Mizzou Welcomes Alcorn St. Midweek



March 10, 2014

Mizzou Baseball (6-7) vs. Alcorn State (1-13)
When   Tuesday - 6 p.m. | Wednesday 4 p.m.
Location Columbia, Mo.| Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium
Tickets Click Here
TV None
Radio KTGR 103.1 FM/1580 AM - Tex Little (PBP), Hunter Mense (Color)
Online Coverage GT - Tuesday | GT - Wednesday | Stat Broadcast
Printable Game Notes Mizzou
2014 Season Stats Mizzou | IPFW
Series History First Meeting
Last Meeting NA
Streak NA
Social Media @MizzouBaseball,| Mizzou Network 

After winning two of three from Southern Miss last weekend, the Tigers will remain home this week as they host Alcorn State for a pair of midweek games on Tuesday and Wednesday at Taylor Stadium. Tuesday's game will begin at 6 p.m. while Wednesday's contest will start at 4 p.m. This is the first ever meeting between Mizzou and the SWAC's Alcorn State.

After playing its first 10 games away from home, Mizzou finally got to play at home last weekend as it took two of three from Conference USA foe Southern Miss. In all, the Tigers won the weekend series and the season series, 3-1, over Southern Miss after the Golden Eagles swept Mizzou in Hattiesburg last season. Mizzou won, 4-1, behind a strong pitching performance from Brett Graves on Friday and then scored five runs over the first two innings while holding on for a 6-4 win on Saturday. Mizzou then fell, 2-1, on Sunday in the series finale. The Tiger pitching staff compiled a 1.67 ERA for the weekend and limited batters to .210 hitting. The pitchers struck out 25 against just four walks last weekend.

Coming into the midweek games with Alcorn State, Mizzou has won three of its last four games and in those four games, pitching has been the story. The Tigers own a staff ERA of 1.25 and boast an impressive 31/6 strikeout/walk ratio. Even more impressive is that the Tigers are averaging just 1.5 walks per nine innings over the last four games and own a staff WHIP of 0.83.

Sophomore righty Griffin Goodrich will make his second start of the season Tuesday against Alcorn State. This season, the Kirkwood, Mo., native has a 1.23 ERA in two appearances and a career 0.99 ERA as a starter. His last start was against Liberty, going 5.1 IP, allowing six hits, one run with three strikeouts and no walks.

Mizzou came home to Taylor Stadium for a three-game set with Southern Miss and went 2-1, just missing a series sweep after a 2-1 loss in the series finale. The Tigers won, 4-1, behind a strong start from Brett Graves on Friday. The bats then came alive in the first two innings on Saturday, plating five runs before holding on to win, 6-4. Jake Ring stole home late in that game to give Mizzou a late insurance run. On Sunday, a two-run homer off of starter Eric Anderson in the fourth inning was the difference as the Tigers scratched across just one run in the game. Below are some notables from the week.

    - Mizzou pitching owns a 25/4 K/BB ratio
    - The pitching staff averaged just 1.33 BB/9
    - Mizzou had an ERA of 1.67 and a 0.96 WHIP
    - The Tigers walked 12 times last week

Alcorn State has struggled this season and comes into the week at 1-13 overall. The school's only win this season came in a 3-2 Saturday decision against Alabama A&M on March 1. The Braves and Mizzou share one common opponent - Southern Miss. The Golden Eagles beat the Braves, 8-4, on Feb. 25. Of course, Mizzou has taken three of four from Southern Miss this season. This is the first ever meeting between the two teams.

Starting Tuesday against Alcorn State will be sophomore righty Griffin Goodrich, who is coming off of a very impressive start against Liberty on Feb. 25. He went a career-long 5.1 innings, allowing just six hits and no walks with an earned run and three strikeouts. The start moved his career ERA as a starter to 0.99, a good sign for the Tigers as they prepare to host Alcorn State Tuesday. This season, he has appeared in two games and boasts a 1.23 ERA.

Mizzou is 3-1 over its last four games and a big reason why has been the performance of the Tiger pitching staff. In fact, the Tigers have a staff ERA of 1.25 and a WHIP of just 0.83 as they have dominated the competition. In that span, the Tiger hurlers have struck out 31 against just six walks and own a miniscule 1.50 walks per nine inning average. In the last four games, the Tiger pitchers have allowed just five extra-base hits and limited batters to a .178 batting average. He has reached base safely twice in each of his last two games and currently owns a team-long six-game hitting streak heading into the week.

Another key to the Tigers' success over the last four games has been the emergence of a leadoff hitter as fifth-year senior Eric Anderson has been very good at the top of the order. He became the first player under Tim Jamieson to hit in the leadoff spot while starting a game on the mound on Sunday as well. In his last four games Anderson is hitting .353 with an OBP of .389. He has scored four runs and driven in another in that span.

