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Tigers Open Home Slate With Eastern Michigan

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MUTIGERS.COM

MUTIGERS.COM

March 4, 2013

Series: Mizzou (0-6) vs. Eastern Michigan (3-7)
When March 6, 2013 | 1 p.m., 4 p.m. (both games 7 innings)
Location Columbia, Mo. | Taylor Stadium
Tickets Purchase Here
TV NONE
Radio KTGR - 103.1 FM, 100.5 FM, 1580 AM
Online Coverage Listen | GT - Tuesday | GT -Wednesday
Printable Game Notes Missouri
Season Stats MissouriEastern Michigan |
Series History Mizzou Leads, 10-4
Last Meeting Mizzou won, 14-4, on March 6, 2005
Streak Mizzou - 8 of last 10
Social Media @MUTigerBaseball, @MUTigersOnDeck  | Mizzou Network 

FIRST PITCH - What You Need to Know
It's been a tough run of the mill lately for the Mizzou baseball team, which was swept in each of its season-opening series on the road before being snowed out of its home-opening series vs. Northwestern from March 1-3. Now, the Tigers will look to play Eastern Michigan in a two-game series at Taylor Stadium. Game one will be at 1 p.m. on Wednesday (March 6) and the finale will be immediately following the first game of the doubleheader Wednesday.

Promotions • Senior citizens will receive buy-one-get-one free tickets at 55 years or older with a photo ID. It is also business card night as anyone with a business card will receive free admission. Also, free admission will be given to children (kindergarten-fifth grade) who show up with an 'A' grade on any school project or paper.

Series History • Mizzou leads the all-time series with Eastern Michigan, 10-4, in 14 career meetings between the two programs. The two teams last met in 2005, a 3-1 series win for the Tigers at Taylor Stadium. Mizzou scored 45 runs in the four-game series, outscoring EMU 45-14. Current big leaguer Max Scherzer started the first game of that series, allowing just four hits while giving up no runs and fanning 13 Eagle batters in a 7-1 Tiger win. Another future big leaguer, Doug Mathis, started the third game of that series for Mizzou, a 7-6 EMU win, the Eagles' first over Mizzou since 1984.

    Mizzou Notables vs. Eastern Michigan
    • Mizzou skipper Tim Jamieson is 6-1 in his career all-time vs. Eastern Michigan.
    • Mizzou has won eight of the last 10 meetings with Eastern Michigan.
    • The first-ever meeting between the two programs came in 1978 NCAA Mideast Regional, a 4-2 EMU win.
    • The first seven meetings in the series all came while Gene McArtor coached Mizzou. He was 4-3 vs. EMU.
    Tim Jamieson's teams have outscored EMU, 69-21, in seven career meetings.
    • No current Tigers have ever faced EMU, but current coaches Hunter Mense and Dan Pietroburgo have.
    • Mense, now a Mizzou graduate coach, went 5-10 with five runs and two RBI in four games vs. EMU.
    • Pietroburgo, a volunteer assistant with Mizzou, went 0-2 in the series.
Last Time Out
The Tigers were swept at Memphis in a three-game series at FedExField. Mizzou lost the series opener, 6-0, lost a 3-0 lead in the Saturday game, falling 5-3, and dropped the series finale, 8-2, as the bullpen wasted a great pitching performance from freshman Alec Rash. Junior Dylan Kelly put together a fine series, batting a team-best .556 with a team-high five hits and a .600 OBP. But the rest of the team struggled, hitting just .154 as a unit. In fact, Mizzou did not score more than three runs in a game last weekend and has yet to do so this season.

The Gravesyard
Sophomore starter Brett Graves has been nothing short of sensational this season. He was a tough-luck loser on Saturday at Memphis despite pitching a perfect game into the fourth. Graves sat down the first 13 batters he faced at Memphis and allowed just one unearned run with five strikeouts and just two hits until the seventh inning when he ran out of gas. So far this season, Graves has a 3.18 ERA, tops among Tiger starters, while leading the team in innings pitched (11.1) and strikeouts (10). He is second on the team in opponent batting average (.159) and is third in WHIP (1.20). Below are Graves' lines from his two starts this season.

    • at Southern Miss - 5.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 Ks, 82 pitches
    • at Memphis - 6.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 Ks, 86 pitches
    • Totals - 11.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 10 Ks, 168 pitches
Kelly on Fire
Heading into the season, there was a very competitive position battle going on at catcher, but after the first two series, junior college transfer Dylan Kelly has seemed to solidify himself as the Tigers' top option at the position. In fact, Kelly leads the team with a .412 average and his seven hits are also a team-high this season. He is also slugging a team-best .412 with a .444 OBP, the second-best clip on the team. He had a career-best three hits in the series finale at Memphis. His bat comes as no surprise to people who have followed Kelly in his career. In fact, he ranked in the top 15 nationally with his .429 average as a sophomore at Georgia College. Kelly is the only Tiger hitting better than .300 this season.

