Senior Michael Liberto
April 22, 2010
MIZZOU vs KANSAS STATE
Date: April 23-25, 2010
First Pitch: 6 p.m. / 2 p.m. / 1 p.m.
Series History: MU leads 161-112-1
Last Year's Series: MU won series, 2-1
Stadium: Taylor Stadium
TV: FSN (Saturday only)
Radio: KTGR 100.5-FM / 1580-AM
Live Audio: KTGR.com
Live Video: mutigers.tv
Live Gametracker: mutigers.com
Missouri will host Kansas State in a three-game series this weekend at Taylor Stadium ... Games are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday ... Saturday's game will be televised by FSN ... Mizzou is 19-17 on the year and has a 4-8 record in the Big 12 ... KSU enters the weekend with a 27-8 overall mark and a 9-3 league record ... The Wildcats are ranked as high as No. 16 in the latest polls ... The Tigers lead the all-time series with Kansas State, 161-112-1 ... Prior to Saturday's game, Missouri will officially open its new indoor facility, located in left field ... The Grand Opening Ceremony is open to the public and will get underway at 1:30 p.m., with self-guided tours of the building starting at 12:30 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT
Missouri was shutout by Kansas on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, falling by a score of 1-0. The Tigers managed just three hits in the game and were held scoreless for the second time this season. Junior Brett Nicholas had two of Missouri's three hits on the night, finishing 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. He doubled in the bottom of the fourth inning and added a single to lead off the Tigers' half of the seventh. The lone run of the game crossed the plate in the second inning after Kansas opened the inning with a single by Jimmy Waters. Waters moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Casey Lytle and scored on a single off the bat of James Stanfield. The MU bullpen turned in seven scoreless innings of work, giving up just three hits, allowing no walks and striking out seven. Junior Zack Hardoin did not allow a run and gave up just two hits in 3.1 innings of work in relief. He struck out three and did not walk a batter. Sophomore Ryan Clubb did not allow a hit or a run in two innings on the mound and junior Kelly Fick recorded one scoreless inning of work. Sophomore Jeff Emens came out of the bullpen and recorded the final two outs of the top of the ninth inning.
MIZZOU-KANSAS STATE SERIES HISTORY
Missouri leads the all-time series with Kansas State, 161-112-1. The Tigers won last year's series, 2-1, taking wins in the first two games. [See page 6 for more on last year's series]. The Tigers have won six of the last eight meetings with KSU and have won 12 of the last 16 contest. They have claimed the series victory in each of the five seasons.
SENNE CLIMBING SEVERAL LISTS IN MU RECORD BOOK
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 63 career doubles, putting him atop that list. Senne has 16 doubles on the year, which ranks second in the Big 12. His .436 average leads the conference and is 11th best in the nation. 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 193 RBI and is third with 268 career hits, which is just six 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.
NICHOLAS ADAPTS TO MIZZOU
Junior Brett Nicholas takes a 12-game hitting streak heading into the weekend. During the current streak, Nicholas is hitting .449 and has 12 RBI. He began the streak with six-straight two-hit games and has had two hits in 10 of the 12 games during the streak. His currently streak follows an eight-game hitting from March 7-19, as he hit .522 during that streak with three home runs and 12 RBI. He has recorded a hit in 27 of the 35 games in which he's had an at-bat this year and he has 20 multi-hit games. On the year, Nicholas is hitting .383 with seven home runs and a team-leading 42 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).
SENNE PUTS TOGETHER LONGEST HITTING STREAK AT MU SINCE 2002
Aaron Senne had a 17-game hitting streak from March 17-April 14. The streak was the longest by a Tiger 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 had three hits in five of those contests. During the 17-game stretch, he hit .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. He was 3-for-5 in the series opener with Oklahoma, before recording two hits in game two. He closed the weekend with a 3-for-5 performance with four RBI. His last hit of the finale was a home run in the eighth inning that broke a tie score and took Mizzou to a 12-11 win. He earned his second Big 12 Conference Player of the Week award after the series at Oklahoma.
36 GAMES, 35 LINEUPS
Head Coach Tim Jamieson has utilized 35 different lineups in 36 games this year. Jamieson's lineup last Saturday against Oklahoma State was identical to Friday's lineup vs. OSU. That was the first repeated lineup of the 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 26 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.
McCORMICK SCOOPS UP VICTORIES
Junior Phil McCormick picked up victories in back-to-back appearances on April 4 and April 7 and has four wins 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 22 appearances on the season and is second on the squad with a 2.30 ERA.
MU IS ONLY TEAM WITH THREE-STRAIGHT 16-BIG 12 CONFERENCE WIN SEASONS
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).
OPEL RECORDS MU'S FIRST THREE DOUBLE GAME SINCE 2002
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 .429 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.
LIBERTO LEADS IN THE LEADOFF SPOT
Michael Liberto is one of just two seniors on the 2010 squad and heads into the weekend with a .349 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 eight games in which he has had an at-bat this season and has had multiple hits in 16 of the 34 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.
TEPESCH LOOKS TO LEAD TIGER PITCHING STAFF
Nick Tepesch picked up the victory last Friday against Oklahoma State, striking out eight in seven innings pitched. He allowed just two runs on four hits to record his third victory of the season. Tepesch has pitched at least seven innings in each of his last four starts. In MU's conference opener, Tepesch turned in a season-long 7.1 innings pitched 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 on April 9 against Oklahoma. Earlier, Tepesch picked up his first win against Auburn on Feb. 27, then 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. 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.
Following the weekend series with Kansas State, Missouri will play seven of its next eight games away from home. Next Tuesday, MU will take on Eastern Illinois at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O'Fallon, Mo. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. Next weekend, the Tigers travel to Lubbock, Texas for a three-game series against Texas Tech. The following Tuesday, Mizzou will host Missouri State at Taylor Stadium before a three-game series at Kansas.
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