Tigers Set To Wrap Up Season Series With Missouri State



April 14, 2014

Mizzou Baseball (17-17, 6-9 SEC) at Missouri State (15-17)
When   Tuesday - 6:35 p.m.
Location Springfield, Mo. | Hammons Field
Tickets Click Here
TV Mediacom 22 (Don West, Mike McClure)
Radio KTGR 103.1 FM/1580 AM - Tex Little (PBP), Hunter Mense (Color)
Online Coverage Gametracker
Printable Game Notes Mizzou
2014 Season Stats Mizzou | MSU
Series History Mizzou leads, 25-23
Last Meeting Mizzou won, 9-4, last Tuesday
Streak Mizzou - Won 1
Social Media @MizzouBaseball,| Mizzou Network 

Mizzou baseball will wrap up its home-and-home season series with Missouri State this Tuesday (April 15) at Hammons Field in Springfield, Mo. First pitch will come at 6:35 p.m. Of course, Mizzou took game one of the annual home-and-home last Tuesday at Taylor Stadium using five doubles and six extra-base hits to win, 9-4.

Tuesday's game will renew one of the Tigers' longest and most closely-contested rivalries. In fact, Mizzou holds a slim 25-23 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. The Tigers rebounded with the 9-4 win last Tuesday. Since 2004, Mizzou leads the series 9-8 and there have been plenty of close games. Mizzou won last year's game at Hammons Field, 5-4.

Sophomore righty Peter Fairbanks will get the start for Mizzou. On the year, the Tiger righty is 3-2 with a 5.19 ERA in 11 appearances, including five starts. In his last start, Fairbanks earned the win over Missouri State, going 6.0 innings, allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out four. He allowed four earned runs in the outing. His four strikeouts and 6.0 innings were both career-bests. As a starter, Fairbanks has a 3.54 ERA in 20.1 innings pitches, striking out 12. He has walked five and allowed 20 hits in those 20.1 innings and is 3-1 overall.

Mizzou has won four of its last five heading into Tuesday's game at Missouri State. Over those five games, Mizzou is averaging 5.8 runs per game, 11 hits per game and is slugging .417 with 13 extra-base hits.

Tuesday's game will be a homecoming for a pair of Tiger relievers who have been the cornerstones of the Tiger bullpen - Austin Tribby and Breckin Williams. Tribby hails from Springfield while Williams hails from Webb City, about an hour west of Hammons Field. The two have combined to throw in 40 games this season with a 1.96 ERA in 41.1 innings.

Mizzou baseball has won four of its last five games and won three of four last week including a series win at No. 15 Kentucky over the weekend in large part thanks to the heroics of fifth-year senior Eric Anderson. Mizzou defeated the Wildcats, 8-7, thanks to a three-run homer by Anderson in the eighth inning, following a bottom of the seventh that saw UK put up five runs. His homer turned out to be the game-winning hit. Following Friday's heroics, Mizzou was blasted for three runs in the fifth and nine in the sixth on Saturday as it fell, 12-0. The Tigers rebounded behind Anderson on Sunday as they claimed the series with an 8-3 win. It was the second road series win over a ranked opponent for Mizzou this season and Anderson earned the win on the mound and tallied the go-ahead, two-out hit in the sixth.

A big reason why Mizzou has been successful as of late has been the emergence of some offense. In fact, the Tigers averaged 12.5 hits per game last week while averaging 6.25 runs per game as the offense exploded with 13 extra-base hits while totaling 19 hits with runners in scoring position on the week. Mizzou tallied double-digit hits in three of four games last week, including notching 15 twice, just one off of the Tigers' season high. The Tigers defeated in-state rival Missouri State, 9-4, on Tuesday behind six extra-base hits, five doubles and a triple. Three of those five doubles came off the bat of Shane Segovia. Mizzou has now had two players post three doubles in a game this season, a feat that had not been accomplished by a Tiger since 2010.

Mizzou has played one of the toughest schedules in the country to date and the latest NCAA RPI rankings back that statement up. In fact, Mizzou has played an SEC-high 20 games against RPI top-50 teams, posting a 9-11 record in those contests. More than half of the Tigers' wins have come against RPI top-50 teams. Mizzou is also on pace to play 32 games against teams ranked in the RPI top 50. Florida is the only other SEC team to play 20 games against RPI top-50 competition.

The key player in Mizzou's series win at No. 15 Kentucky was fifth year senior Eric Anderson, who was named SEC Player of the Week for the first time in his career. He is the third Tiger to be honored by the SEC this season joining SEC Pitcher of the Week Brett Graves and Keaton Steele. He is the first Tiger to earn SEC Player of the Week distinction since Steele did so following the Georgia series last April. Anderson was outstanding, putting together one of the best weeks of his career, both at the plate and on the mound. On Friday night, he went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBI, all coming on a game-winning three-run homer in the eighth inning at No. 15 Kentucky. His homer came a half inning after Mizzou coughed up a 5-2 lead, allowing UK to score five runs in the seventh to take a 7-5 lead. Anderson then came back following a 12-0 loss on Saturday and did it all Sunday to will Mizzou to an 8-3 lead. Anderson tossed 7.0 innings, holding the SEC's top offense to just three runs on nine hits while walking just one and striking out 10. He also had the game-winning hit with a two-out RBI single in the sixth inning of that game as he finished 3-for-5 with two RBI and a walk in that game.

