Eric Anderson will start Friday's series opener for the Tigers.
April 28, 2011
Mizzou (17-24) vs. No. 6 Texas A&M (29-12, 14-4 Big 12)
First Pitch - What You Need to Know
The Mizzou baseball team, which has won three of its past five games, will face a strong test as it welcomes sixth-ranked Texas A&M to Taylor Stadium for a three-game Big 12 series this weekend. The series will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday and the Tigers and Aggies will play again on Saturday at 2 p.m. and the series finale will be at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Series History The Tigers dropped two of three games to Texas A&M last season in College Station as the Aggies lead the all-time series with Mizzou, 40-28-1. Mizzou and Texas A&M have split the last two series with A&M wining two of three last year and the Tigers taking three of four from the Aggies in 2009. A&M has not won a series in Columbia since 2007 when it won two of three on a rainy weekend in Columbia.
Tigers Enjoy Power Surge In the Tigers' two midweek games, they launched four home runs, including a three-homer effort at TR Hughes Ballpark against Eastern Illinois on Tuesday. Sophomore Eric Garcia has hit home runs in back-to-back games as well after doing so in both midweek contests. He and Blake Brown are the only two Tigers to homer in back-to-back games this season.
Return of the Mach Junior Conner Mach benefited from a lineup change last week as head coach Tim Jamieson hit him in the leadoff spot and played him in left field for the first time in his career at Baylor. Mach responded by hitting a team-best .545 with a slugging percentage of .909 and an OBP of .600 while leading the team in runs (two), RBI (five), home runs (one) and total bases (10). He was named Big 12 Player of the Week for his efforts. After hitting in the leadoff spot in the two midweek games, Mach is hitting .474 with nine hits, six RBI and three runs scored in the top spot in the order (spanning the last five games).
I Got Five On It Senior designated hitter Jonah Schmidt tallied his first career five-hit performance in Sunday's win at Baylor. He is the first Tiger to tally five hits in a game since Aaron Senne did so on March 30, 2010. The Tiger senior hit .538 last weekend and now ranks fourth in hitting during league games only at .375.
Last Time Out
The Tigers split a pair of midweek games against Eastern Illinois and Missouri State this week. Mizzou began its week by topping Eastern Illinois, 7-5, on Tuesday night at TR Hughes Ballpark in O'Fallon, Ill. The Tigers homered three times in that game, a season-high. They then returned home on Wednesday and dropped a 5-2 contest to in-state rival Missouri State.
Garcia Getting Hot
Sophomore Eric Garcia was a big bright spot for the Tigers during their two midweek games as he hit .429 with a pair of home runs and three RBI while slugging a team-best 1.286. In fact, the sophomore has recovered from a slow start to hit .282 over the past two months and he has been even better over the last nine games, hitting .333 with five extra-base hits and two home runs while driving in five runs. He is also slugging a team-best .606 in that span. He tallied his ninth multiple-hit game of the season on Wednesday.
Staying on the topic of multi-hit games, the Tigers had plenty to brag about at Baylor last weekend. Despite not having a single four-hit game performance this season heading into the series, three Tigers tallied four-hit outings in the series. The first to do so was Conner Mach, who went 4-4 and reached base in all five plate appearances in game two of the series. Then on Sunday, Schmidt tallied five hits, becoming the first Tiger to do so since March 30, 2010, when Aaron Senne blasted five hits. Freshman CJ Jarvis also added a four-hit performance in the series finale.
Mixing it Up a Bit
Tiger head coach Tim Jamieson mixed up his lineup a lot during the Tigers' last series at Baylor, and it seemed to pay dividends at the Tigers took two of three from the Bears. The most notable change was Conner Mach, who despite being an infielder, was moved to left field for all three games and he hit leadoff in all three games despite hitting in the middle of the order all season. It seemed to pay off as he had a huge weekend (note on Mach's weekend is below). Freshman CJ Jarvis, who had just one career start coming into the series, started all three games and had a big weekend. The other notable change was sophomore middle infielder Eric Garcia, who played at first base all weekend, allowing Jarvis to get in the lineup. Andrew Thigpen also earned his second start of the weekend as well. Those changes stayed true in the midweek games as well.
Big 12 Player of the Week
Junior Conner Mach had a huge weekend at Baylor, possibly his best as a Tiger. After hitting leadoff for the first time this season, Mach hit .545 with six hits in 11 at-bats and drove in five runs and tallied his first home run of the season. He also slugged .909 on the weekend and boasted an OBP of .600. He went 4-4 and fell a triple shy of the cycle on Friday as he reached base in all five of his plate appearances. He led the team in batting (.545), runs (two), RBI (five), slugging (.909), OBP (.600) and total bases (10), all from the leadoff spot. He was named Big 12 Player of the Week for the first time in his career for his efforts. He had three hits in eight at-bats during the Tigers' two midweek games.
