The Missouri baseball team posted a milestone win on Sunday, beating No. 8 Louisiana State 11-5 at Taylor Stadium to clinch the three-game series over the national powerhouse.
It marked MU’s third Southeastern Conference series win this year — the Tigers took two of three from Ole Miss and Kentucky and split their series at Texas A&M — and gave Steve Bieser’s team consecutive wins over LSU after falling in Friday’s opener.
Mizzou (25-12-1, 7-7-1 SEC) was 1-14 all-time against LSU before the weekend. MU, ranked No. 25 in the NCAA’s RPI heading into the series, now has five wins over nationally ranked teams. Trying to boost postseason credentials to make their first NCAA regional since 2012, the Tigers moved into third place in the SEC East Division. LSU fell to 24-13 and 9-6 in league play.
“This was a big one,” Bieser told reporters after the win. “It’s definitely a statement win for our program. We’re here to stay and we’re here to compete. That’s exactly what the message I want our players to understand. Every series we go into we talk about it a lot. We talk about series wins. It doesn’t matter if you go down 0-1 in the series like we did this weekend. You have to continue to battle. If you do enough right things then you can win a series.”
With regular starter Tyler LaPlante unavailable while nursing forearm tightness, lefthander Art Joven (3-0) joined the weekend rotation and gave the Tigers six strong innings, allowing only three hits in 6 2/3 innings with six strikeouts. Joven has been MU’s midweek starter most of the season but smoothly stepped into the new role. Both LSU runs against Joven were unearned.
“We knew that Art was there the whole time,” Bieser said. “It’s such a luxury to have four quality left-handers like we do that are all starters. We expected Art to come in and throw really well today. I thought he was effectively wild early and once he settled in and gave us what we needed.”
Mizzou scored runs in six different innings as all nine Tigers recorded at least one hit, five going for multiple hits. MU got home runs from Tony Ortiz and Kameron Misner. With three runs in the eighth inning, LSU trimmed Mizzou’s lead to 9-5 before Misner crushed his ninth home run off the Devine Pavilion in right field, estimated at 457 feet.
“Today’s wind didn’t hurt that ball,” Bieser said. “He got into a ball just about as good as you can get into a ball. You saw LSU creeping back into the game, and to put two more runs back on the scoreboard kind of put the dagger in them.”