March 11, 2013
FIRST PITCH - What You Need to Know
After a 3-1 week, the Mizzou baseball program will continue at home this week, beginning with a Tuesday (March 12) contest against Jackson State at 4 p.m. Mizzou, which has won three of its last four games, will host a JSU team that is riding a seven-game winning streak after sweeping Mississippi Valley State last weekend. Mizzou on the other hand is coming off of its best week of the season, winning three of four games as it opened its home schedule.
Series History Mizzou and Jackson State have met just once back in 1984. In fact, Coach Gene McArtor's team opened that season with a 4-3 win over Jackson State en-route to compiling a 27-20-1 overall record that season.
Home Sweet Taylor Mizzou returned to Taylor Stadium last week and got some much-needed wins, going 3-1 on the week with wins over Eastern Michigan and San Francisco. It was easily the Tigers' best week of the season after opening 0-6 as the Tigers seemed to turn things around in nearly every notable stat category. Below are a few notables for the Tigers at home this season.
Notables at Taylor Stadium
Mizzou hit .280 as a team at home last week, up from its .190 clip through the first six games.
The Tigers tallied 16 RBI at home last week, doubling their total from the first six games combined.
Eight of nine Tiger batters with at least five ABs last week had at least two hits.
After striking out 9.1 times per game in the first six, Mizzou struck out just 21 times last week (5.25/game).
Mizzou committed just four errors last week, a vast improvement from their 12 in the first six games.
The pitching staff had a 2.25 ERA last week, considerably lower than the 5.25 mark in the first six games.
Mizzou starters had just a 1.43 ERA last week, allowing just four earned runs in 25.1 innings pitched.
Mizzou pitching had a 1.25 WHIP last week, down from a 1.56 mark over the first six games.
Case Munson and Scott Sommerfeld hit a combined 8-of-16 last week. They hit .033 in the first six.
Mizzou stole four bases on five attempts last week, an improvement from their 3-for-8 mark in the first six.
Last Time Out
Mizzou split a pair of games in what was supposed to be a three-game series with San Francisco over the weekend before rain cancelled the rubber match on Sunday. The Tigers won the Friday night game, 6-2, in large part due to a great performance from starter Rob Zastryzny. He tossed his first complete game since April 27 last season as he allowed just two earned runs on six hits while striking out a season-best 10 against just one walk. He allowed three doubles in the first inning, leading to the two runs, but settled in after that, allowing just three hits and four baserunners over the final eight innings.
Mizzou then lost on Saturday, 8-3, despite battling back to tie the game at 3-3 with runs in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings. The Tigers pounded out nine hits in the loss, but three errors, including two in a five-run ninth for USF, came back to bite the Tigers in the loss. Brett Graves started that game and allowed two earned runs on six hits over 5.1 innings pitched.
Rash to Start
Tuesday will mark the first career start for freshman Alec Rash, a former second-round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies and the highest-drafted player in the 2012 draft to elect to go to college rather than begin a professional career. He has appeared in three games so far this season and owns a perfect 0.00 ERA in 5.2 innings, striking out five and allowing just one hit. He leads the team in opponent batting average (.053) and has allowed the fewest hits per innings pitched on the team this season.
Notables on Rash
Leads the team in ERA (0.00), WHIP (0.88) and opponent batting average (.053).
Averages 8.6 strikeouts per nine innings, best on the team among pitchers with at least 5.0 IP.
Has allowed just one hit all season in 5.2 innings pitched.
Rash also leads the team in BABIP at .071, the only Tiger under .100 in that category.
Starters Continue to Impress
The Tiger starting pitchers have been the highlight of the season so far in 2013. In fact, in 10 games, the Tigers own a 2.82 ERA and that mark was a miniscule 1.43 in four games last week. Last week, the Tiger starters allowed just four earned runs in 25.1 innings pitched, highlighted by a pair of shutout outings by Jace James and Keaton Steele. Below are notables on the Tiger starting pitching this season.
Notbales on Starters
James Shines As Starter
Mizzou starters have allowed just two earned runs or less in seven of 10 starts this season.
Two of those seven outings have been shutout starts as well.
Mizzou starters have combined to throw 54.1 innings this season, nearly 70-percent of Mizzou's innings.
Starters have combined to throw 36 of the team's 56 strikeouts, highlighted by 17 from Rob Zastryzny.
Jace James has yet to allow a run in two starts this season, allowing just four hits in his two starts.
At home this season, Mizzou starters own a 1.43 ERA and own an 18/9 strikeout/walk ratio.
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 strikeouts and 6.0 innings pitched in that game are both Division I career-bests for James.
Notbales on Starters
Kelly on Fire
James is tied for the SEC lead in ERA (0.00) in 11.0 innings pitched this season.
