Tigers slug their way past Wildcats

Matt Puttin, Staff
Power Missouri

FOLLOW MISSOURI EVERY DAY WITH A PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION

Trey Harris had himself a career night Saturday. Harris smacked three consecutive home runs in his first three at-bats raising his season total to a team-leading 11 in Missouri’s (26-10, 7-7 SEC) 9-8 victory over #10 Kentucky (24-12, 9-5 SEC).

For Harris, it was just the latest outburst in a recent power surge. Here are his recent numbers:

Home runs in four straight at bats Friday and Saturday

Eight home runs in his last eight games

An SEC record-tying three home runs in one game

Most homers for a Tiger since 2012

11 on the season, tying him for third in the SEC

“Tonight was so much fun,” Harris said. “That last home run I was smiling ear to ear because I was like what just happened? Was that me? You just surprise yourself some nights and tonight was one of those nights.”

O8mb8dhgyxivi1hke8ti
O8mb8dhgyxivi1hke8ti

The Maneater

On a warm spring night where the wind was blowing out all over the ballpark, Mizzou and Kentucky combined for eight home runs. Kentucky’s Tristan Pompey (3-3, two runs, two RBIs) had two for the Wildcats including one on the first pitch of the game to dead center. However, the Tigers were ready to punch back as Harris stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the first and deposited a two-run shot over the 390 sign.

Harris was not done yet. In the bottom of the third trailing 3-2 Harris crushed a solo-shot way over the left field bullpen wall through the football goal posts to tie the game at 3-3. It was the first multi-home run game for a Tiger since Zach Lavy in April of 2015 against Florida.

Chris Cornelius (3-3, RBI) continued his clutch two-out hitting as he doubled knocking in Alex Samples giving the Tigers a 4-3 lead. It was a lead Mizzou wouldn't give up. Cornelius also made several outstanding plays in the field to help the Missouri pitching staff get out of some tough jams.

“Not to overshadow anything that Trey did, but Cornelius had a heck of a night tonight,” Head Coach Steve Bieser said. “He went 3 for 3 with some really quality at-bats and two-out RBI and just making the plays he made in the field, it was a fabulous night by Chris.”

On a night that was all about offense, Mizzou starter Michael Plassmeyer did not make it past the fourth inning in his third straight SEC start. While Plassmeyer has clearly locked down the Saturday starter role halfway through SEC play, he has continued to struggle. Thanks to relievers such as T.J. Sikkema (6-0, 1.49 ERA) and Cole Bartlett, Mizzou has still been able to stay in the ball game and is 4-1 in SEC play on Saturdays.

“It was a bad day,” Bieser said. “I honestly contemplated on whether or not I was going to start him just because Plass is a fly ball pitcher and it was a terrible day for a fly ball pitcher. We knew that anything going into the air was going to be difficult for him today.”

Sikkema earned his sixth win of the season working six and one-third innings of relief allowing five hits, five runs and struck out four. On a tough night to pitch for any type of pitcher, Sikkema weathered the storm and provided enough to get past one of the best offenses in the SEC.

“T.J. came in and completely didn’t care about the conditions and stuck to his plan and wasn’t scared,” Brett Bond said. “He’s a freshman but you would think he’s a junior or senior.”

Harris continued to take advantage of the bad day for fly ball pitchers and lined his third home run of the day off the batter’s eye in centerfield in the bottom of the fifth inning. Bond (2-4, two runs, two RBIs) followed that up with a home run of his own as the Tigers went back-to-back extending the lead to 6-3.

Harris credits his recent offensive tear to first-year hitting coach Dillon Lawson.

“Coach Lawson has been amazing,” Harris said. “He has been a mentor to me this entire year about my mentality and how I handle my business. I’ve really just been trying to hit the ball as hard as I can with pitches I can drive and it has been working out.”

Bond added Mizzou’s fifth home run of the game in the bottom of the seventh giving him six on the year.

“On a day like this, you don’t want to do too much because you will end up popping straight up,” Bond said. “Trey obviously had a really good approach today and hit the ball up the middle and that’s what I tried to do too.”

Kameron Misner (2-4, RBI) added an RBI single giving Missouri a 9-6 lead, which proved to be incredibly important as Kentucky hit a two-run homer with two outs in the top of the ninth. Misner is tied for first in the SEC in stolen bases with 15.

Tex Little and Matt Michaels will have the call at 12 p.m. this afternoon for the rubber game on KTGR [100.5 FM/1580AM]. Mike Morgan and Mike Rooney have the call on SEC Network.

What to Read Next