Feb. 16, 2010
The following is the second part in a four-part series previewing the 2010 Mizzou Baseball season.
The lone returner from last season's starting infield for Missouri is senior shortstop Michael Liberto, who started 59 of the 62 games in 2009.
Liberto may be the only starting infielder back, but there is experience returning to the MU infield. Conner Mach enters his sophomore season having played in 37 games as a freshman last year. He could play either second base or take over at third base for his brother, Kyle, who graduated in 2009 after an impressive four-year career at MU.
Andrew Thigpen, who will be a junior in 2010, is a versatile infielder that has played in 66 games, including 57 starts in his first two years at Mizzou. Thigpen has seen time at second base, shortstop and third base for the Tigers and provides a solid bat in the lineup.
Senior Aaron Senne, who has spent much of his first three years in the Tigers' outfield, could see action at first base this season. Senne was selected by his hometown Minnesota Twins in last summer's MLB Draft, but chose to return to Missouri for his senior year. A two-time All-Big 12 Conference selection, Senne carries a .314 career batting average into his final season at Mizzou.
Sophomore Garrison McLagan was inserted into the Tigers' lineup late last year and found quick success, as he tallied a hit in each of the first four games in which he played. He could also step in at first base this season for the Tigers.
T.J. Schieber enters his junior year at Missouri with a career average of .348. He saw limited action last season after playing in 21 games as a freshman in 2008.
and Brett Nicholas
have transferred to Mizzou this year and look to both to have an immediate impact for the Tigers.
The freshmen class includes Brannon Champagne, Jack Dudenhoeffer, Eric Garcia and Scott Sommerfeld.
Also, new to the roster is sophomore Jeff Lusardi, who transferred to MU from Arizona State. Due to the NCAA transfer rules, Lusardi will have to sit out the 2010 season.
With the departure of three-year starting catcher Trevor Coleman, the Tigers will be looking for a new catcher and junior Ryan Ampleman is likely the leading candidate.
Ampleman gained experience behind the plate as the Tigers everyday catcher last season when Coleman went down with a mid-season injury. Ampleman started 20 games as catcher in 2009 and filled in quite well for Coleman, including hitting a walk-off home run to defeat rival Kansas in the finale of the Border Showdown series.
Nicholas, who transferred from Scottsdale Community College, will also see time behind the plate in 2010.
Sophomore Ben Turner and redshirt freshman Andreas Plackis, along with freshman Kale Gaden add depth to the catching position.
2010 MUTigers.com Season Preview
Monday, Feb. 15 -- PART 1 - The 2010 Schedule
Tuesday, Feb. 16 -- PART 2 - The Infielders and Catchers
Wednesday, Feb. 17 -- PART 3 - The Outfielders
Thursday, Feb. 18 -- PART 4 - The Pitching Staff