Feb. 27, 2014
|Mizzou Baseball at UALR Invite|
|When||Saturday vs. IPFW - 10 a.m. | Saturday vs. UIC - 6 p.m. | Sunday at UALR - 1 p.m.|
|Location||Little Rock, Ark.| Gary Hogan Field|
|Radio||KTGR 103.1 FM/1580 AM - Tex Little (PBP), Hunter Mense (Color)|
|Online Coverage||GT vs. IPFW | GT vs. UIC | vs. UALR|
|Printable Game Notes||Mizzou|
|2014 Season Stats||Mizzou | IPFW | UIC | UALR|
|Series History||Mizzou tied with UALR, 1-1; Tied w/ UIC, 3-3 // First Meeting w/ IPFW|
|Last Meeting||Mizzou defeated UALR, 10-5, in 2012 // UIC claimed last series, 2-1, in 2011|
|Streak||Mizzou - Won 1 vs. UALR, Lost 1 vs. UIC|
|Social Media||@MUTigerBaseball,| Mizzou Network|
Mizzou has altered its plans for the weekend. After spending the first two weeks and eight games on the road, Mizzou baseball was supposed to return to Taylor Stadium for its home opener this weekend, but forecasted cold temperatures in the Mid-Missouri area have forced the baseball team to relocate. Now, the Tigers will head to Little Rock, Ark., to play three games, beginning with a 10 a.m. tilt on Saturday against IPFW. Mizzou will play UIC at 6 p.m. on Saturday and close tournament action with a 1 p.m. showdown with host UALR on Sunday. All games can be heard live on KTGR with Tex Little and Hunter Mense on the call.
The Tigers are just completing a five-game road trip in which it went 1-4. After a dominating 15-3 win over Radford to open the road trip, the Tigers struggled to score runs, dropping four straight to Wake Forest, Cincinnati, Liberty and Campbell. Mizzou hit just .238 as a team on the five-game trip.
Through the first eight games, Mizzou has played eight different opponents and on the docket this weekend is three games with three different teams again. That means that Mizzou will play its first 11 games against 11 different opponents - the last time that happened was 2010. Once Mizzou plays its next series - scheduled for March 4-5 vs. Alabama A&M - it will have played 12 games against 12 different opponents to open the season.
RECAPPING LAST WEEK
Mizzou is coming off of a North Carolina road trip that saw the team go 1-4, losing four straight following a 15-3 drubbing of Radford to open action at the Wake Forest Invitational. The Tigers struggled with the bats over the five games, hitting just .238 while scoring just nine runs in the next four games following the Radford win. In Mizzou's last game against Campbell, the Tigers were shut down by the defending Big South Champion for eight innings before hanging a three-spot in the bottom of the ninth. But that wasn't enough as the Tigers fell, 6-3.
HOMECOMING FOR HOHN
Of course, the weekend trip to UALR is somewhat of a homecoming for Tiger lefty Andrew Hohn, who played at UALR before transferring to Mizzou last season. He was a key part of the bullpen at UALR and led the team with 24 appearances as a true freshman in 2011. He is a Little Rock native as well, hailing from North Little Rock High School.
KEETON CONTINUES TO RAKE
In Mizzou's five games in North Carolina last week, senior infielder Kendall Keeton continued to swing a hot stick, checking in at .368 (7-for-19) with a double and three RBI. On the season, he is second on the team in batting and OBP and third in slugging and doubles this season. He has four runs and four RBI as well and has played a great first base despite being a middle infielder last season.
SEGOVIA ON FIRE
Although the Tiger bats suffered a slight setback over the last four games, Shane Segovia continues to swing a hot bat as he checks in a .393 heading into the weekend. He leads the team in average, slugging, OBP, runs, RBI, hits and total bases through the first eight games. In fact, dating back to the latter part of the 2013 campaign, Segovia is hitting a cool .360 with 17 RBI and nine doubles over his last 22 games.
FILLING IT UP
The Tiger pitching staff has been very good at striking out batters while limiting walks. In fact, the Tigers average 3.56 strikeouts per every walk. The strikeout-walk ratio has been a staple of pitching Coach Matt Hobbs as he works with Tiger pitchers. Since he took over the Tiger pitchers in 2011, the Tigers have seen their strikeout -to-walk ratio improve from 1.92 in 2011 to 2.25 last season and seem even better this year with the 3.56 clip. Below is a look at the numbers under Coach Hobbs.
