Michael Massey and Pat McInerney hit three-run homers Sunday to give Illinois a 6-4 lead but the Illini could not hold on in a 7-6 loss against Missouri. Illinois finished the Kleberg Bank College Classic at Whataburger Field with a 1-2 record.
Massey hit his homer to the opposite field in the first inning, his first home run as an Illini, before McInerney followed in the second inning to nearly the same spot in left field. Those two swings were all the offense for Illinois, although the Illini totaled 11 hits, the same amount as Missouri.
Illinois (2-5) tried to rally in the ninth when freshman Ben Troike led off with his third single of the game. But Troike was thrown out on the move to second base on a strikeout-caught stealing double play on a 3-2 pitch that McInerney thought was low for ball four.
Eight Illini had hits in the game, including Troike and Bren Spillane (2) with multiple singles.
Missouri (7-1) broke out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first on the way to its seventh straight win. The Tigers had five hits, three of them doubles, off of freshman starter Ty Weber in the first. Weber settled down to go four innings while allowing five runs on nine hits and striking out five before handing the ball to the bullpen.
Four Tigers had multi-hit days, led by leadoff man Connor Brumfield who went 3 for 5. Missouri took the lead in the sixth with runs on a wild pitch and an error on Illini third baseman Trent Hammond.
T.J. Sikkema (1-0) picked up the win. The lefty held Illinois scoreless over the game's final 4 1/3 innings. Missouri starter Liam Carter (2 IP, 6 R) could not get out of the third inning.
Illinois opened action in Corpus Christi, Texas with a 15-14 win over Texas A&M at Corpus Christi then lost to Houston 11-5.
Illinois is back to the diamond Friday at Florida Atlantic. That game kicks off a three-game series between the Owls and Illini.
>>Illinois State Swept By Memphis
Memphis starting pitcher Connor Alexander struck out nine over seven shutout innings to help the host Tigers earn a 3-1 victory and a series sweep of the Illinois State baseball team Sunday at FedEx Park.
Alexander retired 15-straight batters in a stretch between the first and sixth innings, while the Tigers scratched out runs in second, third and sixth innings, respectively, to support their starter.
Illinois State (2-4) had chances late. The Redbirds loaded the bases but failed to score in the seventh inning before plating their lone run of the game in the eighth, when Owen Miller's single chased Bryce Grimm home. Illinois State sent two batters to the plate with a chance to tie the game in the ninth, but Memphis closer Colton Hathcock secured the win by recording his second save in three days.
Miller's 2-for-4 day made him the only Redbird with multiple hits. Rave reached twice with a hit and a walk.
Redbird starter Mitch Weis was solid, allowing two runs over four innings, while striking out five. Matt Walker pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning before Brady Huffman allowed a run in the sixth. Colton Johnson and Trevor Cross finished out the game, each working a scoreless frame.
The Redbirds return action next weekend with a three-game series at Miami (Ohio).