Mizzou Returns Home to Host Cowboys

MUTIGERS.COM Freshman Eric Anderson
Freshman Eric Anderson

April 15, 2010

Date: April 16-18, 2010
First Pitch: 6 p.m. / 3 p.m. / 1 p.m.
Series History: OSU leads 133-79
Last Year's Series: OSU took 2-of-3 in Stillwater
Stadium: Taylor Stadium
Radio: KTGR 100.5-FM / 1580-AM
Live Audio: KTGR.com
Live Video: mutigers.tv
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After playing five-straight games away from home, Mizzou will return to Taylor Stadium this weekend for a three-game series with Oklahoma State ... Game one is Friday at 6 p.m., with the series continuing at 3 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday ... Missouri is 18-14 on the year and 3-6 in the Big 12 ... OSU enters the weekend with a 19-12 overall record and a 3-6 Big 12 mark ... Oklahoma State holds a 133-79 lead in the all-time series between the two teams and won last year's series in Stillwater, taking two out of three from Mizzou ... This weekend is the first of two-consecutive weekends at home for the Tigers, who will host Kansas State next weekend at Taylor Stadium. On Wednesday, Missouri will take on Kansas at Kansas City's Kauffman Stadium.

A home run in the bottom of the ninth inning by Keenen Maddox of Missouri State on Wednesday's night, gave MSU a 5-4 walkoff win over Mizzou in Springfield. Maddox hit two homers on the night. MU junior Jeff Scardino started on the mound for the Tigers and retired the first 10 batters he faced. The first hit he allowed was Maddox's first home run of the night with one out in the fifth. Scardino left the game with the lead, but took a no decision. Redshirt freshman Andreas Plackis and junior Brett Nicholas each had two hits. Plackis' second hit came in the top of the eighth inning to put the Tigers in front 4-3. Nicholas extended his hitting streak to eight games and senior Aaron Senne' single in the third inning extended his streak to 17 games.

Oklahoma State took two-of-three from Mizzou last year in Stillwater and holds a 133-79 lead in the all-time series between MU and OSU. The schedule for last year's series was altered due to snow in Stillwater. The two teams began by playing a Sunday doubleheader with the Cowboys taking a pair of wins (13-1, 6-2). Missouri took the final game of the series, played on Monday, by a score of 1-0 behind the `Johnny Wholestaff' approach. Oklahoma State took the series last time the two teams met in Columbia (2008), taking two-of-three.

Aaron Senne currently has a 17-game hitting streak. The streak is the longest by a Tigers since Jayce Tingler hit safely in 24-straight games in 2002. Senne had at least two hits in six-straight games from April 4-11 and has three hits in five of the last seven outings. During the 17-game streak, he is hitting .551, with five home runs, 10 doubles and 24 RBI. The streak began when he went 2-for 3 in game two of a doubleheader with North Dakota on March 19. He had two hits in each of the first three games of the streak and has had 11 multi-hit games. That includes a four-hit game in the series finale with Texas A&M and a 5-for-5 night against Purdue on March 30. Last weekend, he was 3-for-5 in the series opener with Oklahoma, before recording two hits on Saturday. He closed the weekend with a 3-for-5 performance with four RBI. His final hit of the game was a home run in the eighth inning that broke a tie score and took Mizzou to a 12-11 win. He was named the Big 12 Conference Player of the Week on Monday for the second time this season.

Aaron Senne had back-to-back two-double games on March 28-30 to set a new record for career doubles at Missouri. After doubling in consecutive at-bats against Texas A&M on March 28 to move into a tie for first with Ryan Fry (1995-98) on Mizzou's career doubles, Senne went 5-for-5 with a home run and two doubles against Purdue on March 30 to break the record. He now has 62 career doubles, putting him atop that list. Senne has 15 doubles on the year, which ranks second in the Big 12. His .457 average leads the conference. He leads the team with 10 home runs on the year and has 36 home runs for his career, which puts him sixth all-time at Missouri. He is one away from moving into a tie with Cody Ehlers (2001-04) for fifth place. Senne is third in school history with 191 RBI and is tied for third with 265 career hits, which is just nine behind the career record holder Jayce Tingler (2000-03). Senne returned to Mizzou this season for his senior year, passing up a chance to join his hometown Minnesota Twins organization. A native of Rochester, Minn., he was drafted by Minnesota in last June's Major League Baseball Draft, but chose to return to Missouri.

