April 9, 2012
Mizzou (16-14) vs. Arkansas-Little Rock (16-16)
• Date: April 10
• Location: Columbia, Mo.
• Stadium: Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium(3,031)
• Gametracker: MUTigers.com
• Radio: KTGR 1580 AM/100.5 FM
• Media Notes: Game Notes - vs. UALR
First Pitch - What You Need to Know
The Mizzou baseball team will continue its season this week with a Tuesday (April 10) game against Arkansas-Little Rock at 4 p.m. at Taylor Stadium. The Tigers will look to break out of a four-game losing streak after being swept by the Big 12's top team, Baylor, last weekend. In all, Mizzou has lost six of its last seven but has been in every game. In fact, if you take out Mizzou's rain-shortened loss to Baylor last Saturday, five of the Tigers' six Big 12 losses have been by a combined eight runs.
Promotions Tuesday's game will feature several promotions in hopes of drawing a large crowd for the mid-week contest. All tickets to the game with the Trojans will be just $1 and anyone that drops off a business card at the game will receive free admission. Also, it will mark the first time this season that Mizzou will run the 'Bring an A, Don't Pay!' promotion. Any kid 12 and under who brings a paper with an 'A' will get into the game for free.
Series History The Tigers and Trojans have met just once in history and that came in 2000 when the Trojans claimed a 9-3 win over Tim Jamieson's team that season. The Tigers went on to finish that season with a 33-24 overall record. In all, Mizzou is 29-14 overall against teams from the Sun Belt Conference.
Yuengel to Start Tiger redshirt freshman Ryan Yuengel will start his first career game for the Tigers on Tuesday against UALR. So far this season, Yuengel has made seven appearances and owns a 1-0 record with a 4.50 ERA and an 11-3 strikeout-walk ratio. Batters are also now just hitting .239 against the Tiger righty this season. He has thrown 10.0 innings this season.
Champagne Owns Impressive Streak Tiger center fielder Brannon Champagne owns a career-best streak heading into Tuesday's game as he has reached base in 22 straight games, the longest such streak by a Tiger this season and the longest by a Tiger since 2010 when Michael Liberto (23 straight) and Aaron Senne (32 straight) did so. In those 22 games, Champagne is hitting .329 with an OBP of .452 and a team-best 12 walks.
Last Time Out Mizzou was swept in a three-game series at the hands of the Big 12's top team Baylor last weekend. The Tigers lost three close games (3-1 on Thursday, 5-3 on Friday and 12-7 on Saturday despite leading 6-2 in that game).
Recapping the Last Meeting
The last and only meeting between the Tigers and Trojans came back in 2000 when Mizzou fell, 9-3, at Brown-Stroud Field in Natchitoches, La., the home of Northwestern State University. Mizzou's Ralph McCasland started that game and went just 2.1 innings and gave up six earned runs. Mizzou hit into five double plays and left eight runners on base in the game.
Brown Owns League-Best 17-Game Hit Streak
Heading into Tuesday's game, right fielder Blake Brown owns a 17-game hit streak, the longest such streak by a Tiger this season and the longest active streak in the Big 12. His 17-game hit streak is a career-best mark and the best by a Tiger since 2010 when Brett Nicholas hit safely in 19 straight games. In all, since 2004 only three Tigers have hit safely in 17 straight games - Nicholas in 2010 and Aaron Senne (17) in 2010 - as Brown is tied for the program's second-best hit streak since 2004.
Champagne Tigers' Top Hitter In Big 12 Play
Following the Tigers' weekend series with Baylor, center fielder Brannon Champagne is now hitting .364 in Big 12 games, an improvement from his .314 average in all games this season. Champagne has 12 hits in 33 at-bats in league play and leads the team in runs scored (seven) and OBP (.417) in that span as well. He also is a perfect 4-for-4 in stolen bases in league play, also a team-best. The four stolen bases in Big 12 play are also a league-best for Champagne.
Pleading the Fifth (Inning)
Looking at the stats this season, it is clear that the Tigers have enjoyed the most success in the fifth inning. In fact, Mizzou has scored 27 runs in fifth innings this season, their best total in any inning, while limiting opponents to just eight runs in that frame, which is their lowest total in any inning. In fact, Mizzou has scored in the fifth inning in seven of the last 11 games.
