March 11, 2013
By Brandon Weiss, MUTigers.com correspondent
A return home was just what Mizzou baseball needed, winning three of four contests in the week to bounce back from a disappointing 0-6 start. It started with a doubleheader sweep over Eastern Michigan, a short set in which Mizzou allowed just one run over the two seven-inning games. The Tigers then took the Friday night contest over the San Francisco Dons by a 6-2 tally before dropping Saturday's game 8-3.
We take a look back at the week in Mizzou baseball with the third edition of The Extra Nine.
1 - Rob Zastryzny Regains His Rhythm
A return to the Taylor Stadium mound worked wonders for Mizzou's Friday night starter, who threw a complete game to open the weekend set against the Dons. In the game, Zastryzny tallied 10 strikeouts, falling just two short of his career-high 12. After allowing two runs in the first inning, the lefty found his form by shutting down the Dons the rest of the way, allowing just three hits over the game's final eight innings and striking out the last batter he faced.
2 - Jace James Is Lights Out
3 - Dylan Kelly Lighting It Up
James debuted for Mizzou in the opening weekend against Southern Mississippi, a game in which he threw five shutout innings but finished with a no decision. He took the mound on Wednesday for the Tigers against Eastern Michigan and went six scoreless, allowing just one hit and striking out five. He was relieved by Alec Rash and Breckin Williams, who closed out the game for the 1-0 win. James has allowed no earned run and just four hits in 11.0 innings as a starter this season.
Kelly leads all Tigers with a .414 batting average and five RBI. The catcher is second on the team in total bases, claiming 13 thus far this season, and he can boast a team-best .917 OPS. His offensive contributions have been timely, notching a three-RBI single against EMU to bust the game open and put Mizzou over the three-run barrier for the first time this season. In Saturday's contest against San Francisco, Kelly tied the game at three with a double off the left field wall.
4 - Josh Lester Raking
The freshman infielder claimed his first RBI of the season in James's start against EMU, a game-winning sacrifice fly to center. His first run driven in quickly led to more, as he finished the week with four RBI in four games, getting two against EMU and two more over the weekend against the Dons.
5 - Kendall Keeton Still Hot
Keeton stood out against EMU, going 4-for-5 from the plate and 3-for-3 in game two of the double header. Through the week, the infielder went 5-for-14 with one RBI and three runs scored. Keeton saw time as leadoff hitter after Wednesday's first game, his first action at the top of the order, and he remained in that position for the rest of the week.
6 - Sommerfeld Gets It Going
After entering the week without a hit on the year, Scott Sommerfeld went off for five hits, notching at least one in every game played against Eastern Michigan and San Francisco. Sommerfeld accounted for two RBI and a run, the decisive score in the Tigers' 1-0 defeat of the Eagles.
7 - Opel Outstanding Defensively
With a USF runner trying to score in the second inning of Saturday's game, Dane Opel fielded a grounder and gunned the ball home, keeping the Dons from adding on to their two-run lead. That was one of Opel's outfield-leading four assists. Opel also can claim a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage to go with his .276 batting average, good for third-best on the team.
8 - Injury Update
Dillon Everett and Gavin Stark both missed this week's action. Everett is working his way back from a hand injury suffered against Southern Miss, and he participated in batting practice and fielding drills this week. Stark suffered a knee injury during in-and-out against Memphis, and he is listed as day-to-day.
9 - What's Next
It's a big week upcoming for Mizzou baseball, as the team welcomes national power South Carolina (13-2) to Taylor Stadium for a weekend series, the first conference matchup for the Tigers in the SEC. The Gamecocks are coming off a sweep of Rider, and they will have two midweek tune-ups before coming to Columbia. Mizzou has one midweek game, a Tuesday matchup against Jackson State (9-6).