By Wendell Barnhouse | firstname.lastname@example.org
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Two teams will little incentive and not much to play for met at 9 a.m. Saturday in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship. No. 8 seed Missouri and No. 5 seed Texas Tech had been eliminated from playing in Sunday’s title game so pride is all that was on the line.
“We talked about it after the game Thursday night,” Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. “It’s difficult to come out and play hard and stay motivated. One area we did not fall short in is how hard we played.”
Indeed. The Tigers made sure they closed out this season with a victory. Missouri took advantage of several Red Raiders misplays to record a 7-3 victory.
The Tigers scored two runs in the bottom of the second without a hit. And after Texas Tech battled back to tie it at 3-3, Missouri put the game away with a four-run seventh.
With two outs and a runner at second, Texas Tech second baseman Jamodrick McGruder had a throwing error on a routine grounder. Pinch runner Blake Brown scored from second on the miscue. After a walk put a second runner aboard, left fielder Ryan Gebhart homered into the right-field bullpen – his first round tripper of the season.
“Coach Jameison got us together and asked us what we were going to play for,” Gebhart said. “Play for the name on your jersey, Missouri, and play for the two seniors (Aaron Senne and Michael Libertro) on our team. You look at the two seniors, and it kind of gives you some motivation to play for them.”
Texas Tech finished the season 28-29. The Red Raiders hoped to finish with a victory that would give them a winning record and improve their chances of being selected as an NCAA tournament at-large team.
“If you don’t take care of the outs when they are presented to you, the game has a way of hurting you,” Texas Tech coach Dan Spencer said of the fateful seventh inning. “That’s what happened, we don’t make a throw. Then, we get a walk and fly ball gets out of the park to right (field).”