The Mizzou Baseball team met with the media on Monday to discuss the upcoming season, which will get underway on Friday. The Tigers open the 2010 campaign against Gonzaga at 2 p.m. CT on Friday in the first game of the Collegiate Cactus Classic.
Head Coach Tim Jamieson
On how the lineup shapes up:
"We think it's a talented group and we think we can give ourselves a chance to win with multiple lineups, but it is going to take a while to figure out what the best lineup is."
On the importance of getting of to a better start than last year:
"Well sanity-wise, it's a lot better to get off to a good start. I don't know that it really makes that much of a difference, when it comes to the postseason. An exception might be a couple more wins could have gotten us a regional host or a higher RPI or something along those lines, but we still got into the tournament. It does matter, but ultimately you want to have your best ball club picked out by the time conference gets here and you want to be playing your best baseball at the end of the year for the chance to win some."
On replacing the big pieced lost from last year's team:
"It's difficult to replace experience because this year we are doing it with a lot of inexperience, but we feel like we've got a talented group of players that will have to fill a void. It's going to have to come from an entire lineup as opposed to trying to replace a guy with a guy. That's just not going to happen. "
On the teams MU will face at this weekend's Collegiate Cactus Classic:
"Gonzaga went to regionals last year and they beat us as bad as anyone beat us last year. They are a talented team and get off to a good early start. Mexico State is coached by Gary Ward's son and they play a very similar brand of baseball, they all swing the bats. Washington has a new coach, but it's a Pac-10 team. The thing about it is, everyone is a good team because no one has figured out that they are not yet."
On Nick Tepesch being the team's No. 1 starter this season:
"I think he is at this point. We are going to pitch him this Saturday, not for any particular reason other than that what seems to be the best for everybody. I really truly believe it's open, it's not necessarily clinched by Nick, but he certainly has pitched the best up to this point."
On the pitching plans for this weekend:
"It's likely to be Jeff Scardino on Friday. He is a junior college left hander and that's something we have not decided for sure. Right now it looks like Jeff on Friday, Nick Tepesch and Aaron Blunt on Saturday and Eric Anderson, a freshman, on Sunday. That's what it would be if we made the decision today. "
On Brad Buehler :
"We feel like he is one of our strengths. We've got Brad, Jeff Emens, Phil McCormick, Tyler Clark and a bunch of guys that we feel like that is one of our strengths, in the bullpen. Brad is certainly one of those guys. We don't have a specific closer. "
On seeing a lot of different lineups early in the season:
"I have never been a fan of platooning left-handed hitters against right-handed pitchers. This year might be one of those years. We have three right-handed hitting outfielders and three left-handed hitting outfielders and that might be how we decide who plays in that particular situation. We have a guy that could be a right-handed DH against a left-handed pitching and that's probably how we will start out. Ultimately, it will be a mix of that.
On his team's defense:
"I think in the infield we are better. The outfield in an unknown. Ryan [Lollis] was a good defensive outfield and we lost him, Greg [Folgia] was a pretty good outfield and we lost him. It's a little bit more of an unknown. I think we are talented and athletic in the outfield."
On entering the season under the radar:
"The players use it as a rallying cry. We have been successful as anyone and we are not getting the credit we deserve. We use it as motivation. It's less pressure on each player and easier to perform."
Junior RHP Nick Tepesch
On starting on Saturday this weekend:
"It's my role, so I have to give my team a chance to win. It's what they expect me to do and I am going to do it."
On the three tournaments to open the season:
"In the initial part of the season, Coach always likes to switch the lineup around and see what the best fit is for everybody and see what works best. That will be a big thing the first few weeks, while trying to win games."
On the team being under the radar:
"I see it as beneficial, it's not like there is a lot of pressure on you. You just go out there and have fun. We just try not to worry about what others are saying."
On what he learned being around guys like Aaron Crow and Kyle Gibson:
"I tried to learn as much as I could and try to mold that into my own style. I take pieces from both and learn from that."
Junior C Ryan Ampleman
On the importance of the first few weeks of the season:
"It will be really important. We have a lot of young talent and we are getting them acclimated to the team and trying to figure out how traveling works and what playing time will be."
On the Tigers' pitching staff:
"We have a lot of young guys with [Nick] Tepesch being a frontrunner. But with Jeff Scardino, Aaron Blunt, Eric Anderson, there are lots of new guys. They really got to know each other well and are working together great."
On taking over as the everyday catcher for Mizzou:
"For two years I watched Trevor Coleman catch. He was a great role model and great friend and mentor. When he broke his hand, he called me a two in the morning and we talked about how his hand was. He said this is your show now, so take it. He has been there and we still talk all the time."
On Nick Tepesch:
"He has put in the work and he has tremendous talent. He has all the tools."
Senior OF/1B Aaron Senne
On how the lineup is taking shape:
"We have an idea of the guys who can play in certain spots. I don't know if we will have the same lineup the first part of the year. We'll just see who can handle it and run with it from there."
On his role as a veteran on a young team:
"It doesn't change that much. I am still going out and playing, the one difference is I will have a lot more young guys watching me, seeing how I handle things and how I go about my business. There isn't any pressure really, I just go out and do the same things and just know guys will be watching me."
On the newcomers in the lineup:
"I need to go out and contribute, but I have enough guys around that can do it as well. Nobody really knows about them, because they haven't played on the team. They definitely have the talent to swing it. I think we will be fine in that sense. They will pick me up and I will pick them up when they are down. We have a young, inexperienced team but I think we have a lot of potential. We will go out there and turn heads. Nobody is expecting anything from us, so we have nothing to lose."
On this year's team compared to last year's squad:
"Last year we had a lot of older guys, experienced guys and high expectations. We expected to do well and win. This year we are playing to win because we have nothing to lose. We are going to try to win each game however we can do it."