Junior righty Brett Graves has put together as impressive of a three-game streak as there is in the country this season in his last three starts. He moved to the Friday night spot last week against Southern Miss and did not dissapoint, going 8.0 innings, allowing five hits, one run with just one walk and a career-best eight strikeouts. He threw first-pitch strikes to 21 of 29 batters as he got ahead all night. He earned his second win in the outing., but did have his 16.1 shutout inning streak snapped in the game.

Over his last three starts, Graves has been even better than his season numbers. He has gone 23.0 innings, allowing just 10 hits, two walks and one run while striking out 20. He has not allowed an extra-base hit in that span and is limiting batters to .125 hitting in those three starts. He has also not allowed an extra-base hit in 27.0 consecutive innings - since the first inning of his first start of the season. He has a 0.57 WHIP over his last three starts.

- 2nd - IP - 27.2
- 4th - 2B allowed - 1
- 8th - OPP BA - .144
- 10th - Ks - 23
- 13th - ERA - 0.98
- 13th - BB allowed - 4
- 13th - R allowed - 4

Tiger righty Keaton Steele has emerged as the team's closer, giving them a true closer for the first time in several seasons. He already has four saves this season, just eight shy of the school record (12 by Ryan Stegall in 2000). He now has six saves in his career at Mizzou, three back of 11th all-time at Mizzou as well. He has yet to allow an extra-base hit in 11.1 innings and owns a WHIP of 1.06 and a perfect ERA as he has yet to allow an earned run. Currently, Steele is tied for third in the SEC with his four saves this season and leads the SEC in games finished while ranking eighth with his eight appearances.

So far this season, pitching coach Matt Hobbs has relied heavily on sophomore lefty Austin Tribby as the team's lefty specialist. He leads the team and ranks third in the SEC with nine appearances and has done a great job. In fact, he is leading the team in opponent batting average at .118. Five of his team-leading nine appearances have been to get one batter - usually a lefty - out.

Despite being moved from Friday to Saturday last week, junior righty John Miles had a good start in a 6-4 win over Southern Miss. He allowed just five hits over 5.1 innings and just a pair of earned runs while striking out a career-best six. His 5.1 IP was his longest outing since May 12, 2012, against Memphis.

Senior righty Eric Anderson moved back into the weekend rotation last weekend. He went 4.0 innings, allowing just two runs and four hits while striking out four, matching his most Ks since Feb. 24, 2012. It was his longest outing since May 17, 2013, in a win over Kentucky as he continues to recover from an elbow issue which flared up at the beginning of the season.

The Tiger pitching staff has been very good at striking out batters while limiting walks. In fact, the Tigers average 3.72 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 3.72 clip. Below is a look at the numbers under Coach Hobbs.

    YR K-BB - Ratio
    2014: 57-16 - 3.72
    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 1.95 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 1.95 this season. In Mizzou's first inning against Cincinnati, the Tigers had a streak of 32 innings without a walk snapped. Brett Graves has been one of the Tigers' best at not walking batters with just four in 27.2 innings. He went 13.2 consecutive innings without allowing a walk earlier this season. The Tigers are 10th nationally and second in the SEC in BB/9. Mizzou has also walked just 25 batters this season, the second-best clip in the SEC

    Yr. BB/9
    2011: 3.70
    2012: 3.24
    2013: 3.11
    2014: 1.95

Another trend developing is the Tigers' ability to score in the sixth inning this season. The Tigers have plated 17 runs in the sixth, their most in any inning.

In Missouri's two wins over the weekend, the Tigers scored early to jump on top of the Golden Eagles. In Friday's contest, the two Mizzou runs in the first inning proved to be enough to win as Graves was dominant for all eight innings on the mound. The Tigers plated five runs in the first two frames on Saturday, pouncing on opposing pitching to claim a safe cushion early. In fact, Mizzou is outscoring its opponents, 23-14, in the first three innings this season, including a 10-4 mark in the first.

Although the Tiger bats have struggled at times this season, they still have 10+ hits in four games - it took Mizzou 27 contests a year ago to have four 10+ hit games. Also, in Mizzou's 15-3 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 runs vs. Radford are the most for a Tiger team since March 14, 2012, when Mizzou plated 21 runs against North Dakota.

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.

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.

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 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.

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 was 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.

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 locker room, coaches office and improved seating at Taylor Stadium. The new facility will be one of the best baseball facilities in the nation and 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.

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.

Mizzou will be televised 11 times in 2014, including four times through the SEC/ESPN deal.

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.

Mizz opens its second season of SEC play on Friday as it welcomes No. 17 Tennessee to Taylor Stadium for a three-game set. It will be the first ranked opponent for Mizzou this season. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouBaseball.



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