Tigers Close Homestand with Milwaukee Midweek



March 17, 2014

Mizzou Baseball (9-9) vs. UW-Milwaukee (3-8)
When   Tuesday - 6 p.m. | Wednesday - 6 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 | Milwaukee
2014 Season Stats Mizzou | Milwaukee
Series History Mizzou leads, 2-1
Last Meeting Milwaukee won, 7-2, in 2006
Streak Mizzou - Won 2 of 3
Social Media @MizzouBaseball,| Mizzou Network 

The Mizzou baseball team will close a 10-game homestand with a pair of midweek games against Milwaukee this week at Taylor Stadium. The Tigers and Panthers will play at 6 p.m. on both Tuesday (March 18) and Wednesday (March 19). Admission to each contest will be free of charge.

Mizzou and Milwaukee have played just one series in history, a three-game series back in 2006 which the Tigers won two of three. The Panthers have won the most recent meeting between the two teams, a 7-2 win that Sunday to avoid a sweep. The Panthers faced a pair of first round picks in the Tiger rotation that year as they lost to Max Scherzer Friday night before rallying to defeat Aaron Crow on Sunday.

Senior catcher Dylan Kelly had a huge week against both Alcorn State and Tennessee last week. In fact, the Tiger backstop hit .538/.818/.615 last week with two doubles and five RBI while reaching base in 10 of 16 plate appearances. In all, Mizzou hit .296 as a team last weekend.

The midweek games with Milwaukee will end a 10-game homstand for the Tigers, who have went 5-3 in the previous eight games of the homestand. The Tigers are hitting .269 in that span and boast a staff ERA of 2.38. Also, Mizzou owns a 5.33 strikeout/walk ratio in those games and are averaging just 1.50 walks per nine innings in that span.

Sophomore righty Griffin Goodrich, who owns a career 2.22 ERA in five career starts, will get the nod for Mizzou Tuesday. Peter Fairbanks will make his second career start on Wednesday. The two are part of a Tiger pitching staff that has walked the fewest batters in the SEC this season (33).

Mizzou opened the weekend with an impresive, come-from-behind win over No. 17 Tennessee on Friday night, 5-2, behind another strong pitching performance from Brett Graves. Freshman outfielder Jake Ring came up with the game-tying hit in the seventh inning and later scored the go-ahead run on a sarifice fly later in the inning.The Tiger bats then went cold in a Saturday doubleheader in which the Vols swept the Tigers, 5-1 and 4-1. The win on Friday was Mizzou's first over a ranked opponent this season and the first since April 21, 2013, when Mizzou knocked off No. 20 Florida. The Vols were also the highest-ranked team that Mizzou has defeated since March 16 of last season when the Tigers topped No. 5 South Carolina. Below are some notables from the series.

    - Dylan Kelly hit .444 in the series
    - In fact, five players hit above .400 vs. UT
    - Despite that, Mizzou hit just .247 as a team
    - Mizzou allowed just nine ERs in the series

Milwaukee comes into the week at 3-8 overall and has had plenty of weather issues this season, most recently having to cancel a weekend series with Valparaiso. The Panther bats have been very good this season, averaging 6.4 runs per game and hitting .284 as a team with 29 extra-base hits. However, pitching has been a problem for the Panthers with a staff ERA of 6.07 and allowing batters to hit .290 as staff. There are just two pitchers on the staff who have ERAs under five with more than 5.0 IP. They average nearly six walks per nine innings as and have hit 12 batters.

The last time Mizzou and Milwaukee met was in 2006 and the Tigers took two of three from the Panthers at Taylor Stadium. 2013 AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer threw the first game of that series, throwing 5.0 innings and allowing just three runs while striking out nine against just one walk. Mizzou won, 14-3, despite being out-hit 11-7. The Tigers walked eight times in the game. Mizzou again was out-hit by Milwaukee in game two, but six walks and 11 Tiger hits led to a 9-5 win. KC Royals All-Star Aaron Crow then pitched game three and was charged with the loss as Milwaukee avoided the sweep on Sunday. Additionally, volunteer assistant coach Dan Pietroburgo and graduate assistant coach Hunter Mense played in that series. Pietroburgo had one AB and was hit by a pitch. Mense went 1-for-8 with two walks and an HBP, scoring three runs.

