April 4, 2012
Mizzou (16-11) vs. Baylor (22-7)
• Date: April 5-7
• Location: Columbia, Mo.
• Stadium: Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium(3,031)
• Gametracker: MUTigers.com
• Radio: KTGR 1580 AM/100.5 FM
• Media Notes: Series Notes - vs. Baylor
First Pitch - What You Need to Know
The Mizzou baseball team will host Big 12 leader Baylor this weekend at Taylor Stadium, beginning Thursday at 6 p.m. The teams will then play again at 6 p.m. on Friday before playing in the series finale at 11 a.m. on Sunday morning. Baylor comes into the weekend series as the first-ever team to win its first nine conference games as it has swept Kansas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State at home already. Despite coming in at 22-7 overall, Baylor is just 3-4 in road contests and has played just three games outside of the state of Texas this season. It's farthest road trip was to Houston last week. Baylor leads the overall series with Mizzou, 30-26-1, but Mizzou won two of the three meetings in Waco last season.
Pack Taylor for Baylor •With Big 12 leader Baylor coming to town this weekend, the Mizzou baseball team is offering several special promotions for the series. In fact, all weekend kids 12 and under will get in for free and admission for Mizzou students will also be free of charge. Also, children and welcome to Saturday's game where they can meet the Easter Bunny and participate in an Easter egg hunt following the game.
Tigers Fourth In the Big 12 •After going 1-2 at No. 6 Texas A&M last weekend, the Tigers are now 3-3 in Big 12 play, ranking them fourth in the Big 12 this season. The series between the Tigers and Aggies last weekend was a wild one as the Tigers were a few breaks away from sweeping the three-game set, losing the two games by a combined three runs. The Tiger offense was hot in the series, pounding out 32 hits over the three games, including 17 on Friday, one off of the Tigers' season-best.
Six Batters Hitting Better Than .300 •Heading into the Baylor series, the Tigers' top six hitters are all hitting better than .300, highlighted by a .345 clip. Mizzou and Texas Tech are the only two teams in the Big 12 to have their top six hitters batting better than .300. It is also worth noting that Mizzou has not finished a season with six player hitting over .300 since 2008. That year, Mizzou earned a No. 2 seed in the Coral Gables Regional.
Tigers Hitting over .300
Scott Sommerfled (.345, 29-of-84), Ben Turner (.325, 27-of-83), Conner Mach (.317, 31-of-101), Brannon Champagne (.312, 29-of-93), Dane Opel (.307, 27-of-88) and Blake Brown(.304, 28-of-92).
Tigers Second in Big 12 in Stolen Base Percentage
Heading into the weekend, Mizzou is one of the Big 12's top base stealing teams, according to the percentages. In fact, the Tigers have swiped 38 bags this season while being caught just nine times, good for a stolen base percentage of .809. That is second in the league to only Texas Tech (.812). It is also an improvement from last year's team that stole bases at just a .712 rate. Not Tiger has been caught more than twice this season while the Tigers' eight regular position players have a succes rate of 83-percent (34-of-41). Blake Brownleads the team with nine stolen bases.
Tigers Third in Big 12 in Home Runs
Outfielder Blake Brownhit his seventh home run of the season last Saturday at Texas A&M, which moves Mizzou's season total to 16 through 27 games, a mark that ranks third in the Big 12 behind Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. The 16 home runs is also just six back of the Tigers' total from a season ago. In fact, at this point last season, Mizzou had just five home runs as a team as Mizzou has emerged as one of the most exciting offensive clubs in the Big 12 this season.
Individually, the Tigers have two of the Big 12's top four home run hitters in Brown and Dane Opel. Brown leads the team with seven and ranks second in the Big 12 while Opel sits right behind him with five, a mark that ranks fourth in league. The two rank fourth and sixth in the league in slugging, respectively, at .576 and .568.
