Tigers Welcome San Francisco to Taylor Stadium

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March 7, 2013

Series: Mizzou (2-6) vs. San Francisco (5-7)
When March 8-10, 2013 | 6 p.m., 2 p.m., 1 p.m.
Location Columbia, Mo. | Taylor Stadium
Tickets Purchase Here
TV NONE
Radio KTGR - 103.1 FM, 100.5 FM, 1580 AM
Online Coverage Listen | GT - Friday | GT -Saturday | GT - Sunday
Printable Game Notes Missouri
Season Stats MissouriSan Francisco |
Series History USF leads, 3-0
Last Meeting Mizzou lost, 6-0, on Feb. 26, 2012
Streak USF - Won 3
Social Media @MUTigerBaseball, @MUTigersOnDeck  | Mizzou Network 

First Pitch - What You Need to Know
After picking up its first two wins of the season on Wednesday in a doubleheader sweep of Eastern Michigan, the Mizzou baseball team will return to Taylor Stadium this weekend to host the San Francisco Dons. Game one of the series will be played at 6 p.m. Friday (March 8) while game two will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday (March 9). The series finale will be Sunday (March 10) at 1 p.m.

Series History • Mizzou and San Francisco had never met until a three-game series at USF last season. The Dons took all three meetings, stifling the Tiger bats in the sweep. In fact, Mizzou scored just two runs in the three games, losing 3-1, 3-1 and 6-0 in the three games. Below are notables for the Tigers vs. USF.

    Mizzou Notables vs. San Francisco
    • The Tigers are 0-3 all-time against San Francisco with all three meetings coming at USF last season.
    • Mizzou owns just a .156 batting average in three career meetings with the Dons.
    • Mizzou was limited to just 14 hits over the three games at USF in 2012.
    Scott Sommerfeld leads the Tigers with three career hits against the Dons and is hitting a team-best .500.
    • Sommerfeld is the only returning Tiger to have more than one hit vs. USF last season.
    Eric Anderson tossed 7.1 innings of two-run baseball, fanning five and walking just one vs. USF in 2012.
    Rob Zastryzny allowed three earned runs while striking out five in 5.1 innings in his start vs. USF in 2012.
    • Saturday starter Brett Graves allowed a run, two walks and two hits in 0.2 innings last year at USF.
    • Reliever John Miles was great at USF last season, allowing just one hit in 2.0 innings while fanning four.

San Francisco Connections • There are more interesting notes for the Tigers and Dons heading into the weekend. In fact, Mizzou pitching coach Matt Hobbs, now in his third year with the Tigers, spent the 2010 season as the pitching coach at the University of San Francisco. His staff ranked fourth in the West Coast Conference in ERA and the second-fewest walks per nine innings. He also coached future first-round pick Kyle Zimmer and was instrumental in converting him from an infielder to a pitcher. Another interesting note is that USF head coach Nino Giarratano graduated from Mid-Missouri's William Jewell in 1985.

Last Time Out
Mizzou earned its first two wins of the season on Wednesday in a doubleheader sweep of Eastern Michigan at Taylor Stadium. Mizzou earned its first shutout of the season and first since May 23 last season (vs. Texas) in the first game of the series, blanking EMU 1-0. The Tiger bats then came alive in the series finale, tallying nine hits and seven runs, both season-highs for Mizzou. Jace James earned the win in game one, allowing just one hit over 6.0 shutout innings while Breckin Williams earned his first career save in the win. Keaton Steele earned the win in game two in what was his first Division I start. He allowed just two hits in 5.0 innings of shutout work.

Starters Continue to Impress
Despite the 2-6 record, the Tiger starting pitching has been outstanding this season. In fact, the Tiger starters have combined to allow just 13 earned runs in 40 innings of work while striking out 26 batters. In fact, over the last three starts, Mizzou has allowed just one earned run over 13.0 innings pitched. The numbers are even better if you take away Friday night starter Rob Zastryzny's two starts as the remaining starters have combined for a 1.54 ERA in six starts, striking out 18 and allowing just 14 hits in those 29.1 innings. In Mizzou's doubleheader sweep of Eastern Michigan, the starters - Keaton Steele and Jace James - combined to allow just three hits over 11.0 shutout innings while striking out eight Eagle batters.

