It's an old baseball saying that pitching and defense win games. And while that's usually the case, if your team can't score, your team can't win.
That was Missouri Wednesday night. Despite solid efforts from five different pitchers and solid all-around defense, Missouri only could muster five baserunners over nine innings of scoreless ball against Kansas, losing 1-0 and falling to 19-17 on the season.
Possibly worse were the 10 strikeouts by Missouri's offense, which came on the heels of an eight-strikeout game against Oklahoma State Sunday.
Kansas freshman starting pitcher Thomas Taylor induced eight of those strikeouts in his 5.2 innings of work. "He did a really great job pounding the zone," said Brett Nicholas of Taylor, who threw first-pitch strikes to 11 of the 20 batters he faced. "When he got ahead of us, he didn't really waste many pitches, he just kept coming after us and we ended up getting ourselves out.
You gotta tip your cap to that. He did a great job tonight and didn't make many mistakes."
Kansas outfielder Jimmy Waters summed up Taylor's outing perfectly. "He was just dominating them," said Waters after the game.
While coach Time Jamieson was quick to give Kansas its due, he felt that his lineup should have done better against KU's pitching.
"The strikeouts are relative to the quality of the pitching, and not to take anything away from KU, but we've seen better pitching and we haven't struck out as much," said Jamieson.
While the loss doesn't count toward Missouri's Big 12 record, it does sting for other obvious reasons.
"For lack of a better term, you hate those guys," said Nicholas, referring to Kansas. "It could be checkers, a game of rock-paper-scissors, you don't want lose to those guys."
While Nicholas was playing in his first Missouri/Kansas tilt, others were aware of the recent history these two teams have.
"It feels sweet," said Waters on beating Missouri. "I do not want to put any locker room material out, but obviously after last year we had a pretty bitter taste on our mouth after the way that series ended."
Waters was referring to Ryan Ampleman's walk-off home run to give Missouri a series win in Columbia May 10, 2009.
Maybe thoughts of revenge are just what Missouri needs to wake its bats up at this point.
All photos by JJ Stankevitz, KMOV.com.
Ryan Gebhart (center) stands for the National Anthem prior to Missouri's 1-0 loss to Kansas at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., April 21, 2010.
Missouri players huddle prior to the team's 1-0 loss to Kansas.
Michael Liberto (5) talks to Aaron Senne (17) after striking out in the bottom of the first.
Eric Anderson fires a pitch in the top of the second.
Aaron Senne tags out Casey Lytle in the top of the second.
Jimmy Waters (7) high-fives Zac Elgie (5) after scoring what turned out to be the game's only run in the top of the second.
Brian Heere fails to lay down a bunt in the top of the sixth.
Dane Opel flies out to left in the bottom of the seventh.
Brandon Macias lines out to third in the top of the eighth.
Travis Blankenship delivers in the bottom of the ninth. Blankenship nailed down his first career save Wednesday night.
Aaron Senne reacts after striking out to lead off the bottom of the ninth.
Travis Blankenship and Kansas fans react after Dane Opel popped out to end Wednesday's game.
Kansas players congratulate each other after their 1-0 win over Missouri.