Despite the fact that Kelly has been very good this season, he hasn't solidified the catching position just yet as sophomore Jake Ivory has played very well when in the lineup. In three games (two starts) this season, Ivory is hitting .286 and slugging .429. He hit a big game-tying, two-out, two-strike double in the seventh inning of the series finale at Memphis before Memphis blew the game open.

Clutch Tiger
Mizzou has struggled to get runs across the plate early this season as it has yet to plate more than three runs in a game this season. In fact, as a team the Tigers are hitting just .167 with runners in scoring position, but one Tiger - Keaton Steele - has thrived in those situations. In fact, Steele leads the team with his .571 clip (4-for-7) in those situations and he leads the team with four RBI this season. What is even more amazing about his average with runners in scoring position is that he is hitless in his other 11 at-bats, proving that he is best in the clutch.

Opel Getting On Base
Coming into the season, there were big expectations for senior Dane Opel, who became the first Tiger to ever lead the Big 12 in home runs during the regular season in 2012. Teams have showed him a lot of respect so far this season as he has earned six free passes (two walks, four hit-by-pitch) in the first six games. In fact, his six free bases coupled with his .278 average so far give him a team-best OBP of .458. Opel's career-high for OBP in a season is just .386 as a freshman in 2010, so the .458 clip so far this season is a refreshing sign for the Tigers.

Infield Takes Shape
The infield arguably had the most competition heading into the season, but after the first two series, it has begun to take shape for Tiger head coach Tim Jamieson. In fact, the Tigers got starting shortstop Shane Segovia back for the Memphis series after he missed the opening weekend at Southern Miss with a hamstring injury. Segovia started all three games at Memphis and hit .200with a run scored and he owns a .273 OBP after his first three Division I games. And, despite Dillon Everett's injury, the Tigers have appeared to find a pretty good player in Kendall Keeton, who as the Tigers' starting second baseman this season, has hit .286 with a pair of doubles, an RBI and two runs scored. He is also slugging .381 and is second on the team with his .286 batting average. Keaton Steele has also emerged as the Tigers' starting third baseman, hitting a team-best .571 in RBI situations this season. He leads the team with four RBI this season.

Rob Z Is the Friday Night Guy
Over the past two seasons, junior lefty Rob Zastryzny entered opening day as the Saturday starter but eventually evolved into the Friday Night Guy during each of the last two seasons. In 2011, he won the Friday night job after Matt Stites started the season in the Friday night spot. Last year, Eric Anderson started the season as the Tiger ace but was sidelined early in the season, once again moving Zatryzny to the Friday night role. This year, Zastryzny enters the season as the Tiger ace. He led the Tigers with 109.0 innings pitched and 17 starts last season and boasted a 3.80 ERA, tops among Tiger starters. He struck out 76 batters and walked just 31. He has struggled by his standards this season, posting just a 6.75 ERA in 10.2 innings pitched, allowing 14 hits, five walks and eight earned runs. He has also struck out just seven batters. Look for Rob Z to get things turned around as the season progresses.

Anderson Makes First Start in Nearly a Year
There is little argument from anyone close to the Mizzou program that redshirt junior Eric Anderson is the leader of the team, and he has the scars to prove it, literally. He has recovered from two arm surgeries in his career, none more impressive than his recent recovery. In fact, Anderson underwent Tommy John surgery last May and came back to make his first start since that surgery in just a little over nine months in the Sunday game at Memphis. Anderson was on a strict two-inning limit as the Tiger coaching staff eases him back into the rotation.

At Memphis on Sunday, Anderson pitched 2.0 innings, allowing two hits (both doubles), one earned run with a walk, but he breezed through much of the Memphis order. After his start, he owns a 4.50 ERA this season. He threw 31 pitches in the start at Memphis and 19 of those 31 went for strikes. Look for Anderson to get increased innings as his conditioning and trust in his arm continue to improve.

Rash Electrifies
Freshman righty Alec Rash came into the season with lofty expectations as he was the highest-drafted high school player to go to college and he has lived up to those expectations so far this season. After tossing a perfect inning that included a strikeout of the first collegiate batter he faced at Southern Miss, Rash came back and put together a great outing at Memphis in the Sunday game of that series.