Brown Own's League-Best 14-Game Hit Streak
Heading into the weekend, Mizzou's Blake Brown is riding a 14-game hitting streak, which is the longest such streak by a Big 12 player this season, matching OSU's Zack Fish. Should Brown hit safely in Thursday's game, he will set the mark for the longest streak by a Big 12 player this season. Brown's 14-game hit streak is longer than any hit streak by a Tiger and is the best streak suck streak since Aaron Sennehit safely in 19 consecutive games in 2010.
Champagne Also Owns Impressive Streak
Blake Brown isn't the only Tiger boasting an impressive streak heading into the Baylor series as Tiger center fielder Brannon Champagne has reached base in 19 consecutive games, the longest by a Tiger this season. It is worth noting that Champagne is seven back of Texas' Mark Payton (26 straight games) for the Big 12 lead this season. His streak matches the longest by a Tiger since Brett Nicholas reached base in 19 straight games in 2010 (also, Michael Liberto reached base 23 times that season while Aaron Sennedid so in 32 straight games).
Holovach Second in Big 12 in Wins
This weekend, fans will get to see the Big 12's two most winningest pitchers in Mizzou's Blake Holovach (5-0) and Baylor's Trent Blank (7-0). In fact, Holovach's five wins this season are second in the Big 12 as he is slowly moving up the single season wins list at Mizzou. In fact, despite all of the good pitchers that Mizzou has had over the last several years, Holovach is just four back of tying 10th place all-time at Mizzou and just five wins back of tying seventh place in a single season. Of course, current Kansas City Royal Aaron Crowis the single season leader in wins at Mizzou with his 13 in 2008. Holovach ranks among the nation's top 20 in wins this season.
Better as a Starter
Junior lefty Blake Holovach has been nothing short of sensational since he was inserted into the Tigers' weekend rotation. He tossed a complete game shutout against High Point on March 18, doing so on 115 pitches. He is the first Tiger since 2010 to toss a nine-inning complete game and the first since Kyle Gibsonin 2009 to toss a complete game shutout. He nearly threw another complete game against Oklahoma State, going 8.2 innings while allowing just one unearned run. Since being inserted into the starting rotation, Holovach's numbers have been very impressive. Below is a look:
• In starting rotation: 35.2 IP, 1.26 ERA, 23 hits, 5 ER, 8 BB, 22 Ks, .178 OPP BA, 1.01 WHIP
• Out of Bullpen: 2.2 IP, 16.88 ERA, 9 hits, 5 ER, 5 BB, 3 Ks, .563 OPP BA, 5.62 WHIP
Holovach is currently fifth in the Big 12 in ERA, but his numbers as a starter would rank even higher. He would be first in ERA (1.26), first in opponent batting average (.178) and second in wins (five).
Walsh Seventh Nationally With Eight Saves
Sophomore reliever Jake Walsh enters this weekend ranked seventh nationally with eight saves this season. What is even more remarkable about Walsh's eight saves is that he is now tied for fourth on Mizzou single-season saves list and sits just four back of tying Ryan Stegallfor the single season school record (12 in 2000). Walsh needs just two more saves to crack the career top-10 list at Mizzou as well. He is currently the Big 12's leader in saves and is third in appearances at 16, also a team-best total.
Sommerfeld Continues to Hit
Tiger junior outfielfer Scott Sommerfeld has emerged as the Tigers' top hitter this season with a .345 batting average heading into this weekend's series with Baylor. Sommerfeld showed glimpses of great production last season, hitting .304 in 102 at-bats but the Tigers struggled to find a spot for him on the field. This season, he has shown even more improvement at the dish as he ranks 10th overall in hitting and third in batting average in Big 12 games (.444). Brannon Champagne (.381) and Ben Turner(.375) are 10th and 11th as well.
Emens Closing In on All-Time Big 12 Top 10
With 84 career appearances on the mound, Tiger senior Jeff Emensis closing in on the all-time Big 12 top 10 in career appearances. He is the league's active leader in that category, four ahead of Texas A&M's Estevan Uriegas (80). In all, Emens needs 21 more appearances on the mound to earn a spot in the all-time top-10. He has appeared in 13 of the Tigers' 26 games this season and is on pace to crack the top 10 should the Tigers reach the postseason. His single season career-best in appearances is 25 in 2009. Emens is currently 11th in Big 12 in ERA at 2.89 as well.
