Mizzou Renews In-State Rivalry With Missouri State Tuesday



April 7, 2014

Mizzou Baseball (13-16) vs. Missouri State (13-15)
When   Tuesday - 6 p.m.
Location Columbia, Mo. | Taylor Stadium
Tickets Click Here
TV Mediacom 22 - Chris Gervino (Play-by-Play), Gene McArtor (Analyst)
Radio KTGR 103.1 FM/1580 AM - Tex Little (PBP), Hunter Mense (Color)
Online Coverage GT - Tuesday | Stat Broadcast

Printable Game Notes Mizzou
2014 Season Stats Mizzou | Missouri State
Series History Mizzou leads, 24-23
Last Meeting MO State won, 4-2, on April 24, 2013, in Columbia
Streak Mizzou - Lost 1
Social Media @MizzouBaseball,| Mizzou Network 

After a stellar pitching performance from fifth-year senior Eric Anderson, the Mizzou baseball team will look to carry that momentum into a midweek game with in-state rival Missouri State this Tuesday (April 8) at Taylor Stadium. The game will be televised live on Mediacom 22 with Chris Gervino and former Tiger coach Gene McArtor on the call at 6 p.m.

Of course, Tuesday's game will renew one of the Tigers' longest and most closely-contested rivalries. In fact, Mizzou holds a slim 24-23 advantage over the Bears in the series history. Mizzou had won three in a row in the series until a 4-2 setback on April 24 last season cut into the Tigers' lead in the series. Since 2004, the two teams are tied at eight wins apiece. Mizzou and Missouri State split the two meetings last season with each team winning on the road.

In Mizzou's last meeting with Missouri State, the Bears snapped a three-game winning streak by the Tigers with a 4-2 win at Taylor Stadium on April 24, 2013. Junior Jace James took the loss for Mizzou after allowing five hits and two runs over 3.0 innings. Josh Lester posted a pair of hits with an RBI in the loss while Dylan Kelly and Kendall Keeton scored runs for the Tigers.

Sophomore righty Peter Fairbanks will get the start for Mizzou. On the year, the Tiger righty is 2-2 with a 4.95 ERA in 10 appearances, including four starts. As a starter, Fairbanks has been very good with a 2.51 ERA in four career starts, allowing just four earned runs over 14.1 innings. In three of his four starts, he has not allowed an earned run as his only rough outing was a Saturday start at Ole Miss in which he allowed four earned over 2.0 innings.

Tuesday's game will end a four-game homestand for the Tigers as they head to Kentucky for a three-game SEC series this weekend.

The Mizzou baseball team went 1-3 last week as a Sunday win, sparked by fifth-year senior Eric Anderson's career-best start, snapped a four-game skid by the Tigers (14-16, 4-8 SEC). Mizzou defeated UGA, 4-2, on Sunday behind Anderson but lost the series after falling, 2-1 in 13 innings on Friday and 7-2 on Saturday. Anderson was spectacular on Sunday, striking out a career-best 12 in his first career complete game while earning his first win since May of 2011 in the Big 12 Tournament. He threw first-pitch strikes to 31 of 34 Georgia batters and 85 of his 118 pitches were for strikes in the complete game, allowing just six hits and no walks while fanning a career-best 12. Mizzou lost in 13 innings, 2-1, on Friday night despite loading the bases with one out in the 12th as the series easily could have been won by the Tigers. Dylan Kelly hit .455 last weekend and has reached base in eight consecutive games, the longest active streak by a Tiger. Junior righty Brett Graves was again very good on Friday night, going 7.1 IP, allowing just one earned run while striking out a career-best nine against just one walk. For the weekend, Mizzou owned a staff K/BB ratio of 35/6.

The Bears come into this Tuesday's contest at 13-15 overall. The in-state rivals started 8-3 in their first 11 but went on a nine-game slide in March but have won four of their last six heading into Tuesday. Last time out, the Bears dropped a 4-1 decision to Oral Roberts on April 2 in Tulsa. The Tigers will face fifth year senior Clay Murphy, who is 1-2 on the year with a 3.31 ERA in 32.2 innings. He has started five games for the Bears this season. Limiting batters to just .242 hitting, Murphy has struck out 36 batters in 32.2 innings, the best ratio on the team. He has also allowed only five extra-base hits this season. Last time out, Murphy dazzled in 8.0 shutout innings agianst St. Louis last Tuesday, striking out 11 and walking just two. He gave up only two hits in the outing as he earned his first win of the season. Missouri State hits .252 as a team and is averaging 4.64 runs per game. Eric Cheray leads the team with a .333 average and 17 RBIs and has also scored a team-high 22 runs. Tate Matheny, son of St. Louis Cardinal's manager Mike Matheny, is second on the team in batting at .282 and has a team-high five homers. MSU's strength lies in its pitching staff as it boasts a staff ERA of 3.09.