James is limiting opposing batters to just a .135 average, fourth-best in the SEC.
He has allowed five hits this season, second-best in the SEC, trailing only Arkansas' Conner Kendrick (four).
Catcher Dylan Kelly
has been the Tigers' top hitter all season long and is currently riding a six-game hitting streak and a seven-game reaching base streak. At .414 this season, Kelly ranks sixth in the SEC in batting and is the second-best batting catcher in the SEC, trailing only Ole Miss' Stuart Turner (.491), who leads the SEC in batting. Below are a few notables on Kelly so far this season.
Notables on Kelly
Sommerfeld, Munson Turn It Around
Leads the team in batting (.414) , slugging (.448), RBI (five), OBP (.469), and OPS (.917).
Second-best hitting catcher in the SEC, trailing only Ole Miss's Stuart Turner, and sixth overall.
Leads the team in two-out RBIs (three) and is the Tigers' top hitter with two strikes: 7-for-18 (.388).
Is second on the team in runs scored and total bases.
Is perfect in the field with 47 put outs, 10 assists and no errors while throwing out two base stealers.
Is hitting .417 at home this season with two runs and five RBI.
Has dominated right-handed pitching this season, hitting .471 in 17 at-bats.
Riding a current six-game hit streak and has reached base safely in seven games.
Through the first six games, two Tiger batters who had high expectations this season - Scott Sommerfeld
and Case Munson
- were struggling. In fact, through the first six games Sommerfeld and Munson were a combined 1-for-30, checking in at .033 combined for the season. But a return to Taylor Stadium may have been just what each needed. In fact, the duo combined to go 8-for-16 with three runs scored and three RBI with a pair of doubles. The duo ranked 1-2 on the team in batting last week and reached base in 12 of their 20 plate appearances over the four games. Sommerfeld is currently riding a four-game hit streak while Munson has a two-game streak. Below are the lines for each last week in the Tigers' four home games.
Noting Sommerfeld and Munson at Home
Rob Z Dazzles in Friday Night Gem
Sommerfeld - .455 (5-for-11), 1 run, two RBI, 1 double, .545 slugging, .538 OPB, 1.083 OPS
Munson - .600 (3-for-5), 2 runs, one RBI, 1 double, .800 slugging, .714 OBP, 1.514 OPS
After a pair of rough starts (by his standards) to open the season, Mizzou junior lefty Rob Zastryzny
returned to form last Friday, dominating San Francisco for his first win of the season. He went 9.0 innings, allowing just two runs on six hits while striking out 10 against just one walk. It was a very noteworthy start for the Tiger lefty, so the notables are below.
Notes on Zastryzny's Start Last Friday
Keeton Continues to Impress
First complete game since April 27, 2012, at Texas Tech.
The Tigers' first 10-strikeout performance since March 23 last season (Zastryzny, 12 vs. Oklahoma State).
After allowing three doubles and two runs in the first, he retired 20 of the next 24 batters, fanning eight.
He allowed just three hits and a walk over the final eight innings of the start and retired 10 of the last 11.
His complete game was just the fifth by an SEC pitcher this season.
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 10 games, he has been one of the Tigers' top hitters checking in at .314 overall with a team-high three doubles and 14 total bases. His 11 hits are one shy of the team-best. 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.
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 nine free passes (four walks, five hit-by-pitch) in the first 10 games. In fact, his nine free bases coupled with his .276 average so far give him a .447 on-base percentage, second on the team. Opel's career-high for OBP in a season is just .386 as a freshman in 2010, so the .447 clip so far this season is a refreshing sign for the Tigers.
Bats Continue to Produce At Home
After hitting just .190 in the first six games (all on the road), Mizzou is hitting .280 as a team at home and drove in 16 runs last week, doubling their total from the previous six games combined. Eight of the nine Tigers with at least five at-bats last week all had at least two hits last week and seven of those eight had at least three hits. The Tigers hit five doubles last week, matching their total from the first six games of the season as well.
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.
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 last Wednesday in a start against Eastern Michigan. In fact, Steele allowed just two Eagle hits over 5.0 shutout innings while striking out three to earn his first Division I win. 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 last Wednesday.
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.
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.
Mizzou will open SEC play this weekend as it welcomes No. 5 South Carolina to Taylor Stadium for a three-game series beginning Friday night (March 15) at 6 p.m. The two will play game two of the series at 2 p.m. Saturday before closing the series at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Friday night game, the SEC baseball opener for Mizzou, will feature fireworks in the pregame festivities. Also, Tigers on Deck, the official Mizzou student group for Mizzou baseball, will be holding a pregame tailgate at 5 p.m. Friday. Admission to the games all weekend are free to students.