Feb. 14, 2014
By MUTigers.com correspondent Grace Duggan
Excitement, confidence and anxiousness are the three words that freshmen outfielders Jake Ring and Jordan Getzelman used to describe the emotions leading up to their first game in the Mizzou uniform. Both come from very similar backgrounds in the state of Illinois. Each were 2013 Rawlings Central Region All-Region honorees, All-State selections and two of the Top-20 prospects in the state of Illinois according to the Prep Baseball Report.
As freshmen, the duo has stood out to be likely contributors for the Tigers this season. Jake is a speedy lefty who reset his high school's stolen bases record in 2011 with 40 stolen bases in only 16 games. Jordan is a right-hander that has quite a bit of pop in his bat after hitting nine homeruns last season for Prairie Ridge High School.
The transition from high school to the Division I level can be tough for many freshmen, but the two have learned to cope with this adversity through hard work and learning from their older teammates.
"Every speed you see is a lot faster than the best guy you see in high school. So, it is a big jump getting used to it, but once you start getting your eyes for the fast paced pitching," Ring explained, "it is not as bad as you think."
Jordan has looked to his teammates to help with the transition and sees older players taking him under their wing.
"It is a very big team aspect," Getzelman said. "They are helping me a lot and anyone who is older has been through what I am going through, so they have taken me under their wing and I appreciate that part of it."
Now, after months of practices and new experiences, the Tigers are off to McNeese State to see if their efforts in the offseason will pay off.
"It is a big moment that we have all been working," said Getzelman "The coaches have done a great job to get us prepared so we are ready to go there and win."
After admitting to struggling with hitting in the early part of the year, Ring believes that after working with Graduate Assistant Coach Hunter Mense
that his hitting has not only improved, but he has built his confidence from there. Jake is likely to start in the Tigers' first contest of the season and he is confident that his hard work will equal success on the field.
"With all the work we have put in, I am very confident that I can succeed at this level," Ring said. "It is going to be something new that I am going to have to get used to, but I am going to give it my all."
Faster pitching, quicker players and overall the most talented conference in the country are what await the Tigers this season. Going into their second season in the SEC, the coaches and returning players know what is ahead of them. For the freshmen like Jake and Jordan, it is a whole new ball game. Jordan can see the consistency of the players in the SEC as one of the reasons that Mizzou is in elite company in the SEC.
"There are a lot of guys out there in the country that can do a lot of special things every once in a while," Getzelman explained. "But the SEC is about being that talented consistently throughout the whole year and that is going to be a new challenge for me especially, but I am going to try and keep up."
The stage is set and the expectations of themselves are high for Jordan and Jake. These two Tigers have put in the work and look confidently onto the opening series as a jumping off point for their careers in the Mizzou uniform.
Simply put when asked about the first game Jake smiled and summed it all up with, "I am very excited."