With the long history between Mizzou and Missouri State, here's a look at some Tiger pitchers against the Bears.

    - Jace James has started a pair of games against Missouri State, going 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 6.0 innings. He has allowed three earned runs on eight hits in that span, walking none and striking out four.

    - Alec Rash has one career appearance vs. Missouri State, tossing 0.2 shutout innings in 2013, allowing just one hit.

    - Breckin Williams has appeared in two games vs. Missouri State, owning a 10,80 ERA in 1.2 IP, allowing two earned runs.

Mizzou has played Missouri State a lot over the last few years which means plenty of Tiger regulars have impressve stat lines against the Bears. Below are some notables.

    - Dillon Everett is a .333 cateer hitter in four career games against the Bears. He has two hits in six ABs and has drawn three walks while compiling a .529 career OBP. He has scored a pair of runs and one of his hits was a double.

    - Kendall Keeton is a career .286 hitter against Bears with two hits in seven ABs. He has a run and RBI as well.

    - Dylan Kelly has scored two runs in two starts against the Bears but is hitting just .143.

    - Josh Lester is a career .600 hiiter in two games against the Bears with three hits, two of which were doubles. He has an RBI as well.

    - Logan Pearson is a .125 career hitter against Missouri State.

    - Shane Segovia is a .500 hitter vs. the Bears and has a pair of doubles.

Fifth year senior Eric Anderson made his presence felt last Sunday against Georgia, helping Mizzou snap a four-game losing streak. It was a career-best start for the ironman as he tossed a complete game, striking out 12 against no walks with just six hits and two earned runs. The last time a Mizzou pitcher fanned 10 or more was Rob Zastryzny vs. Auburn on April 26, 2013. Anderson tossed first pitch strikes to 31 of 34 batters. The senior hurler threw 85 of his 118 total pitches for strikes, holding the Bulldogs to two runs in nine innings on the mound. The complete game marks the longest outing of his career. The last time a Tiger finished a complete game was Zastryzny at Georgia on April 5, 2013. Anderson earned his first win since May 25, 2011 when he worked through seven solid innings in a victory over the Texas Longhorns.

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 66, 16 ahead of second-place South Carolina which has 77. The Tigers rank third nationally and first in the SEC with their miniscule 2.04 BB/9 average. Only Cal State Fullerton (1.48) and Houston (1.56) 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 fourth nationally at 3.46 a mark that ranks first in the pitching-heavy SEC.

Mizzou junior closer Keaton Steele ranks 20th nationally and third in the SEC with his seven saves this season. He is just five back of the Mizzou single season record (12). In his seven saves, Steele has been virtually untouchable. He has a 0.00 ERA in 11.1 innings with a 0.61 WHIP in those seven outings.

The bullpen stio of Keaton Steele, Breckin Williams and Austin Tribby has been as good as any trio in the SEC this season. In fact, the three have combined for a 2.32 ERA in 66.0 innings pitched and a 2.73 strikeout/walk ratio. The trio also has a 1.16 combined WHIP, nine saves and two wins. Williams and Tribby were not used in the weekend series against Georgia, marking the first time all season that one of those two was not used in a weekend series this season.

Another key to the Tigers' success over the last 21 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 20 games in the leadoff spot, Anderson is hitting .325 with an OBP of .419 while slugging .506. He has scored a team-high 19 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 13 of the last 20 games and is reaching base at a .550 clip when leading off an inning. He hit in the two hole on Saturday against UGA but still reached base in his first plate appearance, making it 14 for the last 21 games.

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 despite not pitching last weekend against Georgia. 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 3.46 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 3.46 clip.

    YR K-BB - Ratio
    2014: 110-29 - 3.46
    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 2.04 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: 2.04

The Tigers have 26 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).

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.

The Tigers will return to the road to play reigning National Player of the Week AJ Reed and the Kentucky Wildcats this weekend. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouBaseball.



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