Tigers Head to In-State Rival Missouri State

<i>Brannon Champagne has reached base safely in 30 straight games, a Big 12-best.</i>

Brannon Champagne has reached base safely in 30 straight games, a Big 12-best.

April 24, 2012

Mizzou (21-17) at Missouri State (29-12)
• Date: April 25
• Location: Springfield, Mo.
• Stadium: Hammons Field (8,000)
• Gametracker: MUTigers.com
• Radio: KTGR 1580 AM/100.5 FM
• Media Notes:

Game Notes - at Missouri St. Get Acrobat Reader

First Pitch - What You Need to Know
The Mizzou baseball team will take its three-game winning streak to Missouri State on Wednesday (April 25) for a 6:35 p.m. start at Hammons Field. The game will air live on Mediacom 22 as the in-state rivals battle in the first of a home-and-home series. The Bears will play a return date with the Tigers on May 9 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 dropping both meetings last season, the Tigers now trail the Bears, 21-22, in the all-time series. The Tigers have not won in Springfield since 2008, an 8-4 decision in a rain-shortened game, as it has dropped the last two meetings in 2010 and 2011. The 2009 game in Springfield was rained out.

    Mizzou Notables vs. Missouri State
    • The Tigers were held to just five hits in last year's game at Missouri State.
    • Since 2004, Missouri State leads the series, 7-5. The Bears have won four of the last five meetings.
    • Six of the last 12 meetings (since '04) have been decided by two or less runs (3-3 in those games).
    • The Tigers' last win at MSU came in 2008, an 8-4 decision in a six-inning, rain-shortened game.
    Eric Garcia hit .500 with with a run and two RBI and a homer in 2011 vs. MSU.
    Andreas Plackis is a .500 career hitter vs. MSU and has a run scored and RBI vs. the Bears.
    Scott Sommerfeld is 2-for-3 with two runs scored and an RBI in one career game vs. MSU.
    • Only three active Tigers - Dusty Ross, Ryan Clubb and Jeff Emens - have pitched vs. MSU.

Last Time Out • Mizzou did two things that it hadn't done since 2010 last weekend as it swept Big 12 foe Kansas State in a three-game series at Taylor Stadium. The series sweep for the Tigers is their first over Big 12 opponent since 2010 when they swept Nebraska and the 7-0 shutout of the Wildcats in the Sunday game marked Mizzou's first shutout of a Big 12 opponent since 2010, which was also in the same series against Nebraska. The Tigers won the first game of the series, 13-4, as they scored six runs in the first two innings and never let up. On Saturday, Mizzou used the reverse approach as it rallied from down, 3-0, to score four runs over the final three innings, including a bases-loaded walk-off walk by Brannon Champagne for the game-winning run. The Tigers then blanked KSU, 7-0, behind a strong start from Brett Graves on Sunday. Graves pitched a career-best 6.2 shutout innings and allowed just four hits in the start.

Recapping Last Year's Series With Missouri State
Mizzou was swept by the Bears in a two-game, home-and-home series. As a team, the Tigers struggled offensively against their in-state rivals as they hit just .185 as a team in the two games and scored just two runs as they were shutout by Pierce Johnson at MSU. The standout Tiger batter in last year's series with Missouri State was shortstop Eric Garcia who hit .500 with two RBI and a run scored as he was 4-for-8, including a home run in the Tigers' 5-2 loss at Taylor Stadium. He slugged .875 in the two games against MSU last season.

Other notable batters in last year's series with the Bears are Brannon Champagne and Conner Mach. Champagne hit .286 last season in two games while Mach hit .250 with an OBP of .333 with a double and a run. Ben Turner also went 1-for-3 in his only game against MSU last season.

Champagne Owns Impressive Streak
Tiger center fielder Brannon Champagne owns a career-best streak heading into the week as he has reached base in 30 straight games, the longest such streak by a Tiger this season and the longest by a Tiger since 2010 when Aaron Senne (32 straight games) did so. In those 30 games, Champagne is hitting .317 with an OBP of .444 and 17 walks. It currently ranks first in the Big 12 this season. Below are the top current streaks in the Big 12.

    Brannon Champagne - Mizzou - 30
    Blake Brown - Mizzou - 25
    • Dan Evatt- Baylor - 18
    • Mikey Reynolds - Baylor -18
    • Logan Vick - Baylor - 17
Graves Earns Sunday Spot
Mizzou freshman Brett Graves has seemed to earn the Sunday job in the Tigers' weekend rotation as he has started to really find his groove on the mound. In fact, his last start against Kansas State on Sunday he threw a career-best 6.2 innings and 94 pitches in the outing and teamed with a duo of Tiger relievers to post Mizzou's first Big 12 shutout since 2010. He allowed just four hits over the 6.2 innings and issued just one walk. In his last two starts on full rest (vs. Illinois at Busch and vs, K-State) Graves owns a 2.84 ERA with nine strikeouts and a WHIP of 1.11. He struggled with walks early in the season and has walked just three in his last two starts on full rest.

Tigers Get Offensive vs. Kansas State
Mizzou put up 13 runs in its Friday win over Kansas State last weekend, marking the Tigers' most runs in a Big 12 game since 2010 when they plated 15 against Texas Tech on May 2 of that year. Of course, the 13 runs are the most that a Tiger team has scored against a Big 12 team since the new bats were implemented throughout college baseball prior to last season.

Plackis Takes Over at Firts Base
Senior Andreas Plackis was inserted into the starting lineup for the K-State series after an injury sidelined Michael McGraw, who had started the previous seven games at first base. Plackis responded with one of the best weekends of his career as he hit .400 with four runs scored and two more driven in while slugging .500 with an OBP of .455. His best game came on Friday night as he went 3-for-3 with three runs and two RBI. He went 1-for-3 with a run in the Saturday game of that series as well. McGraw will be sidelined at least two weeks with a thumb injury, so Plackis will get a chance to earn playing time during that span.

McGraw Out Two Weeks
Staying on the topic of Michael McGraw had seemed to take over the first base job as the Tigers' top hitter over his last eight games before his thumb injury. During that span - in which he played in seven games, starting six - he hit .370 with 10 hits, a double and six RBI, just two off the team lead in that time. He also slugged .407 (second to only Dane Opel in that span). He will be out for two weeks with his injury, but his hot bat will likely earn him plenty of playing time down the stretch this season.

Jamieson Approaching 600 Wins
With three wins last weekend against Kansas State, Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson is now within striking distance of his 600th career win as he sits just eight back of that mark with 592 in his career. Now in his 18th season, he is second on Mizzou's all-time win list trailing only Gene McArtor. He is the Big 12's longest-tenured baseball coach (along with Baylor's Steve Smith) and he has been part of Mizzou baseball since 1988 when he was an assistant coach for six seasons under McArtor.

In all, Jamieson has been part of 830 wins at Mizzou including his six seasons as an assistant for McArtor. That number means that Coach Jamieson has been a part of nearly 40-percent of the programs 2,148 wins. To put that into perspective, baseball has been a varsity sport at Mizzou for 121 years. Should he win his 600th career game this season, he would be one of just three coaches (UT's Augue Garrido and Baylor's Smith) in the Big 12 to amass 600 wins at their current Big 12 school and just the five to do so in his career. Mizzou has had just four losing seasons in the 24 seasons in which Jamieson has been involved with the program.

Brown Has Big 12-Best Hitting Streak Snapped
Mizzou right fielder Blake Brown had a very impressive streak snapped during the Oklahoma series as his 21-game hit streak came to an end. The 21-game hit streak is the longest by any player in the Big 12 this season and just five shy of the school record (26 by Grant Ingram in 1994 and Shane Fairbanks in 1981). His streak still sits atop the Big 12 this season as no player with a current streak is even within 11 games of his total. Below is a look at the top hitting streaks in the Big 12 this season.

    Blake Brown - Mizzou - 21
    • Alex Silver - Texas - 16
    • Zach Fish - OSU - 14
    • Barrett Barnes - Texas Tech - 13
Despite losing his hitting streak, Brown has still reached base in 25 consecutive game, the fourth-best active streak in the Big 12.

Turner Shines in Three-Hole
Mizzou's catcher Ben Turner found himself doing something that he had never done in his collegiate career over the last four games - hitting in the three-hole of the lineup. But the Tiger catcher has responded as he is hitting .333 with four runs and four RBI and two doubles as he is slugging .467 with an OBP of .412 in the three hole.

Opel Heating Up Again
Junior outfielder Dane Opel is starting to swing a hot bat again following his performance over the last two weeks (seven games) in which he hit .333 with four runs, a team-best eight RBI, two home runs and a team-best .593 slugging percentage. He also owns a .387 OBP over the last seven games. He leads the team with nine hits in that span and three of those nine have went for extra-bases.

Mach Attack Back At the Top
It has been well-documented that one of the key reasons for the Tigers' second-half surge last season was putting Conner Mach at the top of the batting order. Mizzou has gone with that lineup over the last four games and have put together a 3-1 record in that span as it has seemed to once again ignite the offense. Mach is hitting a team-best .400 since moving to the top of the order and owns an OBP of .474 with three runs and two RBI. As a team, Mizzou is also hitting very well since the move, scoring 28 runs (seven per game) and hitting .307 with 10 extra-base hits. In fact, the team is slugging .425 since the move and Mizzou has outscored its opponents, 28-12, in that span.

Six Tigers Hitting .290 or Better
Heading into the Tigers' Wednesday tilt against Missouri State, the Tigers have a chance to do something that few Tiger teams have done and that is finish the season with six players batting over .300. Right now, four Tigers - Ben Turner (.320), Dane Opel (.318), Conner Mach (.315) and Brannon Champagne (.308) - are hitting above the .300 mark while Blake Brown (.298) and Scott Sommerfeld (.292) are just a few hits behind that mark. Mizzou has not had a lineup that has finished a season with six batter hitting better than .300 since 2008.

Pleading the Fifth (Inning)
Looking at the stats this season, it is clear that the Tigers have enjoyed the most success in the fifth inning. In fact, Mizzou has scored 30 runs in fifth innings this season, their best total in any inning, while limiting opponents to just eight runs in that frame, which is their lowest total in any inning. Looking deeper into the runs scored by inning summary, the Tigers appear to like the third-fifth innings, outscoring their opponents, 88-54, in those frames this season.

Brown Eighth in Career Steals at Mizzou
Tiger outfielder Blake Brown stole his 37th career base against K-State last weekend, which ranks him seventh all-time in program history. He is now just three back of Ryan Lollis for sixth all-time. Just as a note, Eric Garcia (23 steals) and Brannon Champagne (26 steals) are also threatening to break the career top-10 at Mizzou (two players are tied for 10th with 29 career steals).

Ross Shines Out of the Bullpen
Tiger reliever Dusty Ross has been one of the Tigers' top arms out of the pen this season and if you take away a rough outing against Central Arkansas on March 28 (his first time pitching back-to-back games this season), his numbers are very impressive. In fact, since March 10, excluding the UCA game, Ross has a 0.79 ERA in 22.2 innings pitched, spanning 15 appearances. In fact, he has given up just two earned runs over those 22.2 innings and owns an 11-4 strikeout-walk ratio.

Emens Closing In on All-Time Big 12 Top 10
With 89 career appearances on the mound, Tiger senior Jeff Emens is closing in on the all-time Big 12 top 10 in career appearances. He is the league's active leader in that category, two ahead of Texas A&M's Estevan Uriegas (87). In all, Emens needs 16 more appearances on the mound to earn a spot in the all-time top-10 (Huston Street, 105). He has appeared in 18 of the Tigers' 38 games this season and is on pace to crack the top 10 should the Tigers reach the postseason. His single season career-best in appearances is 25 in 2009. Emens is currently 10th in Big 12 in ERA at 2.91 as well.

Not only that, but Emens' 88 career appearances are the fourth-best total in school history, four ahead of Bunky Moeller (1988-1991). He needs a few more appearances to catch former teammate Phil McCormick (106).

Holovach Sixth in Big 12 in Wins
Mizzou's Blake Holovach's five wins this season are sixth in the Big 12 as he is slowly moving up the single season wins list at Mizzou. In fact, despite all of the good pitchers that Mizzou has had over the last several years, Holovach is just four back of tying 10th place all-time at Mizzou and just five wins back of tying seventh place in a single season. Of course, current Kansas City Royal Aaron Crow is the single season leader in wins at Mizzou with his 13 in 2008. Holovach ranks among the nation's top 20 in wins this season.

Better as a Starter
Junior lefty Blake Holovach has been nothing short of sensational since he was inserted into the Tigers' weekend rotation. He tossed a complete game shutout against High Point on March 18, doing so on 115 pitches. He is the first Tiger since 2010 to toss a nine-inning complete game and the first since Kyle Gibson in 2009 to toss a complete game shutout. He nearly threw another complete game against Oklahoma State, going 8.2 innings while allowing just one unearned run. Since being inserted into the starting rotation, Holovach's numbers have been very impressive. Below is a look:

    • In starting rotation: 52.0 IP, 3.29 ERA, 48 hits, 19 ER, 16 BB, 31 Ks, .244 OPP BA, 1.37 WHIP
    • Out of Bullpen: 2.2 IP, 16.88 ERA, 9 hits, 5 ER, 5 BB, 3 Ks, .563 OPP BA, 5.62 WHIP

Walsh 25th Nationally With Eight Saves
Sophomore reliever Jake Walsh enters this weekend ranked 25th nationally with eight saves this season. What is even more remarkable about Walsh's eight saves is that he is now tied for fourth on Mizzou single-season saves list and sits just four back of tying Ryan Stegall for the single season school record (12 in 2000). Walsh needs just two more saves to crack the career top-10 list at Mizzou as well. He is currently the Big 12's leader in saves and is third in appearances at 16, also a team-best total.

Turner Catches Nearly Every Inning
Senior catcher Ben Turner has caught nearly every inning (296.2 of 332.1) for the Tigers so far this season and will likely continue that pace all season. Turner is tops on a depth chart at the catcher position that includes three newcomers and a redshirt freshman. Although it is early, something to track will be the amount of innings that Turner will catch this season. Since 2004, no Tiger catcher has started more than 54 games (JC Field in 2006) and Turner has started all 18 this season. Turner's 44 starts at catcher last season are the most since Trevor Coleman started 53 games in 2008. Turner has 25 starts at catcher this season.

Gavin Stark Lands on SportScEnter Top Plays
Mizzou first baseman Gavin Stark did something that no other Tiger baseball player had done - earn a spot on ESPN's SportsCenter Top 10 Plays. In the seventh inning of the Tigers' 4-1 victory over Oklahoma State last Saturday, Stark tracked a foul ball into the OSU dugout and flipped head over heels into the dugout while making the catch. That earned him the No. 5 spot on SportsCenter's Top 10 plays that night.

Three Tigers Have Five-RBI Games This Season
The Tigers had just one five-RBI game last season (Blake Brown vs. Texas A&M on April 30) but already have three such games this season. Brannon Champagne was the first to so against North Dakota on March 13 and then both Conner Mach and Brown did so the following day against North Dakota.

Preparing for the Future
Mizzou opened its 2012 campaign by taking two of three games from SEC foe Auburn in the opening weekend. The series win for the Tigers holds significance because Mizzou will make the move from the Big 12 to the SEC next season. With the two wins, the Tigers are now 38-34-1 against teams currently in the SEC. It is even more significant as Auburn continues to win in the SEC this season as it is either ranked or receiving votes in several national polls this week.

Jamieson Leads Team USA
Mizzou head baseball coach Tim Jamieson wrapped up his stint as the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team head coach last summer. In all, Jamieson led the club to an 11-2-1 overall record. Jamieson's .821 winning percentage this summer is the eighth-best in Collegiate National Team history, which dates back to 1984 (28 seasons). The team's two losses are its fewest since 2008, when the team went 24-0. Mizzou assistant coach Dan Pietroburgo was an auxiliary coach with the team as well this summer.

Anderson Pitches For TEAM USA
Team USA had another Mizzou connection this summer as well. Tiger junior Eric Anderson was one of the team's top pitchers over the summer. He led the team in ERA (0.00) and wins (two), while ranking second in innings pitched (12.0). He allowed just eight hits and two walks in his 12.0 innings of work and did not allow a run while striking out seven batters. Prior to his stint with USA Baseball, Anderson threw two games with Falmouth in the Cape Cod League, posting a 1.50 ERA.

Tigers Raise Money For Joplin
Mizzou baseball raised $12,796 for the Joplin, Mo., Little Leagues with its Joplin Relief Games against Iowa in the fall. The baseball program partnered with Daniel Boone Little League, the Diamond Council, BC Baseball and The Callaway Bank to create a welcoming atmosphere for fans at Taylor Stadium. The money will go directly to helping Joplin Little League rebuild its fields that were ravaged by a tornado on May 22, 2011.

Plackis Named to Mizzou `39
Mizzou baseball redshirt junior Andreas Plackis has been honored by the Mizzou Alumni Association as a recipient of the 2012 Mizzou `39 Award, an award given to 39 seniors at the University of Missouri based of their outstanding service, academic achievement and leadership. Plackis has been a model student during his time at Mizzou and he will graduate in May with a degree in Biological Sciences as he will pursue a medical degree following his undergraduate studies.

Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium Named Field of the Year
Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium, the home of the Mizzou baseball team, was named 2011 College and University Baseball Field of the Year by the Sports Turf Managers Association (STMA). The field is maintained and cared for by Mizzou Turf Specialist Josh McPherson and his staff. The STMA Field of the Year Award program began in 1992. There are five field types for which awards may be given: Baseball, Football, Soccer, Softball and Sporting Grounds. For each field type, awards may be given in three categories: Professional, College and University, and Schools and Parks. This year there were a total of eleven awards presented.

Tigers Have Strong Presence in Pros
Mizzou baseball has seen plenty of success over the last decade and proof of that is the number of players that the Tigers have sent to the major league. Since 2000, the Tigers have seen 50 players sign professional contracts and 59 Tigers have done so under the direction of Tim Jamieson. Some notable Tigers in the professional ranks include All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler of the Texas Rangers and Max Scherzer of the Detroit Tigers and Aaron Crow of the Royals.

In addition, six Tigers were selected in last year's MLB Draft. Newcomers Brandon Platts and Brett Graves were both drafted out of high school. Platts was a 13th-round pick by the Pittsburgh Pirates while Graves went in the 26th round to the St. Louis Cardinals. Matt Stites was picked in the 17th round by the San Diego Padres while three more Tigers - Phil McCormick, Conner Mach and Zack Hardoin - were picked on the second day of the draft.

Once again this year, KTGR ESPN Radio is the radio home of the Tigers, with all of the game being broadcast on 100.5-FM and 1580-AM. The games can also be heard online at KTGR.com. Tex Little is in his 22nd season of calling Tiger Baseball and is joined in the booth by Hunter Mense, who is in his second year as part of the MU broadcast team.

Mizzou Network
Video webcast for all Missouri Baseball home games in 2012 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 continue a their six-game road trip by heading to Lubbock, Texas, for a three-game series with Texas Tech, slated to begin Friday. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.



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