April 22, 2013
FIRST PITCH - What You Need to Know
After taking one of three games from No. 19 Florida last weekend, the Mizzou baseball team will return home to Taylor Stadium for the final game of an annual home-and-home series with in-state rival Missouri State. First pitch will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday (April 24) at Taylor Stadium.
Series History The all-time series between Mizzou and Missouri State is one of the most-tightly contested series in the history of Mizzou baseball. In fact, after winning the last three over their in-state rivals (including a 5-4 victory on April 9), the Tigers lead the all-time series, 24-22. Mizzou beat Missouri State last season 4-3 in 11 innings last season at Hammons Field and then jumped all over the Bears, 10-5, at Taylor Stadium in the return trip.
Mizzou Notables vs. Missouri State
Last Time vs. MSU
Since 2004, Mizzou leads the series, 8-7. Mizzou has won the last three meetings.
8 of the last 15 meetings (since '04) have been decided by two or less runs (5-3 in those games).
Before defeating MSU 10-5 at Taylor Stadium in 2012, Mizzou had not beat MSU at home since 5/4/2010.
Brannon Champagne is hitting .417 and slugging .500 in five career games vs. MSU.
Dane Opel is a .241 career hitter vs. MSU but has scored five runs and driven in six more in seven games.
Opel was 4-for-9 with three runs and four RBI with a homer and double vs. MO State last season.
Scott Sommerfeld is hitting .385 vs. MO State in his career with two runs and three RBI in four games.
Keaton Steele, Shane Segovia and Kendall Keeton all had multi-hit games at Missouri State last week.
Mizzou jumped out to a 5-1 lead before holding off a furious comeback from the Bears to win at Hammons Field, 5-4, on Tuesday (April 9). Sophomore John Miles
came in during the ninth inning and got a huge double play to end the game after the first two Bear hitters reached to open the ninth. Keaton Steele
went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the win while Logan Pearson
drove in two with a triple in the eighth. Kendall Keeton
ended up driving in the winning run with an RBI single in the eighth. Jace James
earned the win for Mizzou, going 3.0 innings, allowing one run on three hits while walking none and striking out two.
Recapping the Florida Series
Mizzou took one of three games against No. 19 Florida last weekend, winning the Sunday contest 8-2. The Tigers lost game one of the series, 8-6, before playing a marathon, 15-inning game on Saturday in which Florida escaped with a 4-3 win. The game is the longest documented game in program history. In all, the Tigers outscored Florida, 17-14, in the series as it was a very close series that could have gone either way. Each team hit .292 with 38 hits in 130 at-bats and every other statistical category was very close on the weekend.
Notables from the Florida Series
Logan Pearson Shines in Leadoff Spot
The Saturday game was the longest documented game in Mizzou history at 15 innings.
Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson
made a change to his batting order over the weekend as he moved Logan Pearson
to the leadoff spot, and the move paid off. Pearson reached base in 10 of his 17 plate appearances last weekend while driving in four runs and scoring three more. He reached base to lead off two of the three games, scoring both times, including a homer on the first pitch that Mizzou saw in Sunday's 8-2 win over the Gators. The solo dinger was his first Division I homer. In all, he hit .462 from the leadoff spot and had an OBP of .588 while slugging .846 last week. Pearson finished a double shy of the cycle on Sunday in Mizzou's 8-2 win over the Gators.
Tigers Have Been in Every Game
Although the Tigers have a losing record at this point of the season, Mizzou has been in nearly every game and the numbers prove it. In fact, Mizzou has lost 11 games by three of fewer runs, including five by just two runs and four by a single tally. Over the weekend, Mizzou lost a two-run game on Friday night and a one-run game in 15 innings on Saturday vs. No. 19 Florida.
Mizzou Playing Tough Schedule
This week, LSU, Vanderbilt and South Carolina are the top three SEC teams in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll at No. 2, No. 4 and No. 10, respectively, and Mizzou is the only team in the SEC this season to play all three of those teams. In fact, the combined league record among SEC teams in which the Tigers have played is 61-47. The combined league record for the remaining four teams that the Tigers face is just 29-43.
Hit Me Baby, One More Time
Heading into Wednesday's contest against Missouri State, the Tigers rank second in the SEC in hit batsmen as they have been hit 59 times this year. Kentucky leads the league with 65 this season, but has played four more games than Mizzou as the Tigers lead the league with an average of 1.68 hit batters per game. In SEC play, Mizzou ranks second in hit batters to only Kentucky with 27; Kentucky has 28.
Tigers Scoring in the First Inning
A trend has been developing for the Tigers over the last seven games as Mizzou has scored in five of its last seven games, dating back to an April 9 contest at Missouri State. Over the weekend against Florida, Mizzou scored in the first inning of every game with four on Friday night in the first and two on both Saturday and Sunday. Mizzou homered in the first inning of both the Saturday game and the Sunday game with bombs by Keaton Steele and Logan Pearson. In all, Mizzou has scored in the first inning in 12 games this season and is 7-5 in those contests.