Junior Brett Nicholas takes an eight-game hitting streak heading into the weekend's series. That is after he had an eight-game hitting from March 7-19, hitting .522 during the streak with three home runs and 12 RBI. During the current streak, Nicholas is hitting .441 and has eight RBI. He has recorded a hit in 23 of the 31 games in which he's had an at-bat this year and he has 17 multi-hit games. He had at least two hits in six-consecutive games from April 3-10 and 10-of-11 games between March 27-April 10. On the year, Nicholas is hitting .373 with six home runs and a team-leading 38 RBI. Earlier in the year, he hit .444 with a slugging percentage of 1.444 in the three games against North Dakota. He had a home run in the series opener, then hit two homers in the first game of a Friday doubleheader. Nicholas hit .625 (5-for-8) in the Xavier series (March 12-14).

Missouri is the only team in the Big 12 Conference that has won at least 16 conference games in each of the last three seasons. MU was 19-8 in 2007, then went 16-11 in both 2008 and 2009. The Tigers Big 12 record over the last three years is 51-30, which is second best in the Big 12 behind only Texas (53-27-1).

Freshman Dane Opel was 3-for-4 in the final game of the three-game series with Baylor, with all three hits being doubles. He is the first Tiger to record a three-double game since Brad Flanders did it against Louisiana-Monroe in 2002. Opel had a six-game hitting streak from March 28-April 6, hitting .591 over that stretch, with two home runs, four doubles and 11 RBI. He had multiple hits in five-straight games from March 28-April 4, including three hits against Purdue on March 30, when he drove in four runs. In Big 12 games, Opel has a .423 average, which is second on the team. He went 4-for-5 in his debut as a Tiger on Feb. 20 against Washington and had a hit in each of the first three games in which he has played.

Head Coach Tim Jamieson has utilized a different lineup for all 32 games this season. Five different Tigers have been in the leadoff spot and four have hit cleanup. The spot in the lineup with the least amount of change is third spot where only two players (Aaron Senne 23 times, Brett Nicholas 10 times) have been slotted. The seventh spot has seen the most changes, as 10 different Tigers have hit in the seven hole.

Junior Phil McCormick picked up victories in back-to-back appearances on April 4 and April 7 and is 4-0 on the season. In his four wins, McCormick has pitched a total of just 3.1 innings. He has not allowed a run in any of those games. His first victory came on Feb. 21 against New Mexico State. McCormick faced just one batter in that game, forcing a double play to end the top of the 10th inning. The Tigers then scored the game-winning run in the bottom half of that inning to give McCormick the win. His second win came on March 13 against Xavier, when he faced three batters and got two outs in the top of the eighth before the Tigers broke the tie with a pair of runs in their half of the eighth inning. On April 4, McCormick faced just two batters and got the final out of the top of the seventh inning. Missouri then scored three runs in the bottom of the seventh to take a lead and go onto victory. Three days later, McCormick was the first MU reliever out of the bullpen and pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball against Illinois. Mizzou took the lead in the third inning while McCormick was still the pitcher of record. He leads the team with 21 appearances on the season and is second on the squad with a 2.08 ERA.

Michael Liberto is one of just two seniors on the 2010 squad and heads into the week with a .382 average. Liberto had a nine-game game hitting streak from March 14-23, hitting .412 with a double, a triple and seven RBI during the streak. He has had at least one hit in all but six games in which he has had an at-bat this season and has had multiple hits in 15 of the 31 games he played in this season. Liberto opened up the year by hitting .692 at the Collegiate Cactus Classic in Tucson. He was 9-for-13 in the three games with a double, a triple and three RBI. Liberto matched his career best with four hits in a 4-for-5 performance against Gonzaga in the season opener, with a triple and two RBI.

Nick Tepesch picked up a win against Auburn on Feb. 27, his eighth career victory. He struck out five in 6.1 innings pitched against TCU on March 6, but took a no decision in a 10-inning win by TCU. Tepesch allowed three runs, two of which were earned, on six hits in the game. After allowing a single to open the game, Tepesch retired six of the next seven batters he faced, with the only base runner reaching on an error. In the fifth inning, TCU put one run on the board and had runners on second and third before Tepesch struck out the next two batters to end the inning. In his start against Xavier, he left following just one inning of work after he was hit by a batted ball in the top of the first inning. Tepesch returned against North Dakota on March 19 and struck out eight in six innings pitched. He did not allow a run and gave up just three hits to earn the win and move to 2-0 on the year. Tepesch has pitched at least seven inning in each of his three starts in Big 12 play. In the conference opener, Tepesch turned in a season-long 7.1 innings pitched (two outs shy of his career long eight IP) against Texas A&M, striking out four. Tepesch came within just one out of pitching his first career complete game against Baylor on April 3 when he struck out five in 8.2 innings pitched in the game, but took the loss. He struck out five and allowed three earned runs in seven innings pitched Friday against Oklahoma

Senior Aaron Senne was named the Big 12 Player of the Week last Monday for the second time this season. Senne earned the award after he hit .462 (6-for-13) in the Tigers' three games at the Auburn Classic, including three home runs and two doubles. Senne had a double in the opener of the Auburn Classic against Florida Atlantic, driving in one run. Against Auburn, Senne hit two home runs and had four RBI. His first homer was a two-run shot in the third inning and his second was the second of back-to-back home runs for Mizzou in the fifth. He closed the weekend with a 2-for-4 performance against Boston College, with a home run and a double. In Mizzou's five games last week, Senne hit .609 (14-for-23), including a series mark of .583 against Oklahoma. He had two home runs, three doubles and seven RBI in the three games with the Sooners. Senne had multiple hits in each contest last week. The Rochester, Minn. infielder was 3-for-4 in both of the Tigers' midweek games against SIU-Edwardsville and Illinois. He again recorded a three-hit game in the opener of the OU series. On Saturday, Senne homered in his first at-bat and added a single in the fourth inning. He closed the week by going 3-for-5 with four RBI. He doubled in the third and singled in the fifth, then hit a solo home run in the eighth inning to break an 11-11 tie and carry Missouri to the 12-11 victory in the finale.

The roster for Missouri is loaded with new names in 2010. A total of 17 players have seen their first playing time for Missouri this season. Freshman Brannon Champagne, Dane Opel, Blake Brown, Kale Gaden and Eric Garcia have combined to make 96 starts and junior college transfer Brett Nicholas has started 31 of MU's 32 games on the year. Nicholas is the team's third leading hitter with a .382 average and is tied for the team lead with 38 RBI. Redshirt freshman Andreas Plackis is the team's fourth leading hitter with a .306 mark, while Opel is hitting .300 and Garcia has a .296 average. On the mound, freshman Eric Anderson has started six games for the Tigers. He is 1-2 on the season and is second on the squad with 30 strikeouts. Anderson picked up a win in his first collegiate start against Florida Atlantic on Feb. 28 when he struck out five and did not allow a run in five innings pitched. Junior Zack Hardoin, a transfer from Blinn College, has made 15 appearances and has two starts. He picked up the win on Feb. 20 against Washington with a scoreless inning of work in relief and started the first game of the March 19 doubleheader with North Dakota.

Missouri will travel to Kansas City on Wednesday to face Kansas at Kauffman Stadium. The game, which will not count as a conference matchup, will begin at 6:30 p.m. Next weekend, The Tigers will host Kansas State in a three-game set at Taylor Stadium. Game one of that series will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 23.



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