Rash came on in relief of Eric Anderson and tossed 4.0 innings, allowing just one hit, one unearned run, one walks and three strikeouts. He was a tough-luck loser in that one as he went out for his fifth inning of work and induced what appeared to be a routine ground out to short, but Shane Segovia bobbled it for an error. Rash was pulled from there, and a stolen base and two wild pitches later, that runner scored and was charged to Rash as he earned the loss. Even with that, Rash's numbers are very good so far this season. He has allowed just one hit in 5.0 innings of work while walking just one and striking out four. He has been charged with just one unearned run this season. He leads the team in ERA, WHIP and opponent batting average this season.

Good Debut for Williams
Freshman Breckin Williams was a bright spot for the Tigers at Memphis as he put together a pair of shutout appearances in the first two games of the series. He came on in the first game of the series and allowed just one hit and struck out another in his only inning of work, needed just nine pitches to get through that frame. He pitched again the next day and retired the only two batters he faced on just eight pitches, striking out one. So far this season, Williams has a perfect ERA and a WHIP of just 0.60, second-best on the team.

Great Debut For Keeton
Junior college transfer Kendall Keeton had quite the debut as a Tiger in Mizzou's season-opener at Southern Miss, reaching base in all four of his plate appearances while going 3-for-3 with a run and RBI while drawing a walk. In fact, Keeton is the first Tiger since Aaron Senne in 2007 to reach base in each of his plate appearances in a season opener. Keeton was put into the lineup after Shane Segovia went down with an injury but has made his case to stay in the lineup with his performance over the first two weekends.

James Makes History
Sophomore junior college transfer Jace James had a strong debut for the Tigers on Sunday at Southern Miss, as he threw 5.0 innings of shutout baseball, scattering just three hits and walking none as he kept a very good Southern Miss batting order in check in his first collegiate Division I outing. He is the first Mizzou opening-weekend starter since former Tiger Kyle Gibson in 2009 to allow no earned runs in an opening-weekend start. Gibson threw 6.0 innings of three hit baseball, allowing no earned runs in the 2009 season-opener against Nevada. Remember, James' start came on the road against a top-25 team as well.

A New Era Begins
2013 marks the beginning of a new era for the Mizzou baseball program as it embarks upon its inaugural season as members of the Southeastern Conference. Widely considered as the premier conference in all of college baseball, Mizzou has fared well against SEC competition in the past, boasting an all-time record of 38-36-1 against the 12 schools that both Mizzou and Texas A&M will join this season. Mizzou played two series against SEC teams last year, taking two of three at Auburn while being swept at Arkansas in a two-game midweek series. As another note, Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson is the only current SEC coach to win at least 600 games at his current school.

Recruiting Class Garners National Praise
the Mizzou baseball team transitions to the SEC this season, it will be bolstered by a 2012 recruiting that ranks 24th nationally according to Aaron Fitt at BaseballAmerica.com. The Tigers ranked one spot ahead of defending NCAA National Champion Arizona, the same team that eliminated Mizzou from the NCAA Tournament last year. The class, put together by the Mizzou coaching staff includes 19 student-athletes.

Rash Turns Down Big Money For Mizzou
One of the key contributors to the Tigers' recruiting class garnering national attention was the addition of Iowa-native Alec Rash. A second-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Phillies, Rash was the highest-drafted high school player to elect to go to school instead of beginning a major league career. While it is unknown what role Rash may fill this season, his power arm will be a welcome addition to Mizzou's pitching arsenal.

Little League World Series Connection
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 while they were in high school.

Ian Kinsler Inducted into Mizzou Hall of Fame
Former Mizzou standout Ian Kinsler was inducted into the Mizzou Athletics Hall of Fame in February. Although he played only one season at Mizzou, Tiger Head Coach Tim Jamieson credits him with being a key figure in helping turn the program around, as he was instrumental in leading Mizzou back to the NCAA Tournament in 2003, after a six-year drought. That 2003 NCAA appearance started a string of seven-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the Tiger program. After transferring to Mizzou from Arizona State and junior college, Kinsler batted .335 for Mizzou in 2003, and was third on the team with six home runs and 45 RBI. He also went 16-of-17 in stolen bases during the season, and was named 2nd-Team All-Big 12 for his efforts.

Of course, most people know Kinsler for his outstanding professional baseball career. After being drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2003, Kinsler made the big league squad in 2006, and promptly won the Rangers' Rookie of the Year award for hitting .286 with 14 homers and 55 RBI. He has since made three American League All-Star teams (2008, 2010, 2012), and hit a career-best .319 in 2008, while he followed that with a career-high 31 homers and 86 RBI in 2009.