Eric Anderson became the first Tiger since second-round draft pick Rob Zastryzny to strike out 10 or more batters in two consecutive starts after fanning 10 UK batters on Sunday. Anderson now has 22 strikeouts over his last 16.0 innings of work after striking out 12 in a complete game effort against Georgia on April 6. In his last two starts, Anderson owns a 2.81 ERA in 16.0 innings, allowing just 15 hits and a walk. His WHIP is at 1.00 in those two starts and batters are hitting just .234 against him. He has fanned 22 against just the one walk. He is 2-0 in those two starts as well. Looking into Anderson's strikeout numbers over his last two starts, his 22 Ks in those games are more than his previous six outings combined (21 over 25.2 innings pitched, five starts). He ranks 12th nationally in K/BB ratio and 22nd in K/9.

Aside from his dominance on the mound, Eric Anderson has been getting it done at the dish as well. Last week, he led Mizzou in hits, total bases, slugging, RBI, game-winning hits and was second in OBP. He hit .571 with runners in scoring position last week and has now reached base in his first at-bat in 16 of the last 24 games since moving to the leadoff spot. He is also 25-for-45 when leading off an inning this season (.556) and he has reached base safely in 10 consecutive games. He leads the team with 24 runs scored, is second in RBI (15) and leads the team in slugging (.523), extra-base hits (12), homers (three), total bases (57), OBP (.424) and OPS (.947).

Missouri State comes into Tuesday's game at 15-17 overall after taking two of three in a Missouri Valley Conference series at Bradley. Eric Cheray leads the team with a .342 batting average and has driven in 20 runs with two homers, three doubles and two triples. Outfielder Tate Matheny is batting .289 with five homers and 14 RBI as well. As a team the Bears hit .256 and average 4.75 runs per game. MO State's pitching staff owns a 3.42 ERA and has struck out 235 batters in 284.1 innings.


    - Peter Fairbanks is 1-0 with an ERA of 6.00 in one start against Missouri State, coming last Tuesday. He went 6.0 innings, allowing four hits and four earned runs while walking two and striking out four.

    - Jace James is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in two career starts against Missouri State, both coming in 2013. He tossed 6.0 innings, allowing eight hits and three earned runs while striking out four against no walks.

    - Alec Rash has tossed 0.2 innings vs. Missouri State, allowing one hit and no runs. That appearance came in 2013. - Austin Tribby has one appearance against Missouri State, getting one out while allowing a hit last Tuesday. He walked a batter and did not have a strikeout.

    - Breckin Williams owns a career 4.15 ERA in three career appearances against Missouri State. He allowed two earned runs in 1.2 innings over two appearances in 2013 but had one of his best career outings against the Bears last Tuesday. He went 2.2 innings, allowing just one hit, no walks while striking out four.


    - Eric Anderson is a .400 career hitter with a triple and RBI in one career games vs. Missouri State.

    - Dillon Everett is a career .313 hitter vs. Missouri State (5-for-16) in five career games. He has three runs and two RBI vs. the Bears, the latter of which both came last Tuesday.

    - Kendall Keeton is a .250 career hitter in three games vs. MSU, scoring a run and driving in another.

    - Dylan Kelly is a career .250 hitter vs. MSU in three games, scoring four runs with a double. His double came last Tuesday as did two of his runs scored.

    - Josh Lester is a career .500 hitter vs. MSU with five hits in 10 ABs spanning three games. He has two doubles and an RBI.

    - Logan Pearson is a .273 career hitter vs. MSU with three runs, a double and a triple and four RBI. Last Tuesday, he tallied a double, two runs and two RBI.

    - Jake Ring is hitting 2-for-4 with a run and three RBI in one career game vs. MSU (last Tuesday).

    - Shane Segovia is hitting .625 with three runs and all five of his hits against Missouri State have been doubles, including three last Tuesday. He has an RBI vs. MSU as well.

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 73, 17 ahead of second-place South Carolina which has 90. The Tigers rank fifth nationally and first in the SEC with their miniscule 2.16 BB/9 average.

Aside from ranking fifth nationally in walks per nine innings, the Tigers also rank in the top-10 in strikeout-walk ratio. In fact, Hobbs' hurlers rank sixth nationally at 3.32, a mark that ranks first in the pitching-heavy SEC.

Mizzou junior closer Keaton Steele ranks 12th nationally and first in the SEC with his nine saves this season. He is just three back of the Mizzou single season record (12). In his seven saves, Steele has been virtually untouchable. He has a 0.00 ERA in 15.1 innings with a 0.78 WHIP in those nine outings.

The bullpen trio 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 2.43 ERA in 74.0 innings pitched and a 2.80 strikeout/walk ratio. The trio also has a 1.22 combined WHIP, 11 saves and two wins. Williams currently has an ERA of 1.42. Mizzou has not had a regular reliever finish a season with an ERA lower than 2.00 since Ryan Gargano in 2007.

Another key to the Tigers' success over the last 25 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 five pitching starts. In his last 24 games in the leadoff spot, Anderson is hitting .347 with an OBP of .434 while slugging .558. He has scored a team-high 21 runs and driven in 14 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 16 of the last 24 games and is reaching base at a .556 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 22 appearances. In fact, he is leading the team in opponent batting average at .175. Six of his team-leading 22 appearances have been to get one batter - usually a lefty - out. He is second among Tiger relievers with a 2.81 ERA and has struck out 18 batters against just six walks, allowing 10 hits in 16.0 IP. He is eighth nationally with his 22 appearances.

The Tiger pitching staff has been very good at striking out batters while limiting walks. In fact, the Tigers average 3.32 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 3.32 clip.

    YR K-BB - Ratio
    2014: 242-73 - 3.32
    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 2.16 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 2.16 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: 2.16

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.

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 of 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 welcomes 2013 College World Series finalist Mississippi State for a three-game series at Taylor Stadium this weekend. It will be a homecoming for MSU head coach John Cohen, who was an assistant at Mizzou under Tim Jamieson.



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