A thunderstorm that rolled through Columbia in the late afternoon looks like it's going to keep most of the fans away from the newly-renovated Taylor Stadium today for baseball's home opener. We're about a few minutes from first pitch and the stands are largely empty.
The starting lineup for Mizzou goes as follows:
Russell LaFleur 7
Blake Brown 8
Aaron Senne 3
Andreas Plackis DH
Brett Nicholas 5
Jonah Schmidt 9
Andrew Thigpen 4
Ryan Ampleman 2
Michael Liberto 6
Ryan Clubb P
First pitch will be delayed a few minutes while the field is prepared.
Not the best start to the home slate—WIU's Andrew Hagins reached second when Blake Brown dropped a line drive on the first pitch of the game and scored on a double by Curt Myers. After the top of the first, it's 1-0 WIU.
Mizzou quickly takes the lead in the bottom half of the inning. A pair of line drive singles by Brown and Senne and an infield single by Plackis set up a two-run bloop single by Nicholas to put Mizzou up 2-1. Jonah Schmidt followed that up by lacing a ground ball up the middle to drive home Plackis to put Mizzou up 3-1.
Thigpen kept the offense rolling with a RBI double to left, pushing the score to 4-1. Ryan Ampleman followed up Thigpen's double with one of his own, a two-run line drive to the right field corner. WIU starter Austin Brough really is having problems with his command right now—he just can't seem to keep the ball down in the zone. For a lefty who doesn't throw hard, any sort of bad command will spell disaster like we saw from Brough that inning.
Mizzou is still batting and has seven consecutive hits as WIU changes pitchers.
A couple of groundouts back to the pitcher finally get WIU out of the inning, but not without allowing six runs on seven hits. Clubb has a pretty nice cushion to work with now.
An interesting note about WIU: they have three former Northern Iowa players on the roster, including Jason Summers, their No. 3 hitter tonight. That's notable because Northern Iowa dropped its baseball program after the 2009 season.
Looks like Tim Jamieson is going with Johnny Wholestaff today. After two innings, Clubb is pulled in favor of Kelly Fick. The final line on Clubb: two innings pitched, one run (unearned) on one hit, one walk, and one strikeout. He threw 36 pitches.
It's going to be a long night at Simmons Field, that's for sure.
Eric Garcia just picked up a double pinch-hitting for Plackis here in the bottom of the fourth. As the game moves on, it'll be interesting to see if Jamieson gets more freshmen some at-bats.
It's 10-1 Mizzou after five. WIU only has one hit in the game.
The weather may not hold up for the rest of the game, though. There's a batch of rain that looks like it'll move into Columbia within the next 30-45 minutes. With the pace at which this game is moving, a little bit of precipitation wouldn't be a bad thing.
WIU finally gets back on the board on an infield single by Chris Giglio off freshman lefty Neil Hugenberg. 10-2 Mizzou in the top of the seventh as Phil McCormick enters the game.
We've started to notice some lightning to the south and west up in the press box...so this game will probably go on life support in a few minutes.
With the score 10-3 Mizzou entering the eighth, the lightning gets more noticeable and frequent. I can't see how this game will last a whole lot longer...which means Mizzou will win their first home game of the year.
The players have been pulled off the field. I don't think this one will be resuming.