Posted: 1:58 a.m. Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Missouri didn't contribute much to SEC baseball during the regular season this year. The Tigers were 10-20 in conference play and largely got into the SEC tournament because they weren't as bad as Tennessee and Georgia. But once they got in, the second of the new SEC members to play in the postseason even left their mark.
Unfortunately for them, it was the final mark of the season. Missouri lost an epic 17-inning game to Mississippi State, one that ends tied for the longest in SEC tournament history. The move drops the Tigers out of the conference playoff and eliminates their last, long-shot hopes for getting into the NCAAs by somehow winning the SEC tournament.
The game was unique in other ways. Missouri's lone run scored on a wild pitch followed by a throwing error. Between the two teams, 29 men were left on base. No runs were scored for nearly 12 full innings -- from the bottom of the fifth, when Mississippi State scored its first run, until the bottom of the 17th, when Mitch Slauter's single drove in its second. There were a total of 119 at bats. And I could go on.
But in the end, the heroic efforts of Rob Zastryzny, who allowed one run over nine innings for the Tigers, and Keaton Steele, who allowed no runs for seven innings after playing the first nine innings at first base, and several other Missouri players were outdone by the heroic efforts of all the Mississippi State players who took part in this game -- all 23 of them.
Missouri's first game in the SEC tournament was a valiant effort. But Mississippi State's game was just a little bit better.