Turner Catches Nearly Every Inning
Senior catcher Ben Turner has caught nearly every inning (200.2 of 235.2) for the Tigers so far this season and will likely continue that pace all season. Turner is tops on a depth chart at the catcher position that includes three newcomers and a redshirt freshman. Although it is early, something to track will be the amount of innings that Turner will catch this season. Since 2004, no Tiger catcher has started more than 54 games (JC Field in 2006) and Turner has started all 18 this season. Turner's 44 starts at catcher last season are the most since Trevor Colemanstarted 53 games in 2008. Turner has 25 starts at catcher this season.
Tigers Named Team of the Week by CBI
The Mizzou baseball team earned a prestigious honor earlier this season as College Baseball Insider named Mizzou as its Central Region Team of the Week after it put together a 4-0 week from March 5-11. The Tigers' four wins on the week included a three-game series sweep of Charlotte, a team that ranked No. 41 in CBI's Top-50 Poll before the week started.
Opel Named to College Baseball360.com's Honor Roll
Mizzou junior outfielder Dane Opelwas named to Collegebaseball360.com's Primetime Performer Weekly Honor Roll for his play from March 4-11 in four Tiger wins, including a three-game sweep of Charlotte at Taylor Stadium. The award program takes into account much more than statistics, it looks into factors such as clutch play, all around performance, and leadership. Opel's hit .462, had five RBI's, scored six runs, and had fifteen total bases on the week and had a huge series in a Tiger sweep over Charlotte, a team that ranked among CollegeBaseball360.com's.
Opel Earns Big 12 Player of the Week
Junior lefty Dane Opel had arguably his best weekend as a Tiger at Auburn in week one, leading the Tigers with a .500 average in three games while hitting a pair of home runs and driving in four. He also scored a pair of runs, walked once and slugged 1.000 with an OBP of .538. He became the first Tiger since 2010 to tally a pair of home runs in a single game. For his efforts that weekend, Opel was honored as the Big 12 Player of the Week, becoming the first Tiger to earn a Big 12 weekly honor since Jonah Schmidtearned Big 12 Player of the Week following the Tigers' series win at Kansas State on May 9 last season.
Tigers Picked Fifth in the Big 12
The Mizzou baseball team was picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 this season as announced by the conference office on Feb. 14. The fifth-place pick is the highest for the Tigers since 2009, when they were also picked fifth. The highest that Mizzou has ever been picked in the preseason poll is second in 2008.
Mach Returns After Being Drafted
Tiger third baseman Conner Machreturned to Mizzou for his senior season despite being one of four Tigers drafted in last year's MLB Draft. Mach was drafted in the 46th round by the New York Yankees. Mach finished the season hitting .285 with 32 RBI and 31 runs scored. He boasted an OBP of .378 and slugged .399 on the year with 17 extra-base hits and four home runs. He was one of the Tigers' hottest bats following a lineup change prior to the Baylor series, hitting .321 with all four of his home runs during that span.
Gavin Stark Earns a Spot on Top Plays
Mizzou first baseman Gavin Starkdid something that no other Tiger baseball player had done - earn a spot on ESPN's SportsCenter Top 10 Plays. In the seventh inning of the Tigers' 4-1 vicotry over Oklahoma State last Saturday, Stark tracked a foul ball into the OSU dugout and flipped head over heels into the dugout while making the catch. That earned him the No. 5 spot on SportsCenter's Top 10 plays that night.
Preparing for the Future
Mizzou opened its 2012 campaign by taking two of three games from SEC foe Auburn in the opening weekend. The series win for the Tigers holds significance because Mizzou will make the move from the Big 12 to the SEC next season. With the two wins, the Tigers are now 38-34-1 against teams currently in the SEC. It is even more significant as Auburn continues to win in the SEC this season as it is either ranked or recieving votes in several national polls this week.