Mizzou is 6-3 over its last nine games and a big reason why has been the performance of the Tiger pitching staff. In fact, the Tigers have a staff ERA of 2.11 and a WHIP of just 1.07 as they have dominated the competition. In that span, the Tiger hurlers have struck out 70 against just 14 walks and own a miniscule 1.56 walks per nine inning average. In the last nine games, the Tiger pitchers have allowed just 16 extra-base hits and limited batters to a .232 batting average. The Tiger pitchers struck out 22 UT batters with just four BBs last weekend.

Another key to the Tigers' success over the last nine 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 as well, doing so in his last two starts. In his last nine games Anderson is hitting .353 with an OBP of .415. He has scored eight runs and driven in four more in that span. He also hit his first Division I homer against Alcorn State and has reached base safely in 11 straight.

Junior righty Brett Graves has put together as impressive of a four-game streak as there is in the country this season in his last four starts. He has owned some impressive streaks this season, going 16.1 shutout innings and 30.2 without an extra-base hit. He has went at least 70 innings in his last four starts and owns an ERA of 0.90 in 30.0 IP over those four starts. He is limiting batters to a .157 average in that span and has struck out 24 against just three walks (8:1 ratio). He has allowed just three earned runs in that span, going 3-0 with a 0.70 WHIP.

He has allowed just 21 baserunners in his last four starts and given up just two extra-base hits, both of which came last Friday against Tennessee. He has won his last three starts and is the first Tiger to win three consecuitve starts since Blake Holovach won five straight starts in 2012.

- 3rd - IP - 34.2
- 6th - 2B allowed - 2
- 11th - OPP BA - .168
- 11th - Ks - 27
-12th - IP/G - 7.0
- 13th - BB allowed - 5
- 13th - R allowed - 4
- 15th - ERA - 1.30

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 five saves this season, just seven shy of the school record (12 by Ryan Stegall in 2000). He now has seven saves in his career at Mizzou, two back of 11th all-time at Mizzou as well. Currently, Steele is tied for third in the SEC with his five saves this season and is second in the SEC in games finished while ranking third with his 11 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 second in the SEC with 12 appearances and has done a great job. In fact, he is leading the team in opponent batting average at .100. Five of his team-leading 12 appearances have been to get one batter - usually a lefty - out. He went 1.2 innings last weekend against Tennesse and allowed just one baserunner - on an error.

Despite being moved from Friday to Saturday last week, junior righty John Miles had a good start in each of his last two outings. In fact, he is 1-1 over his last two starts with a 3.86 ERA over 11.2 IP with 10 strikeouts and just two walks.

Senior righty Eric Anderson moved back into the weekend rotation in each of the last two weeks. He is coming off of one of the best outings of his career, firing 6.0 innings, allowing just five hits and no walks while striking out a career-best eight. He allowed just one earned run in the start.

The Tiger pitching staff has been very good at striking out batters while limiting walks. In fact, the Tigers average 4.00 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 seen even better this year with the 3.79 clip. Below is a look at the numbers under Coach Hobbs.

    YR K-BB - Ratio
    2014: 110-29 - 4.00
    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 1.85 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 five in 34.2 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 33 batters this season, the best clip in the SEC

    Yr. BB/9
    2011: 3.70
    2012: 3.24
    2013: 3.11
    2014: 1.85

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 three of five games last week, Mizzou scored in the first inning, continuing a recent trend for the Tiger bats. In fact, Mizzou has scored in the first inning in six of the last nine games, winning five of those games. In fact, Mizzou has scored in the first inning in eight games this season and owns a 7-1 mark in those contests.

Although the Tiger bats have struggled at times this season, they still have 10+ hits in seven games - it took Mizzou 33 contests a year ago to have seven 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.

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.

The Tigers continue SEC play this weekend, making their first trip to Ole Miss since the 2009 NCAA Oxford Regional. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouBaseball



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