James Shines As Starter
As mentioned above, the starting rotation has been nothing short of sensational for Mizzou this season and a big reason why is junior college transfer Jace James. In his two starts, James has allowed just four hits over 11.0 innings pitched while striking out six and walking just three. He is coming off of a career-best outing against Eastern Michigan in which he threw 6.0 innings of one-hit baseball (a bloop single to boot) while striking out five. The five Ks and 6.0 innings pitcher are both Division I career-bests for James.

Steele Also Impresses In Second Division I Appearance
After being roughed up in his first pitching appearance, junior college transfer Keaton Steele showed why he is one of the best two-way players in the SEC on Wednesday in a start against Eastern Michigan. In fact, Steele allowed just Eagle hits over 5.0 shutout innings while striking out three to earn his first Division I. Heading into the season, Steele may have been the Tigers' top choice as closer, but after getting roughed up coming on in relief this season (four ERs in 0.2 innings pitched) he may now be looked at as a midweek starter for Mizzou after his outing Wednesday.

The Gravesyard
Sophomore starter Brett Graves has been nothing short of sensational this season. He was a tough-luck loser in the Saturday game at Memphis last time out 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 weekend starters, while leading the team in innings pitched (11.1) and strikeouts (10). He also owns a .159 opponent batting average this season. 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

Bats Come Alive
It was pretty apparent that during the Tigers' six losses to open the season that they were struggling at the plate. That changed on Wednesday in game two of the Eastern Michigan doubleheader. In fact, Mizzou tallied a season-best seven runs on nine hits, also a season-best. The encouraging part for the Tigers in that game is that two players tallied multi-hit games while five different players drove in runs, highlighted by three from junior catcher Dylan Kelly.

Additionally, the top of the Tiger order was a bright spot in that game for the first time this season. In fact, the first three spots in the order combined to go 4-for-8 with three runs scored and five RBI in the win while drawing a pair of walks.

Kelly on Fire
Heading into the season, there was a very competitive position battle going on at catcher, but after the first three 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 .409 average and his nine hits are also second-best on the team this season. He is also owns a team-best .458 OBP and is second on the team in RBI. He drove in three runs and went 2-for-6 in the Eastern Michigan doubleheader on Wednesday while hitting in the three hole for the first time in his Division I career. 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 four games (three starts) this season, Ivory is hitting .222. 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.

Keeton Continues to Impress
Despite not figuring into the mix in the Tiger infield during preseason camp, injuries to Dillon Everett and Shane Segovia have led to increased playing time for Kendall Keeton and the Columbia, Tenn., native has taken advantage of that opportunity. In fact, through the first eight games, he has arguably been the Tigers' top hitter checking in at .385 overall with a team-high three double and 13 total bases. His 10 hits are also a team-best as is his .500 slugging percentage and his .929 OPS. As Everett and Segovia continue to heal, when they return it is going to be tough to take Keeton's bat out of the Tiger lineup.

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 .203 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 13 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 ever to 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 seven free passes (three walks, four hit-by-pitch) in the first eight games. In fact, his six free bases coupled with his .261 average so far give him a .433 on-base percentage. Opel's career-high for OBP in a season is just .386 as a freshman in 2010, so the .433 clip so far this season is a refreshing sign for the Tigers.

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 5.2 innings of work while striking out four. He has been charged with just one unearned run this season. He leads the team in ERA and opponent batting average (0.53) 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. He was good again in the Eastern Michigan series, coming on to earn the final out of game one to earn his first career save. So far this season, Williams has a perfect ERA and a WHIP of just 0.50, the 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 sophomores 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.

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 continue its homestand as it welcomes Jackson state for a midweek game before opening SEC play with sixth-ranked South Carolina, which has been to three straight College World Series Finals, winning two before falling to Arizona last season. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.

 

 

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