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Missouri has a lot of things it wants to prove this season, and after one game, it's on the right track.

More than anything, the Tigers want to prove that they are talented enough to make the NCAA Tournament, even though the sanctions brought against them prevent them from actually doing so.

If Missouri wants to do that, one thing it can improve on is the amount of home runs it hits. The Tigers finished tied for 11th in the Southeastern Conference in home runs last season with 50 in 57 games played. Vanderbilt had the most in the conference with 100 home runs in 71 games. Almost every SEC team that scored more runs than Missouri made it into the NCAA Tournament last year, except for South Carolina.

The Tigers hit two home runs Friday in their 10-4 win over Jacksonville State, putting them on pace to hit 106 home runs in 53 games this season. While it's unrealistic to expect them to keep that pace, they are on the right track to being able to compare themselves to NCAA Tournament-worthy teams.

Freshman Seth Halvorsen hit his first career home run in the top of the fifth inning to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead.

Junior Chad McDaniel wanted to join in the fun in the next inning. He hit the game-winning two-run homer to extend the Tigers lead to 5-2. 

But the game was far from over.

Jacksonville State's Alex Webb hit his second home run of the game to make it 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth. That was the last time Jacksonville State would score, but Missouri went on to score five more runs.

While Missouri's offense exploded, its pitching remained calm.

“This was a game that was back and forth. The good thing was seeing our offense continuing to battle, especially in the middle innings," head coach Steve Bieser said in a release. "They put runs on the board and took what our opponent gave us. Ian (Bedell) came out today and threw the ball outstanding.”

Bedell got the win for the Tigers with 11 strikeouts in six innings. He allowed four hits and one walk in only his second career start.

Lukas Veinbergs came in in relief of Bedell and didn't give up a run in two innings. He only gave up one hit.

Tommy Springer came in in the ninth inning to close out the game for the Tigers.

Missouri (1-0) and Jacksonville State (0-1) play the second game in the series at 3 p.m. Saturday in Jacksonville, Alabama. During the ESPN+ broadcast of Friday's game, the announcers said that the start time for Sunday's game had been changed from 1 p.m. to noon.

This article originally ran on columbiamissourian.com.

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