Mizzou Baseball dropped its annual Braggin’ Rights game to Illinois, 6-4, on Tuesday night (May 3) at GCS Ballpark as Illinois has now won the last two meetings in the series. The loss drops Mizzou to 24-22 while Illinois improves to 22-19. Mizzou junior SS Ryan Howard (St. Charles, Mo.) tallied his fifth homer of the year and also added a double, reaching base in three of four plate appearances. He also made a pair of sparkling plays in the field.
The start went to freshman righty Grant Macciocchi (West Chester Township, Ind.) who was masterful over three perfect innings. Illinois then tagged four runs on five hits in the fourth inning after Macciocchi exited the game and that broke it open for Illinois. Freshman Brian Sharp (Liberty, Mo.) took the loss, just his second of the season, after allowing the four runs and five hits in the fourth. Illinois RHP Andrew Mamlic earned the win, moving him to 4-6 on the year.
Mizzou got on the board in the top of the first as Howard continued his hot hitting of late, launching a solo shot on a 1-1 pitch over the fence in left center to give Mizzou an early 1-0 lead. Macciocchi got three 5-3 groundouts in the first as he looked sharp early. He sat down the first nine he faced in three perfect innings, getting seven ground balls, a strikeout and a flyout.
Howard again got things started for Mizzou in the fourth, leading off the frame with his 10th double of the year. He then scored on a two-out error by Illinois 3B Trent Hammond off the bat of Mizzou C Brett Bond (St. Louis, Mo.) and that gave Mizzou a 2-0 lead.
Tim Jamieson went to the bullpen in the fourth in favor of Sharp and he surrendered a leadoff homer to Jack Yalowitz as that cut the lead in half at 2-1. He then allowed a two-run homer to Pat McInerney to put Illinois on top, 3-2. Illinois then added another on an RBI single and that ended Sharp’s day as Illinois tagged him for five hits and four runs and took a 4-2 lead into the fifth inning.
Illinois added another run in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Jason Goldstein. Mizzou then threatened to get to Mamlic in the sixth, putting the first two men on after a Jake Ring (Ingleside, Ill.) double after a 10-pitch at-bat and an eight-pitch walk by Howard. But senior Zach Lavy (Auxvasse, Mo.) grounded into a 3-6-1 double play and Trey Harris (Powder Springs, Ga.) grounded out to end the threat.
Sophomore RHP Nolan Gromacki (Smithville, Mo.) was sensational in relief, settling things down following late and keeping Mizzou in the game. He tossed 2.1 innings and struck out a career-high three batters. Mizzou then tallied two runs in the eighth inning on Lavy’s nation-leading eighth triple, cutting the lead to 5-4. Illinois then added an insurance run in the eighth inning.
Mizzou heads to Starkville, Miss., for a Thursday-Saturday series at No. 3 Mississippi State. For all the latest on all things Mizzou Baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouBaseball and like the team on Facebook and Instagram (Mizzou Baseball).
- The all-time series between Mizzou and Illinois is now knotted at 13 wins apiece.
- Mizzou falls to 3-3 on Tuesdays this season.
- Junior SS Ryan Howard continued his torrid pace as of late, launching his fifth homer of the season in the top of the first. Over his last five games, Howard is 11-for-20 with two homers, two doubles and seven RBI.
- Howard has now hit safely in six consecutive games and reached base safely in nine straight.
- His five homers this season match his career-high, set a year ago.
- Freshman Grant Macciocchi turned in his longest career outing, tossing 3.0 perfect innings with seven ground balls, one strikeout and a flyout. Only one ball hit in play left the infield as he was sharp.
- CF Jake Ring doubled to lead off the sixth inning and has now hit safely in eight consecutive games.
- Sophomore RHP Nolan Gromacki tossed a career-high 2.1 innings in relief on Tuesday and struck out a career-high three batters.
- Senior 1B Zach Lavy tallied his nation-leading eighth triple of the season in the eighth inning. It was his SEC-leading 31st extra-base hit and drove in a pair of runs 47th and 48th RBIs.
- Lavy has now reached base in 18 consecutive games, the longest streak by a Tiger this season.