YR K-BB - Ratio
2014: 57-16 - 3.56
2013: 342-152 - 2.25
2012: 352-193 - 1.82
2011: 409-213 - 1.92
When looking more into the Tiger pitching staff this season, it is easy to see where the point of emphasis from Coach Hobbs has been placed - limiting walks. So far this season, Mizzou is averaging just 2.05 walks per nine innings, by far the best clip during Hobbs' four-year tenure at Mizzou. In fact, since his first year, he has seen that number shrink from 3.70 in 2011 to 3.11 last season and the minuscule 2.05 this season. In Mizzou's first inning against Cincinnati, the Tigers had a streak of 32 innings without a walk snapped. Since the Cincinnati game, Mizzou pitchers have walked just five batters over the last 18.0 innings as they continue to show great command. Below is a look at the Tigers' walks per nine under Coach Hobbs.
The Tiger pitching staff has been very good in all but one game this season, limiting the opposition to just 18 earned runs in those seven games. The Tigers were roughed up for 11 runs last Sunday against Cincinnati, but if you exclude that game, the Tiger pitching staff has just a 2.63 ERA and owns a 5.44 strikeout-walk ratio and a miniscule 1.31 walks per nine average.
A big part of the Tiger pitching staff this season has been junior lefty Brett Graves, who put together what was possibly his best start as a Tiger last Saturday. He hit 97 on the radar gun and showed a great ability to put guys away in a no-decision against Wake Forest. He allowed just three hits and no walks over 7.0 innings, striking out six while not allowing a runner to reach second base while he was in the game. He leads all Tiger starters with a 1.54 ERA and leads the team in innings pitched (11.2) and strikeouts (nine). He is also limiting opposing batters to .171 batting, tops among Tiger starters and third overall. He also leads the team with a 0.86 WHIP as he is showing the type of stuff usually seen on Friday Nights in the SEC.
AN OFFENSIVE EXPLOSION
Although the Tiger bats have struggled at times this season, they still have 10+ hits in three games - it took Mizzou 21 contests a year ago to have three 10+ hit games. Also, in Mizzou's 15-03 win over Radford, several milestones fell. Mizzou tallied 10 runs in the sixth inning in its 15-3 win over Radford, marking the first time that the Tigers have tallied a 10-run inning since March 24, 2010, against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Mizzou's 15 vs. Radford runs are the most for a Tiger team since March 14, 2012, when Mizzou plated 21 runs against North Dakota.
TIPFW went 22-32 in 2013 and comes into the weekend with a 204 mark after splitting a four-game series with Alabama A&M and dropping two straight to SEMO last week. IPFW is hitting .254 as a team and has belted two homers and 11 extra-base hits. Kevin Wirth is the team's top producer at the dish, hitting .474 with 10 RBI and three runs scored. He has one of their two homers. IPFW has struggled on the mound with a 7.63 ERA, allowing 39 earned runs in 46.0 IP, including 37 walks. This is the first meeting between Mizzou and IPFW.
UIC comes into the weekend at 3-4 overall but a perfect 2-0 in neutral site games. The Flames are hitting .268 as a team but have just four extra-base hits this season (three doubles, one homer). Jacob McNamara leads the team with a .391 batting average and Tyler Detmer leads the team with five RBI. They have a staff ERA of 5.23 this season and have walked 33 batters in 63.2 innings. UIC took two of three in Columbia the last time that the two teams met in 2011.
UALR comes into the weekend at 6-2 overall and 5-2 when playing at its home ballpark. The offense is paced by Justin Steelmon, who is hitting .360 and slugging .600 with two doubles and pair of triples. Three UALR hitters check in with better than .300 average. Two different players have driven in at least 10 runs - Mitchell Schueler and Tanner Rockwell. Pitching is the strength for UALR as it has a a staff ERA of 1.92 with just 16 earned runs in 75.0 innings. UALR swept Creighton to open the season.
ERA BEST SINCE 2006 IN 2013
Despite the 18-32 mark last season, the Tiger pitching was as good as it has been since 2006 under fourth-year pitching coach Matt Hobbs. In fact, Mizzou had a 3.87 ERA last season, the best since the 2006 team posted a 3.36 ERA. The 3.87 ERA was better than five of the Tigers' eight NCAA Regional teams in the last 11 seasons. Last weekend, Mizzou posted a staff ERA of 2.42 as it appears to be off to an even better start in 2014.
