McALESTER — Winning both its games by a combined 13 runs Friday, Texas looked like the early team to beat in the 2014 Jr. Sunbelt Classic baseball tournament. But Tennessee and Georgia both put up run-rule victories Friday, and Oklahoma Gold went 2-0.
One day into the Classic, several teams were still in contention for who’ll play for a championship.
Tennessee 9, Missouri 1
Missouri hung with Tennessee for four full innings.
Then Tennessee came to bat to bat in the bottom of the fifth, and a short while later the game was over.
Tennessee sent 12 to the plate in the bottom of the fifth, scoring eight runs to run-rule Missouri 9-1 in five innings at Mike Deak Field in McAlester.
“We’ve been taking (batting practice) the last couple of days, and everybody gets a little pull-happy, trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark,” Tennessee coach Chris Parker said. “We’re using these BBCOR bats, and you have to stay on top, hit those ground balls and line drives. You saw when we made the adjustment, that’s when we started scoring runs.”
Missouri got not production from the bottom of its lineup, the seven- through nine-hole hitters batting a combined 0-for-5 with five strikeouts and a walk in six at-bats. Tennessee’s bottom three — composed of three starters and a fifth-inning pinch-hitter — batted 3-for-6 with two walks, a hit-by-pitch, a run batted in and three runs scored.
Tennessee seven-hole hitter Deon Sanders drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the fifth, then eight-hole hitter Trystan Barlowe singled to right field to move Sanders over to third. Missouri pitcher Collin Fraley hit nine-hole hitter Duncan Pence with a pitch, then hit Colton Blake Benefield with the bases loaded to force in a run and put Tennessee up 2-1.