Mizzou Returns Home to Host Georgia



April 3, 2014

Mizzou Baseball (13-14) vs. Georgia (16-12-1)
When   Friday - 6 p.m. | Saturday - 2 p.m. | Sunday - 11 a.m.
Location Columbia, Mo. | Taylor Stadium
Tickets Click Here
Radio KTGR 103.1 FM/1580 AM - Tex Little (PBP), Hunter Mense (Color)
Online Coverage GT - Friday | GT - Saturday | GT- Sunday
Printable Game Notes Mizzou | Georgia
2014 Season Stats Mizzou | Georgia
Series History Mizzou leads, 2-1
Last Meeting Mizzou took 2 of 3 in Athens, Ga., Last Season
Streak Mizzou - Won 1
Social Media @MizzouBaseball,| Mizzou Network 

After a seven-game road trip that spanned more than two weeks, the Mizzou baseball team will return home for an SEC series with Georgia this weekend at Taylor Stadium. The series opener will be at 6 p.m. Friday and the Saturday game will be at 2 p.m. The game time for Sunday's game has been changed to 11 a.m. to accommodate Georgia's travel.

Junior righty Brett Graves will be back in his role as the Friday night guy after a freak incident in which he was struck in the side of the head by an errant throw during warm-ups at Ole Miss altered the Tiger rotation the last two weeks. Graves is 3-2 this season with a 2.47 ERA in seven starts. He has not lost at home in 371 days and owns a 1.80 ERA and a WHIP of 0.93 in 15.0 innings at home this season. Graves is 3-2 despite only getting 3.28 runs of support per game. He will face Georgia's Ryan Lawlor, who is 2-2 with a 4.54 ERA.

Mizzou won last year's series with Georgia, 2-1, and Keaton Steele was the SEC Player of the Week following that three-game set as he dominated at the plate and on the mound. The three meetings are the only in history between Mizzou and Georgia.

The Tigers have a chance to win two consecutive SEC series for the first time in history after taking two of three at No. 21 Auburn last week. The last time Mizzou won back-to-back series was March of 2012 when the Tigers topped Oklahoma State and High Point in back-to-back weeks.

A two-run ninth inning for Southern Illinois (15-12) proved to be the difference, as Mizzou (13-14) dropped the midweek contest to the Salukis by a 4-2 final on Tuesday night at Lindenwood University's Lou Brock Complex. The loss erased a strong outing from Breckin Williams, who threw 2.2 out of the pen including a clutch strikeout to end the fourth inning, leaving the bases stranded and the game tied at one. Peter Fairbanks made his fourth start of the season, holding the opponent to one run or fewer for the third time. His ERA as a starter now sits at 3.14.Eric Anderson provided a spark for the Tigers on offense, launching a leadoff homer in the bottom of the first over the wall in left. The longball was the second of the season for him and the team's fifth. Shane Segovia had the Tigers' only other RBI, a two-out RBI single to center to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Mizzou stranded 10 runners on base in the contest, and Keaton Steele took the loss for Mizzou, dropping to 0-4 on the year. Rain postponed Mizzou's annual Braggin' Rights at Busch Stadium game against Illinois on Wednesday as the two will now play on April 23 at Busch.

Georgia comes to Columbia fresh off a series win over Texas A&M with a 16-12-1 overall record but just 0-4-1 on the road in head coach Scott Stricklin's first season at UGA. The Bulldogs are led offensively by utilityman Hunter Cole, who plays in the outfield and at the hot corner and boasts a team-leading .319 average. Nelson Ward leads the Bulldogs in RBI, with 20, and he is tied for the team lead in home runs with two. The Bulldogs have a strong Friday-Saturday combo of starting pitchers, as Ryan Lawlor and Robert Tyler claim ERA's of 2.79 and 2.08, respectively, in SEC play.

Mizzou and Georgia have met only once before this weekend's set. The Tigers claimed a three-game series in 2013 two games to one in Athens, Ga. This will be the first time the Bulldogs come to Columbia, Mo.

With the short history between Mizzou and Georgia, here's a look at some Tiger pitchers against the Bulldogs.

    - Keaton Steele was strong in his appearance at Georgia last season, going 7.1 innings and allowing only one earned run. Through his time on the mound he fanned nine batters and scattered four hits, taking the win. He was rewarded by winning SEC Player of the Week.

    - Breckin Williams pitched three innings of relief, posting a strong three innings with only one earned run. He struck out four batters in those three frames, allowing only three hits and walking no Bulldogs.

    - Brett Graves had a rough start in Athens, getting tagged with the loss after allowing five earned runs in 3.2 innings. Graves struck out two batters, walked one and allowed seven hits as he pitched into the fourth inning last season.