Looking deeper into the runs scored by inning summary, the Tigers appear to like the third-fifth innings, outscoring their opponents, 73-43, in those frames this season.
Mach the Key in the THree-Hole
Tiger senior Conner Mach has been a key offensive figure for the Tigers this season, hitting in the three-hole in 27 games. The team is 16-11 with him in that spot of the lineup while the team is 0-3 when Mach does not hit in that spot of the order (0-2 with Scott Sommerfeld, 0-1 with Blake Brown). A couple other notable spots in the lineup that seem to be impactful are Dane Opel hitting in the cleanup spot (team is 11-4 with him at cleanup) and Ben Turner in the seven-hole (6-1). Also, the team in 7-3 with Eric Garcia in the sixth spot.
Brown Eighth in Career Steals at Mizzou
Tiger outfielder Blake Brown tied Mizzou Hall-of-Famer Phil Bradley with his 32 career steal against Central Arkansas earlier this season, which moves him into a tie for eighth place all-time on Mizzou's career stolen bases list. He needs just one more steal to tie Dick Dickinson with 33 and is just six back of Ryan Lollis for sixth all-time. Just as a note, Eric Garcia (23 steals) and Brannon Champagne (24 steals) are also threatening to break the career top-10 at Mizzou (two players are tied for 10th with 29 career steals).
Emens Closing In on All-Time Big 12 Top 10
With 85 career appearances on the mound, Tiger senior Jeff Emens is 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 20 more appearances on the mound to earn a spot in the all-time top-10. He has appeared in 14 of the Tigers' 30 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.
Not only that, but Emens' 85 career appearances are the fourth-best total in school history, four ahead of Bunky Moeller (1988-1991). He needs a few more appearances to catch former teammate Phil McCormick (106).
Staff ERA Improving
With a 4.47 ERA so far this season, Mizzou is beginning to improve its overall ERA as it hasn't finished a season with an ERA that low since 2007 when it tallied a 4.25 ERA as a staff. The lowest staff ERA for the Tigers since that season has been 4.56 last season as this year's team is ahead of last year's staff.
Ross Shines Out of the Bullpen
Tiger reliever Dusty Ross has been one of the Tigers' top arms out of the pen in his last three appearances, giving up just one earned run in 7.2 innings of work in those appearances. Ross has been roughed up just once this season (four earned runs in 1.1 innings against Central Arkansas) but other than that he has been very impressive. In fact, in his other 13 appearances, Ross owns a 1.35 ERA with just three earned runs in 20.0 innings. If you exclude his outing against UCA (which was the first time this season that he pitched on back-to-back days) he has given up just one earned run in his last 10 appearances and that came at No. 6 Texas A&M on April 1.
Holovach Second in Big 12 in Wins
Mizzou's Blake Holovach (5-1) suffered his first loss of the season last Friday against Baylor, but the Tiger junior is still putting together an impressive season. 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 Crow is 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 Gibson in 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: 41.1 IP, 1.96 ERA, 32 hits, 9 ER, 8 BB, 26 Ks, .209 OPP BA, 1.09 WHIP
Out of Bullpen: 2.2 IP, 16.88 ERA, 9 hits, 5 ER, 5 BB, 3 Ks, .563 OPP BA, 5.62 WHIP
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 Stegall for 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 outfielder Scott Sommerfeld has emerged as the Tigers' top hitter this season with a .326 batting average heading into the week. 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 15th overall in hitting and 14th in batting average in Big 12 games.
Turner Catches Nearly Every Inning
Senior catcher Ben Turner has caught nearly every inning (226.2 of 261.2) 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 Coleman started 53 games in 2008. Turner has 25 starts at catcher this season.
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 Schmidt earned Big 12 Player of the Week following the Tigers' series win at Kansas State on May 9 last season.
Mach Returns After Being Drafted
Tiger third baseman Conner Mach returned 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 Stark did 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 receiving 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 Pietroburgo was an auxiliary coach with the team as well this summer.
Anderson Pitches For Team USA
Team USA had another Mizzou connection this summer as well. Tiger junior Eric Anderson was 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. The money 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 Plackis has 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 and Aaron Crow of the Royals.
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 at 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.