Mizzou Still Limiting Doubles, Walks
Heading into Wednesday's contest, Mizzou is still doing a nice job of limiting its opponents' doubles and walks as Mizzou has allowed the fourth-fewest doubles (44) and walks (115). In fact, in SEC play, Mizzou has allowed just 21 doubles in 18 games, the third-best mark in the conference - an impressive mark being as Mizzou has played three teams ranked in the top five in SEC play (No. 5 South Carolina, No. 2 LSU and No. 3 Vanderbilt). Vanderbilt, LSU and South Carolina rank 1-2-4 in the SEC in batting and rank 1-2-3 in doubles, making the Tigers' mark even more impressive.
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 21 of 35 games this season and has been trotted out in 16 of the last 22 games, including all three against Florida last weekend. In the Sunday game, Walsh pitched a career-long 3.2 innings, allowing just two hits and one earned run (a solo, wind-aided homer off the top of the wall). He earned the win in the game and got the Tigers out of a huge jam in the fourth. He came into the game with runners on second and third with no outs and did not allow a run. The win was his first of the season and his first since April 10 of last season against Arkansas Little Rock.
Triple The Fun
In Mizzou's 8-2 win over Florida last Sunday, the Tigers tallied three triples in the win - Logan Pearson, Dane Opel and Dillon Everett each had triple in the win. It marked the first time that Mizzou had three triples in a game since May 13, 2011, in an 11-1 win over Texas Tech. The three triples in that game are the most by any SEC team in a league game this season and are tied for the most among SEC teams in all games as Georgia tallied three triples in a March 1 game vs. UAB.
Lester With a Big Day
Mizzou freshman Josh Lester tallied a career-best four hits in the Tigers' 8-2 win over Florida last Sunday. It was the first four-hit game by a Tiger since May 19, 2012, when Conner Mach tallied four hits against archrival Kansas. It is also the Tigers' first four-hit game by a freshman since CJ Jarvis tallied four hits in a Sunday win at Baylor on April 23, 2011.
Munson Riding Impressive Streak
Sophomore outfielder Case Munson has reached base in 17 straight games, the second-longest streak by a Tiger this season (Dane Opel reached base safely in 23 straight games earlier this season). During the streak, Munson is hitting .310 but has a team-best OBP of .468, earning 12 walks and six HBPs to go with his 18 hits in that span. He has scored 13 runs and driven in five more while tallying three doubles and a homer in that span.
Tigers Return to Home Sweet Taylor
After playing their last eight games away from Taylor Stadium earlier this month, the Tigers are in the middle of a seven-game homestand. 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 .239 average.
Conversely, opponents are hitting .321 vs. Mizzou in games away from home this season.
The Tigers have outscored their opponents, 86-69, at home this season.
Mizzou is averaging 8.9 hits per game, 3.1 walks per game and 1.7 hit batters per game at home this year.
The Tigers have 86 runs in 18 home games while mustering just 65 runs in 17 away games.
Mizzou is limiting the opposition to just a .320 OBP in home games this season.
The Tigers' staff ERA is 2.63 at home while it is 6.11 away from home this season.
The pitching staff has 136 strikeouts against just 65 walks at home this season.
Mizzou righty Eric Anderson
made his return to the mound on April 9 at Missouri State after being shut down for six weeks as he continues to recover from Tommy John surgery last May. Since returning to the mound, Anderson has appeared in three games and actually leads the team in ERA in that span with a 1.80 mark, allowing just one earned run in 5.0 innings pitched. He has five strikeouts in those 5.0 innings. 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 in Mizzou's Sunday game 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 42 strikeouts in 40.1 innings pitched, the best strikeout to walk ratio on the team while his 42 strikeouts are second-best on the team, trailing only Friday night starter Rob Zastryzny. He had another great outing in the Tigers' 15-inning marathon against Florida, going 7.0 innings in relief, allowing just six hits while striking out five. He gave up just two earned runs in the outing.
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 53-percent of the teams at-bats, score 48-percent of the team's runs, drive in 61-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 week.
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 81 of the team's 133 appearances (61-percent) and 145.2 of the team's 305.1 innings this season (48-percent).
A Quick Look at Newcomers' Contributions
Four Tigers on Big League Rosters
61% of RBIs 55% of team's hits 53% of team's at-bats 48% of team's run
81 of the team's 133 pitching appearances 145.2 of 305.1 innings pitched
16 first-year players including six junior college transfers
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 .328. 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 (.328), doubles (eight), is second in RBI (20) slugging (.416), total bases (52) and OBP (.388) and is third on the team in runs (15). 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.
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 32 games. In fact, his 24 free bases coupled with his .320 average so far give him a team-best .422 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
May18 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.
Mizzou will close its homestand with a three-game SEC series with Auburn, a team that Mizzou took two of three games from last year in Auburn. The series will begin at 6 p.m. Friday at Taylor Stadium. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.