FRANCIS HOWELL CONNECTION
This year, the Mizzou baseball roster features five players that have played together for quite sometime. Brett Graves, Case Munson, Jake Ivory, Brett Peel and Steven Diel all played high school ball for Francis Howell in St. Charles, Mo., winning a state championship together during their senior season.
MILES IMPRESSES OVER THE SUMMER
Junior righty John Miles led Mizzou with a 2.35 ERA coming out of the bullpen last season, but as if that weren't impressive enough, he really turned heads this summer. Playing his summer ball in the NECBL, Miles put together an outstanding season. He set a league record with a .135 opponent batting average and earned started the league's annual All-Star Game, alongside Tiger teammate Brett Graves. He led all starters in the league with a 1.20 ERA. He closed his summer with a complete game, one-run outing in which he helped his Vermont Mountaineers to a 3-1 win. He was 3-1 in Vermont and allowed an earned run in just three of his starts. With the strides that he took, look for Miles to make an impact in the Tiger rotation this season.
60 YEAR ANNIVERSARY
The 2014 season marks the 60-year Anniversary of Mizzou's 1954 team that won the College World Series for the school's first ever National Championship in baseball. Under legendary Tiger head coach John 'Hi' Simmons, the 1954 team with 22-4 overall and went 5-1 at the College World Series, defeating Rollins, 4-1, to claim the Championship. Mizzou also defeated Lafayette, UMass, Oklahoma State and Michigan State at that College World Series.
NEW FACILITY FOR TIGERS
As the Mizzou baseball program continues its transition into the SEC, the Mizzou Department of Athletics made a major commitment to the program by spending $4 million on a new facility, including a new lockerroom, coaches office and improved seating at Taylor Stadium. The new facility will be one of the best baseball facilities in the nation will give players all they need to succeed on site. A state-of-the-art lockerroom, modeled after many big league lockerrooms, along with a team room, an auditorium and training room have been added on site at Taylor Stadium. Also, increased bleachers have been added down the LF line and the old bucket seats have been replaced with new seat-back stadium seats in order to help with the comfort level of the fans.
CROW INDUCTED INTO MIZZOU HOF
Former Mizzou standout Aaron Crow was inducted into the Mizzou Athletics Hall of Fame this year. Crow established himself as one of the most feared pitchers in the nation during the late 2000s in a time of great success for Tiger baseball under Head Coach Tim Jamieson. During his junior season of 2008, Crow was arguably the most dominant pitcher in the game, as he won the Roger Clemens Award, given annually to the top pitcher in college baseball, in addition to being named a consensus 1st-Team All-American. His stats in 2008 were stellar - a perfect 13-0 record, an earned run average of 2.35, four complete-game shutouts and 127 strikeouts (10.65 per nine innings). Had a 43-inning scoreless streak during the 2008 season.
When Josh Lester and Ryan Phillips committed to play baseball at Mizzou, they were unaware that they had a unique connection. In fact, both players played in the 2006 Little League World Series and Lester's team won the tournament. Lester and Phillips never met in the series as the two were in different pools, but both remember watching the other play. Lester's team that won the Little League World Series kept that core group of players intact and went on to win three Georgia State Championships in high school.
TIGERS ON TV
Mizzou will be televised 11 times in 2014, including four times through the SEC/ESPN deal.
ON THE AIR
Once again this year, KTGR ESPN Radio is the radio home of the Tigers, with all of the game being broadcast on 103.1-FM, 100.5-FM and 1580-AM. The games can also be heard online at KTGR.com. Tex Little is in his 24th season of calling Tiger Baseball and is joined in the booth by Hunter Mense, who is in his fourth year as part of the MU broadcast team.
Video webcast for all Missouri Baseball home games in 2014 is available at mutigers.tv as part of the Mizzou Network. Mizzou Network is the Tiger fan's home for live and archived games, along with coaches' shows, press conferences and more. For more information, visit mutigers.tv and click on the Mizzou Network icon.
The Tigers will play their first home games of the season Tuesday and Wednesday against Alabama A&M. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter MUTigerBaseball.
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