Jamieson Leads Team USA
Mizzou head baseball coach Tim Jamieson wrapped up his stint as the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team head coach last summer. In all, Jamieson led the club to an 11-2-1 overall record. Jamieson's .821 winning percentage this summer is the eighth-best in Collegiate National Team history, which dates back to 1984 (28 seasons). The team's two losses are its fewest since 2008, when the team went 24-0. Mizzou assistant coach Dan Pietroburgowas an auxiliary coach with the team as well this summer.
nderson Pitches For TEAM USA
Team USA had another Mizzou connection this summer as well. Tiger junior Eric Andersonwas one of the team's top pitchers over the summer. He led the team in ERA (0.00) and wins (two), while ranking second in innings pitched (12.0). He allowed just eight hits and two walks in his 12.0 innings of work and did not allow a run while striking out seven batters. Prior to his stint with USA Baseball, Anderson threw two games with Falmouth in the Cape Cod League, posting a 1.50 ERA.
Francis Howell Connection
With 17 newcomers on the team, there will be plenty of fresh faces on the field for Mizzou this season, but for a trio of freshmen, there will be a familiar feel. In fact, for Brett Graves, Jake Ivory and Case Munson, the 2012 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.
Tigers Raise Money For Joplin
Mizzou baseball raised $12,796 for the Joplin, Mo., Little Leagues with its Joplin Relief Games against Iowa in the fall. The baseball program partnered with Daniel Boone Little League, the Diamond Council, BC Baseball and The Callaway Bank to create a welcoming atmosphere for fans at Taylor Stadium. Large crowds packed the stands and helped raise the money, which will go directly to helping Joplin Little League rebuild its fields that were ravaged by a tornado on May 22, 2011.
Plackis Named to Mizzou `39
Mizzou baseball redshirt junior Andreas Plackishas been honored by the Mizzou Alumni Association as a recipient of the 2012 Mizzou `39 Award, an award given to 39 seniors at the University of Missouri based of their outstanding service, academic achievement and leadership. Plackis has been a model student during his time at Mizzou and he will graduate in May with a degree in Biological Sciences as he will pursue a medical degree following his undergraduate studies.
Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium Named Field of the Year
Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium, the home of the Mizzou baseball team, was named 2011 College and University Baseball Field of the Year by the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA). The field is maintained and cared for by Mizzou Turf Specialist Josh McPherson and his staff. The STMA Field of the Year Award program began in 1992. There are five field types for which awards may be given: Baseball, Football, Soccer, Softball and Sporting Grounds. For each field type, awards may be given in three categories: Professional, College and University, and Schools and Parks. This year there were a total of eleven awards presented.
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. Those two along with the likes of Kyle Gibson and AL All-Star Aaron Crowshould likely give Mizzou a presence in the major leagues for years to come.
In addition, six Tigers were selected in last year's MLB Draft. Newcomers Brandon Platts and Brett Graves were both drafted out of high school. Platts was a 13th-round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates while Graves went in the 26th round to the St. Louis Cardinals. Matt Stites was picked in the 17th round by the San Diego Padres while three more Tigers - Phil McCormick, Conner Mach and Zack Hardoin- were picked on the second day of the draft. McCormick went to the Giants in the 31st round while Mach was picked up in the 46th round by the New York Yankees. Hordoin was taken in the 47th round by the Houston Astros.
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 100.5-FM and 1580-AM. The games can also be heard online at KTGR.com. Tex Little is in his 22nd season of calling Tiger Baseball and is joined in the booth by Hunter Mense, who is in his second year as part of the MU broadcast team.
Video webcast for all Missouri Baseball home games in 2012 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 be back in action next week as it hosts Arkansas-Little Rock on April 10 at Taylor Stadium before heading to Busch Stadium to play Illinois on April 11. Tickers for that game are on sale and can be purchased at STLCardinals.com. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.