Missouri baseball drops fifth straight

Missouri sophomore Ty Wilmsmeyer hits against Texas A&M on Thursday in Columbia. This was the only hit by Wilmsmeyer in the game, who went 1 for 3.

Reid Glenn

Missouri baseball lost its fifth straight game Thursday, this time getting demolished 16-2 by Texas A&M.

It’s the third time the Tigers have been beaten by double digits in 2021, but this is the worst loss yet. Missouri is nearly halfway through its season with more than twice as many losses as wins and has only one conference win under its belt.

Morale is as low as it has been all season for Missouri. Coming off a midweek 10-9 loss to arch-rival Kansas, after having a 9-2 lead in the seventh inning, the Tigers would’ve liked to at least be competitive against Texas A&M but did the opposite.


“We came out flat, almost a little timid,” Missouri coach Steve Bieser said after the game. “It seemed like we were in slow motion. It was kind of disappointing to see during this spring-break week.”

Aggies starting pitcher Dustin Saenz absolutely tore up Missouri hitters. The senior went seven scoreless innings, striking out 10. The Tigers only managed six baserunners against Saenz, three with base knocks and the rest by way of walks. With the win, Saenz improved his record to 5-1.

Saenz contrasted starkly with Missouri’s starter, Spencer Miles (1-5). Saenz entered the contest ranked No. 13 in the nation and fourth in the Southeastern Conference with 50 strikeouts. He carries a 2.39 ERA in six starts in 2021. Miles, meanwhile has struggled all year. The sophomore has only 23 strikeouts in 34⅔ innings pitched, including 2⅔ on Thursday night, and has a 7.47 ERA.

One of the biggest differences between the two hurlers is experience. Saenz made his 40th career appearance in the win over Missouri, his 16th start. He has a career record of 8-3 with a 3.74 ERA.

Still an underclassmen, Miles was tapped the team’s ace before his first full season. Thursday was just his third SEC start and the 10th of his career.

Miles was overmatched by his competition. Bieser said he was trying too hard. Texas A&M piled two runs on him for the first three innings before the coach had seen enough. Bieser pulled the young righty with one out to go in the third after Miles had given up six hits, two walks, four earned runs and two unearned runs.

“Your Friday night guy usually sets the tone and you need that,” Bieser said. “Spencer is aggressive and he tries to work quick and do all those things but he just hasn’t had any success these last few times out.”

Other than Holden Phelps, who held A&M scoreless the last 3⅓ innings with five strikeouts, Missouri’s reliving corps managed only marginally better than its starter. As a staff, Missouri pitchers gave up some astronomical numbers: 41 at-bats, 13 hits, 12 walks and 16 runs.

Saenz kept right on chugging. By the time the Aggies went to their pen for the eighth inning, the game was all but over. Texas A&M had a 16-0 lead and could afford to spare some of its bullpen arms.

Bieser said his hitters looked hungover from Tuesday’s heartbreaker in Kansas and went on to say that it’s especially hard when your pitcher is struggling. The Tigers only managed six hits against the Aggies and had only two runs, both in the eighth inning. Mark Vierling and Andrew Keefer each batted one of those runs in.

They were two of the brighter spots in the lineup, with Keefer being the only Tiger to get two hits and Vierling one of the three to not strike out. Every other Missouri hitter was K’ed at least twice, and Luke Mann walked back to the dugout three times after going down on strikes.

Ty Wilmsmeyer was one of the other Tigers not to have struck out. His only other career plate appearance ended in a walk. Wilmsmeyer went 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.

Wilmsmeyer joined Trevor Austin and Garrett Rice as relatively new additions to the lineup. Bieser said after the game that he was trying to shift to a more defensive lineup, but he also may be trying to get some underclassmen more game experience.

The team sorely misses Joshua Day and Chad McDaniel, who are both injured and hoping to return to the lineup within a week.