enough to win. It was kind of the same-old, same-old," Jamieson said of Zastryzny, who dropped to 2-8 on the season.

"I will take this one on me. It's really frustrating," Zastryzny said.

After the first inning, Zastryzny allowed two solo home runs to Auburn's Garrett Cooper in the fourth and sixth innings.

"I let him get a hold of me," Zastryzny said.

In the final inning, the home Tigers made the game interesting. After junior Dillon Everett lead off with a single, freshman Josh Lester lifted a pitch to deep right field. However, Auburn right fielder Hunter Kelley caught the ball on the warning track, and the Missouri Tigers were retired in order from there.

"That was a tough part of the ballpark to get an extra base-hit.. Maybe when [Lester] is a sophomore, next year, and he is a little stronger, that ball goes a little further," Jamieson said.

The Missouri Tigers face the Auburn Tigers again at 2 p.m. today at Taylor Stadium.

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