Jamieson Signs Extension
The Mizzou Department of the Athletics and Athletics Director Mike Alden announced back in September that a two-year contract extension for Mizzou head baseball coach Tim Jamieson had been reached. The two-year deal will keep Jamieson, who is the school's longest current-tenured head coach, at Mizzou through the 2015 season.

"We're so pleased with the job Coach Jamieson is doing with our program" director of athletics Mike Alden said. "Coming off of the Big 12 Championship, we are looking forward to the challenges ahead in the SEC. Tim, his staff and our students are a tremendous reflection of the core values of the University of Missouri."

Tigers Have Strong Presence in Pros
Mizzou baseball has seen plenty of success over the last decade and proof of that is the number of players that the Tigers have sent to the major league. Since 2000, the Tigers have seen 50 players sign professional contracts and 59 Tigers have done so under the direction of Tim Jamieson. Some notable Tigers in the professional ranks include All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers and Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers and Aaron Crow of the Royals.

Francis Howell Connection
For sophomres Brett Graves, Jake Ivory and Case Munson, the 2013 season will just be an extension of their high school careers where they played together for four seasons, winning a MSHSAA State Title for Francis Howell High School last season. The trio has been playing together for nearly 10 years and should give Mizzou a strong foundation moving forward. All three will be expected to play a much bigger role this season. Here are the numbers for the three former Viking so far this season

    • Graves - 11.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 10 Ks, 3.18 ERA, .167 opponent average
    • Ivory - .286, 2 H, 1 2B, 1 RBI, .429 slugging, .286 OBP
    • Munson - .059, 1 H, .059 slugging, .111 OBP
Georgia on My Mind
With the Tigers moving to the SEC this season, three Tigers grew up in the heart of SEC country and chose to play their collegiate ball at Mizzou. Mike McGraw (Newnan, Ga.), Josh Lester (Columbus, Ga.) and Dylan Kelly (Roswell, Ga.) all call the Empire State their home.

Join Tigers on Deck
As the 2013 Mizzou baseball season inches closer, Mizzou students are reminded to join the official Mizzou baseball student section: Tigers on Deck. Mizzou students already receive free admission to every Mizzou baseball game with a student ID, but members of Tigers on Deck will be the beneficiaries of a variety of Mizzou baseball perks, including free pregame tailgates and other great promotions throughout the season, listed below. To join, e-mail MUTigersOnDeck@yahoo.com.

Buy Baseball Season Tickets
As the Mizzou baseball program prepares for its inaugural season as members of the nation's premier baseball league, the Southeastern Conference, the Tigers on counting on the support from Mizzou Nation this year. Season tickets for the 2013 Mizzou campaign are still available to the public, and the first 500 fans to purchase season tickets will receive a free Mizzou baseball hat. At just $60 for adults and $30 for youth, Mizzou baseball season tickets are one of the most affordable packages in the SEC and give fans a chance to see every game at Taylor Stadium for just $2 per contest. A family pass (two adults/two children) is also on sale for just $150.

Tigers Televised Four Times Through SEC Deal
With the Mizzou baseball program entering its inaugural season as a member of the Southeastern Conference, the program will see four of its games televised to a national audience as part of the SEC's television deal, which is widely accepted as the nation's premier college baseball television package. The Tigers will appear on ESPNU twice while appearing on the SEC Network through Fox Sports for two additional games. Mizzou's only home game as part of the SEC television deal will be on Saturday, March 30, when No. 10 LSU visits Taylor Stadium for a 1 p.m. tilt.

    Televised SEC Games
    • March 30 vs. No. 10 LSU - 1 p.m. - Fox Sports
    • April 6 at Georgia - 7 p.m. - ESPNU
    • April 13 at No. 2 Vanderbilt - 4 p.m. - ESPNU
    • May 11 at Alabama - 1 p.m. - Fox Sports

Additionally, Mizzou's regular season finale against No. 11 Kentucky has been picked up to air live on the Mizzou Sports Network. That game will air live statewide on Fox Sports Midwest.

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 23rd season of calling Tiger Baseball and is joined in the booth by Hunter Mense, who is in his third year as part of the MU broadcast team.

Mizzou Network
Video webcast for all Missouri Baseball home games in 2013 is available at mutigers.tv as part of the Mizzou Network. Mizzou Network is the Tiger fans 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.

Up Next
Mizzou will look to the weekend to avenge a 2012 sweep as the San Francisco Dons come to Columbia for a three-game series. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com or follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.