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Losing streaks have been an unpleasant theme for Mizzou this season and its 10-game streak heading into Friday marked a season high. The Tigers have had four separate five-game losing streaks throughout the season as a part of a loaded SEC. For what feels like the first time all season, though, the Tigers hadn’t necessarily been playing bad baseball.

After blowing late leads in each of the past two series against No. 5 Tennessee and in Thursday’s series opener against No. 3 Mississippi State, Mizzou was able to finally come through with a 7-6 victory in Starkville, Miss. on Friday night.

Seth Halvorsen made his 13th start of the season against a Bulldogs team that averages over seven runs per game. Mark Vierling provided early run support on a two-run single in the top of the 2nd to build a 2-0 lead. Halvorsen’s first trouble with the Bulldogs, and his own defense, came in the bottom of the 3rd.

Torin Montgomery muffed a throw to put the lead runner on first for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs took advantage with a two-run triple by Tanner Allen, an RBI groundout by Luke Hancock, and an RBI-single for Logan Tanner to lead 4-2. Just one earned run was charged to Halvorsen.

In the bottom of the fourth, Halvorsen gave up an RBI-double to Rowdey Jordan with two outs and Mizzou’s deficit grew to 5-2. A big response on offense was just what the doctor ordered in the top of the fifth and sixth to get back in the game.

Brandt Belk drove home Torin Montgomery on a sacrifice fly to make it a 5-3 game. Montgomery had four hits on the night, something no Tiger had done this season.

In the top of the sixth, the Tigers got the best of relievers Cam Tullar and Parker Stinnett to regain the lead. Luke Mann scored on a wild pitch, Tre Morris drove home Ty Willsmeyer on a groundout, and Andrew Keefer singled home Vierling with two outs.

Another late lead couldn’t be held, though, as Halvorsen gave up a solo home run to Kellum Clark to start the bottom of the sixth inning. Halvorsen finished the game with seven hits, three earned runs, four walks and two strikeouts on 102 pitches. It was the fourth straight outing where Halvorsen went at least five innings, and was the eighth occasion allowing three or less earned runs. Despite losing the lead, Konnor Ash and Spencer Miles kept the Bulldogs scoreless the next three innings in relief of Halvorsen.

In the top of the ninth, Keefer and Montogomery hit back-to-back singles with no outs to create an opportunity to take the lead. Belk advanced both runners on a sacrifice bunt, and Mississippi-native Joshua Day drove in Keefer as the go-ahead run on an infield single. Miles got the final three outs in order to preserve the Tigers first win since April 23 against Georgia.

“We’ve been so close for so long and it’s really good to finally get this win,” manager Steve Bieser said. “Hopefully we can move on and come out and respond tomorrow. This series is not over and we want to come out and get a series victory tomorrow.”

The win was Mizzou’s second against a ranked team, previously beating No. 11 South Carolina on April 9. It was the first time Mizzou defeated a top-five team since May 11, 2019 against Vanderbilt. Spencer Miles (2-7) won his first game since Feb. 26 and Stone Simmons (1-1) was charged with the loss.

The victory not only ended a ten-game skid, but helped Mizzou’s case in a tight race for the final spot in the SEC Tournament. Mizzou improved to 6-20 in the SEC and trails Texas A&M and Auburn, both at 7-18. The Tigers own the tiebreaker against Texas A&M after winning the season series 2-1 and has a crucial matchup to end the season with a three-game home series against Auburn.

Mizzou (13-33) will look to upset the Bulldogs (36-12) again on Saturday at 1 p.m. for what would be its second SEC series win of the season.