Tigers End KU's Big 12 Championship Hopes, 12-2
May 26, 2012
Postgame Press Conference: Video
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Missouri outfielder Dane Opel went 3-for-5 with five RBIs, while relief pitcher Jeff Emens blanked the Jayhawks over the final 3 2/3 innings of Saturday’s game as Missouri advanced to the Big 12 Baseball Championship at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark with a 12-2 run-rule victory over Kansas.
The Jayhawks end their season at 24-34, advancing to the semifinal round of the conference championship after eliminating both Texas A&M and Texas the last two days. Missouri (31-26) advances to meet Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship game Sunday at 1 p.m.
KU trailed throughout Saturday’s contest and could never catch the Tigers. Missouri used a four-run sixth and a three-run eighth to break the game open. Opel collected the big hit in the sixth inning, clearing the bases with a double to plate three runs and increase the Tiger lead to 8-2. Opel came around to score on Michael McGraw’s RBI single as the MU designated hitter collected his third hit and third RBI.
The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning against KU starter Tanner Poppe with RBI hits from Ben Turner and McGraw. However, KU came back to cut the deficit to 2-1 in the third on Tucker Tharp’s third home run of the season.
After Missouri scored two more runs in the third with a sacrifice fly and an RBI single by Scott Sommerfeld, Tharp delivered his second RBI of the day with a two-out base hit to left that plated Dakota Smith. However, it was all Missouri from there.
Emens entered the game with KU threatening in the fifth two on and one out and fanned Zac Elgie and Smith in succession and held the Jayhawks to just one base runner the rest of the way.
Tharp was the only Jayhawk to collect multiple hits in the game, going 2-for-4, while Michael Suiter collected his fifth hit of the tournament with a single off Emens in the sixth.
Five different Jayhawk pitchers took the mound Saturday with freshman Colin Toalson pitching most effectively, tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings.