April 18, 2013
FIRST PITCH - What You Need to Know
After a tough weekend at No. 3 Vanderbilt and an eight-game road trip, the Mizzou baseball team will return home to Taylor Stadium for a three-game series with red-hot Florida, which has won its last six games and nine of its last 11. The series will begin at 6 p.m. Friday and resume at 2 p.m. Saturday. The series finale will be at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Series History Mizzou and Florida have met six times in history with the first meeting coming at the 1981 NCAA South Regional in which Florida eliminated Gene McArtor's Tigers from the tournament with a 7-3 win. In all, Florida holds a 5-1 advantage in the all-time series, but the two teams have met just once since Tim Jamieson has been at the helm of the program, a 14-5 win in 2006. Florida was ranked No. 1 that year while the Tigers checked in at No. 12 nationally. Future big leaguer Max Scherzer started that game for Mizzou and went 7.0 innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run while striking out eight. Current graduate assistant coach Hunter Mense also played in that game, going 3-for-5 at the dish with three RBI and two runs scored, including an RBI double in the first and a stolen base. Below is a look at the meetings between Mizzou and Florida.
Mizzou vs. Florida Series History
Missouri State Game Postponed
1981 - 7-3, Flordia at NCAA South Regional
1984 - 6-5, Florida
1992 - 10-2, Florida
1992 - 8-3, Florida
1992 - 4-3, Florida
2006 - 14-5, Mizzou
Mizzou's game against Missouri State, originally scheduled for April 17 at 6 p.m. has been moved to next Wednesday (April 24) at 6 p.m. The threat of inclement weather moved that game to next Wednesday. Mizzou defeated Missouri State, 5-4, earlier this month and the game next Wednesday is the return visit for the Tigers.
Recapping the Vanderbilt Series
Mizzou was swept at Vanderbilt in a dominating series by the third-ranked Commodores. In fact, Mizzou was outscored 39-10 over the three games while the Commodores pounded out 54 hits over the three games. Mizzou lost on Friday night, 11-5, despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead and a 4-3 lead in the early innings. The Tigers were then downed, 12-1, on a stellar pitching performance by VU's Tyler Beede. Vanderbilt tallied 19 hits in the win, the most off of the Tigers pitching staff this season. That feat was nearly duplicated on Sunday as Vanderbilt won, 16-4, while tallying 18 hits, eight of which came off of reigning SEC Player of the Week Keaton Steele.
Munson With a Big Week
Sophomore Case Munson has hit in the leadoff spot for the Tigers over the last 10 games for the Tigers and has done a great job kick-starting the offense, in particular in the Tigers' four games last week. Munson hit .333 last week but got on base in nine of his 17 plate appearances last week and scored a run in the first inning in two of the four games. He hit .333 on the week while driving in four runs and driving in three more. He had two extra-base hits while totaling eight total bases on the week with a slugging percentage of .667. He also hit his first career homer on Saturday vs. Vanderbilt's Tyler Beede, a towering solo shot to left field. He boasted an OPS 1.196 last week.
Munson Riding Impressive Streak
Staying on the topic of Case Munson, the Tiger sophomore has reached base in 14 straight games, the second-longest streak by a Tiger this season. During the streak, Munson is hitting .311 but has an OBP of .467, earning eight walks and six HBPs to go with his 14 hits in that span. He has scored 10 runs and driven in five more while tallying three doubles and a homer.
Tigers Return to Home Sweet Taylor
After playing their last eight games away from Taylor Stadium, the Tigers will play their first home game in the month of April on Fridat. After going 3-5 in their eight games away from home, a return to Taylor Stadium may be just what the doctor ordered for Mizzou as it is 8-7 at home this season compared to just 4-13 on the road. Below are some notables for Mizzou at home this season.
Notables at Home
Anderson Back on the Bump
Mizzou pitching has done very well at home, holding opponents to just a .224 average.
Conversely, opponents are hitting .321 vs. Mizzou in games away from home this season.
The Tigers have outscored their opponents, 69-55, at home this season.
Mizzou is averaging 8.13 hits per game, 2.9 walks per game and 1.8 hit batters per game at home this year.
The Tigers have 69 runs in 15 home games while mustering just 65 runs in 17 away games.
Mizzou is limiting the opposition to just a .304 OBP in home games this season.
The Tigers' staff ERA is 2.47 at home while it is 6.11 away from home this season.
The pitching staff has 105 strikeouts against just 50 walks at home this season.
Last week, Mizzou righty Eric Anderson
made his return to the mound after being shut down for six weeks as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery last May. He pitched 3.0 innings last week and allowed five hits and just one earned run while striking out three. He hit 94 on the gun at Vanderbilt on Sunday as well. Anderson came on in relief at Missouri State last Tuesday and threw 1.0 innings, allowing two hits before pitching his way out of the game with a big strikeout. He then pitched again Sunday at Vanderbilt and was dominating in his first inning of work before allowing three hits and two runs (only one earned) while striking out two in the outing. If Anderson continues to feel good after he pitches, look for him to become a big part of the pitching staff as the season progresses.
Steele Continues to Do It All
After becoming the first SEC player to earn SEC Player of the Week and SEC Pitcher of the Week in the same season since Tennessee's Scott Schroeffel in 1996, a span of 17 years, it was pretty evident that Keaton Steele could do it all, but did something that hadn't been done in nearly 12 years again on Sunday at Vanderbilt. He became the first Tiger to hit in the three-hole while starting a game on the mound since May 12, 2001, when Ryan Stegall did so in an 8-5 win against Texas A&M. Steele was roughed up on the mound at Vandy, but the righty has been very good for Mizzou this season and look for him to continue to be a top arm for pitching coach Matt Hobbs throughout the rest of the season.
Steele Becoming Strikeout Machine
As he continues to do it all for the Tigers, Keaton Steele may be the team's top strikeout pitcher. He had nine in just 7.1 innings of work at Georgia and on the season, he has 37 strikeouts in 33.1 innings pitched, the best strikeout to walk ratio on the team while his 37 strikeouts are second-best on the team, trailing only Friday night starter Rob Zastryzny.
Newcomers Making Impact
So far this season, it has been the Tiger newcomers that have supplied the bulk of the Tiger stats, specifically at the plate. In fact, the six of the 19 Tiger position players this year are newcomers and those six players have combined to take 52-percent of the teams at-bats, score 49-percent of the team's runs, drive in 60-percent of the team's RBIs and have 55-percent of the team's hits. In fact, Mizzou has 16 first-year players in its program this season. As many as six first-year players could be in Mizzou's starting lineup this weekend.
The impact of the newcomers has also been felt on the mound as eight of the 14 Tigers to see action on the mound this season are first-year players. In fact, those eight players have combined for 78 of the team's 121 appearances (64-percent) and 134.2 of the team's 272.1 innings this season (49-percent).
A Quick Look at Newcomers' Contributions
Opel Has Streak Snapped
62% of RBIs 55% of team's hits 52% of team's at-bats 49% of team's run
78 of the team's 121 pitching appearances 134.2 of 272.1 innings pitched
16 first-year players including six junior college transfers
Senior Dane Opel
carried into the series with Vanderbilt a 23-game streak in which he has reached base safely but he lost it on Saturday before starting new streak on Sunday. It was the longest such streak by a Tiger this season, and is the longest of his career, topping his previous best of 14 games, set his freshman year.
Notables on Opel During Streak
In the SEC Rankings
Hit a team-best .341 in 85 at-bats with a team-best slugging % (.506) and OBP (.473).
Drove in 16 runs and scored a team-best 19 runs in that span.
Had seven extra-base hits including three doubles and three homers and a game-winning triple at UGA.
Was issued 18 free passes (13 walks, five HBP) in that span.
Led Mizzou with 29 hits in those 22 games and has nine multi-hit games.
Also has three multi-RBI games in that span as well.
Each week, we will highlight some of the notable SEC ranks for the Tigers. Ranks will include all games and from SEC games only. Below is a look at this week's notable rankings.
Four Tigers on Big League Rosters
1st - HBP (SEC games) - 24
2nd - HBP (all games) - 56
3rd - Doubles (SEC games) - 22
3rd - Doubles allowed (SEC games) - 15
3rd - Batters Struck Out (SEC games) - 108
4th - Walks allowed (SEC games) - 44
With last Monday (April 1) being Opening Day for Major League Baseball, Tiger fans will see four former Tigers on active big league Opening Day rosters. The three that most have grown accustomed to - Ian Kinsler
with the Texas Rangers, Aaron Crow
with the Kansas City Royals and Max Scherzer
with the Detroit Tigers - were joined by former Tiger Nick Tepesch
, who joins Kinsler in Texas as the No. 5 starter for the Rangers this season. He just put together a great start for the Rangers in his first big league appearance, going 7.1 innings, striking out five while allowing just one earned run on four hits. He was the first Rangers pitcher to pitch into the eighth inning since John Dettmer in 1994, who coincidentally is also a Mizzou alum. The Tigers were close to having five players as former All-American Kyle Gibson
made the active 40-man roster for the Minnesota Twins before being sent down to Triple A.
Kelly Continues to Produce
Junior catcher Dylan Kelly continues to be one of the Tigers' top offensive weapons this season. The lefty is hitting a team-best .333, a mark that ranks second among SEC catchers. Kelly hit his first career Division I homer at Tennessee, sending a three-run shot over the scoreboard in right field. He leads the team in batting (.333), doubles (seven), RBI (18), is second in slugging (.423), total bases (47) and OBP (.395) and is third on the team in runs (14). He has also played tremendous defense and has asserted himself as the No. 1 catcher after a close battle with Jake Ivory in preseason camp. Following the Vanderbilt series, Kelly has reached base safely in 13 straight games, the second-best active streak on the team.
Walsh is the Tigers' Ironman
It is no secret that as the Tigers' top lefty arm, Jake Walsh has been one of the Tigers' most used bullpen arms. In fact, Walsh has appeared in a team high 18 of 32 games this season and has been trotted out in 13 of the last 19 games.
Rob Z Fans 10 Again
Mizzou starter Rob Zastryzny fanned 10 batters in a Friday night start against No. 5 South Carolina, which entered the game as the only team in the nation to walk more than it had struck out this season. Zastryzny struck out 10 and walked just two in the start. The week prior, Zastryzny struck out 10 San Francisco Don batters in the Friday night start, making him the first Tiger to tally back-to-back games with 10 or more strikeouts since Kyle Gibson did so on March 20, 2009. Gibson struck out 11 against Texas in a complete game on March 14 and then fanned 16 Texas A&M batters the next weekend.
Opel Getting On Base
Coming into the season, there were big expectations for senior Dane Opel, who became the first Tiger ever to lead the Big 12 in home runs during the regular season in 2012. Teams have showed him a lot of respect so far this season as he has earned 24 free passes (15 walks, nine hit-by-pitch) in the first 29 games. In fact, his 24 free bases coupled with his .315 average so far give him a team-best .431 on-base percentage. Opel's career-high for OBP in a season is just .386 as a freshman in 2010.
A new Era Begins
2013 marks the beginning of a new era for the Mizzou baseball program as it embarks upon its inaugural season as members of the Southeastern Conference. Widely considered as the premier conference in all of college baseball, Mizzou has fared well against SEC competition in the past, boasting an all-time record of 38-36-1 against the 12 schools that both Mizzou and Texas A&M will join this season. Mizzou played two series against SEC teams last year, taking two of three at Auburn while being swept at Arkansas in a two-game midweek series. As another note, Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson is the only current SEC coach to win at least 600 games at his current school.
Recruiting Class Garners National Praise
the Mizzou baseball team transitions to the SEC this season, it will be bolstered by a 2012 recruiting that ranks 24th nationally according to Aaron Fitt at BaseballAmerica.com. The Tigers ranked one spot ahead of defending NCAA National Champion Arizona, the same team that eliminated Mizzou from the NCAA Tournament last year. The class, put together by the Mizzou coaching staff includes 19 student-athletes.
Rash Turns Down Big Money For Mizzou
One of the key contributors to the Tigers' recruiting class garnering national attention was the addition of Iowa-native Alec Rash. A second-round draft pick by the Philadelphia Phillies, Rash was the highest-drafted high school player to elect to go to school instead of beginning a major league career.
Little League World Series Connection
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.
Ian Kinsler Inducted into Mizzou Hall of Fame
Former Mizzou standout Ian Kinsler was inducted into the Mizzou Athletics Hall of Fame in February. Although he played only one season at Mizzou, Tiger Head Coach Tim Jamieson credits him with being a key figure in helping turn the program around, as he was instrumental in leading Mizzou back to the NCAA Tournament in 2003, after a six-year drought. That 2003 NCAA appearance started a string of seven-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances for the Tiger program. After transferring to Mizzou from Arizona State and junior college, Kinsler batted .335 for Mizzou in 2003, and was third on the team with six home runs and 45 RBI. He also went 16-of-17 in stolen bases during the season, and was named 2nd-Team All-Big 12 for his efforts.
Of course, most people know Kinsler for his outstanding professional baseball career. After being drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2003, Kinsler made the big league squad in 2006, and promptly won the Rangers' Rookie of the Year award for hitting .286 with 14 homers and 55 RBI. He has since made three American League All-Star teams (2008, 2010, 2012), and hit a career-best .319 in 2008, while he followed that with a career-high 31 homers and 86 RBI in 2009.
Jamieson Signs Extension
The Mizzou Department of the Athletics and Athletics Director Mike Alden announced back in September that a two-year contract extension for Mizzou head baseball coach Tim Jamieson had been reached. The two-year deal will keep Jamieson, who is the school's longest current-tenured head coach, at Mizzou through the 2015 season.
"We're so pleased with the job Coach Jamieson is doing with our program" director of athletics Mike Alden said. "Coming off of the Big 12 Championship, we are looking forward to the challenges ahead in the SEC. Tim, his staff and our students are a tremendous reflection of the core values of the University of Missouri."
Francis Howell Connection
For sophomores Brett Graves, Jake Ivory and Case Munson, the 2013 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. All three are playing a much bigger role this season.
Georgia on My Mind
With the Tigers moving to the SEC this season, three Tigers grew up in the heart of SEC country and chose to play their collegiate ball at Mizzou. Mike McGraw (Newnan, Ga.), Josh Lester (Columbus, Ga.) and Dylan Kelly (Roswell, Ga.) all call the Empire State their home.
Tigers Televised Through SEC Deal
With the Mizzou baseball program entering its inaugural season as a member of the Southeastern Conference, the program will see four of its games televised to a national audience as part of the SEC's television deal. The Tigers will appear on ESPNU twice while appearing on the SEC Network through Fox Sports for two additional games.
Televised SEC Games
On The Air
March 30 vs. No. 10 LSU - 1 p.m. - Fox Sports - Cancelled
April 6 at Georgia - 7 p.m. - ESPNU - Loss, 6-5
April 13 at No. 2 Vanderbilt - 4 p.m. - ESPNU - Loss, 12-1
May 11 at Alabama - 1 p.m. - Fox Sports
May 18 vs. Kentucky - 1 p.m. - Metro Sports
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 23rd season of calling Tiger Baseball and is joined in the booth by Hunter Mense
, who is in his third year as part of the MU broadcast team.
Video webcast for all Missouri Baseball home games in 2013 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.
The Tigers will host a pair of midweek games next week, including a Tuesday contest against Murray State before making up the Missouri State game on 6 p.m. Wednesday. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.