The Tiger pitchers had plenty of run support against the Bulldogs last season, as the offense pushed across 29 runs in the three-game weekend set. Here's a look at the Mizzou batters' performance against Georgia last year.

    - Keaton Steele had his way with the Bulldogs last season, tallying six hits in 11 at bats, driving in three runs with two doubles and a home run. Steele also scored three runs.

    - Kendall Keeton was also a standout offensively with four hits in 10 ABs against Georgia. He matched Steele with three RBI in addition to his one run scored. He walked twice and was hit by a pitch.

    - Dylan Kelly rounded out the big three in Athens, posting a .357 average in 14 appearances (five hits) with two RBI and two runs scored. He collected five total bases from his 14 at bats against the Bulldogs.

    - Among returners, Logan Pearson, Dillon Everett, Josh Lester, Jake Ivory and Shane Segovia all tallied RBI against Georgia last season.

Mizzou baseball junior closer Keaton Steele was named SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week by the league office on Monday (March 31). Steele earned the honor after a pair of dominating performances against No. 21 Auburn, earning a pair of saves to help Mizzou win its first SEC series of the year. The two saves give Steele seven on the season, which is second in the SEC. This is the second time that Steele has been named SEC Pitcher of the Week and he is the second Tiger to earn the award this season, joining righty Brett Graves.Steele's dominance helped Mizzou pick up two wins over a ranked opponent and helped the Tigers clinch their first series win on the road over a ranked opponent since 2009. It snapped a streak of five consecutive series won by No. 21 Auburn dating back to last season.

Under the direction of pitching coach Matt Hobbs, the Tiger hurlers have done a great job limiting walks this season. In fact, the Tigers lead the SEC in walks allowed with just 55, 10 ahead of second-place LSU which has 65. The Tigers rank third nationally and first in the SEC with their miniscule 2.05 BB/9 average. Only Cal State Fullerton (1.38) and Houston (1.45) rank ahead of the Tigers and both teams are in the top-25 in all four of major polls.

Aside from ranking third nationally in walks per nine innings, the Tigers also rank in the top-10 in strikeout-walk ratio. In fact, Hobbs' hurlers rank ninth nationally at 3.17, a mark that ranks third in the pitching-heavy SEC.

Mizzou junior closer Keaton Steele ranks 11th nationally and second in the SEC with his seven saves this season. He is just five back of the Mizzou single season record (12).

Another key to the Tigers' success over the last 18 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 pitching starts. In his last 18 games Anderson is hitting .338 with an OBP of .410 while slugging .535. He has scored a team-high 16 runs and driven in eight more in that span. He was the first Tiger since 2010 to tally three doubles in a game and has reached base to leadoff a game in 11 of the last 18 games and is reaching base at a .526 clip when leading off an inning.

So far this season, pitching coach Matt Hobbs has relied heavily on sophomore lefty Austin Tribby as the team's most-used bullpen arm. He leads the team and is first in the SEC with 19 appearances and has done a great job. In fact, he is leading the team in opponent batting average at .132. Five of his team-leading 19 appearances have been to get one batter - usually a lefty - out. He leads the Tigers in ERA at 1.72 and has struck out 18 batters against just five walks, allowing five hits in 15.2 IP.

The Tiger pitching staff has been very good at striking out batters while limiting walks. In fact, the Tigers average 3.17 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 3.17 clip.

    YR K-BB - Ratio
    2014: 110-29 - 3.17
    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 2.05 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 2.05 this season. In Mizzou's first inning against Cincinnati, the Tigers had a streak of 32 innings without a walk snapped.

    Yr. BB/9
    2011: 3.70
    2012: 3.24
    2013: 3.11
    2014: 2.05

The Tigers have 23 stolen bases this season. While that number isn't turning heads on the national scene, it is in the Tiger dugout as it is already more than they had all of last season in 50 total games (20 in 2013).

Despite no longer sporting an impressive beard, senior infielder Shane Segovia still owns an impressive streak as he has reached base in 21 consecutive games. He had an RBI single Tuesday against SIU to keep the streak alive.

Junior righty Brett Graves was named the No. 22 collegiate prospect in the nation by PerfectGame.org. He is the No. 4 SEC player on the list, following Vanderbilt's Tyler Beede, LSU's Aaron Nola and Kentucky's AJ Reed.

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, 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. He was 3-1 in Vermont and allowed an ER 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.

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.

Mizzou will continue its brief homestand with a televised game against Missouri State on Tuesday. The game will air live on Mediacom22. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouBaseball.



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