Schmidt Continues to Hit in League Play
Conner Mach wasn't the only Tiger to have a huge weekend at Baylor as senior designated hitter Jonah Schmidt also had an impressive weekend. The senior hit .538, second to only Mach, and slugged .615 with and OBP of .538. He had seven hits in 13 at-bats with eight total bases and a pair of runs scored. With his .538 performance last weekend, Schmidt now ranks fourth in the Big 12 in batting during league play (.375). He is also eighth in the Big 12 in slugging (.554) in league games this season.
More on Schmidt
Jonah Schmidt continues to anchor the Tiger lineup this season as he leads the team in hits (48), hitting (.320), total bases (72), slugging (.480), home runs (four) and doubles (10) while ranking second in RBI (20). Only Conner Mach has more RBI than Schmidt with 22 this season. He also was the first player to homer off of Texas ace Taylor Jungmann this season.
Say Hello to CJ
Freshman infielder CJ Jarvis had just one career start before the Baylor series, but he started all three games for the Tigers and had a huge weekend. In fact, he hit .500 on the weekend with five hits and tallied his first career hit, RBI and run in the series. He also boasted an OBP of .545 and put together a 4-4 outing on Saturday, including an RBI single in the game. Jarvis is the first Tiger freshman to post four hits in a game since Dane Opel did so in the Tigers' second game of the 2009 season against Washington as he went 4-5 in that contest. He started both midweek games as well, adding two more hits and a two-RBI game against EIU.
Turner Drives In Runs
Sophomore catcher Ben Turner had a big weekend at the plate as well, coming up with big hits for the Tigers. He hit .250 on the weekend, but drove in four runs to finish second on the team to only Conner Mach on the weekend. He drove in three runs in the Tigers' Saturday win, going 2-5 with three RBI and a pair of runs scored. With a chance to drive in a run, Turner has been lights out this season. He is 2-2 with the bases loaded and is hitting .286 with runners in scoring position, ranking second on the team (more than 20 chances). He is also hitting .571 with a runner on third and less than two outs this season, making him one of the Tigers' most clutch hitters this season.
Brown Powers Up in Big 12 Play
Sophomore outfielder Blake Brown has enjoyed a power surge during Big 12 play as he leads the team in home runs (three), RBI (eight), slugging (.593) and runs scored (eight). His three homers have him tied for fourth in the Big 12 during league play while his .575 slugging percentage has him ranked fifth during league games this season. He homered in three straight games at Oklahoma State, becoming the first Tiger to do so since Greg Folgia did back in 2009 in games against Missouri State and Kansas.
The Tiger sophomore also ranks fourth in the league with 27 walks this season and is fifth with 17 steals, making him one of the most valuable players on the team. He also cracked the league's top 15 in batting during league play with his .315 clip in Big 12 games.
Walk This Way
A pair of Tigers rank in the Big 12's top 10 in walks this season. Sophomore infielder Eric Garcia and sophomore outfielder Blake Brown are tied for fourth in the Big 12 with 27 each. In all, Mizzou has 165 walks as a team this season, which ranks fourth in the Big 12. Texas Tech leads the league with 208.
Grand Theft Base
With two steals over the midweek games, the Tigers slipped to second in the Big 12 with 79 steals this season. Texas Tech leads the league with 80. In all, a pair of Tigers rank in the Big 12's top 10 in stolen bases. Blake Brown leads the team with 17, ranking him fifth in the league while Eric Garcia has 13 steals on the season, ranking him seventh in the league.
Four other Tigers have been impressive on the base paths as well this season. Brannon Champagne has 11 steals while Conner Mach and Jonah Schmidt each have nine. Jesse Santo also has eight stolen bases, showing that the steals for Mizzou have been a true team approach this season.
Mach Ties School Record
Senior infielder Conner Mach matched the school record with his four steals in the first game of the Le Moyne doubleheader on March 12. He was perfect on four attempts and was the first Tiger to steal four bags in a single game since 1956.
Lights Out Stites Over Last Three Starts
Junior righty Matt Stites had one of his best starts of the season last Saturday at Baylor, throwing 7.2 innings and scattering just four hits while striking out a career-best nine in the start. He also threw a career-best 123 pitches and earned his first win during Big 12 play. The junior college transfer from Jefferson College has been great as of late, compiling an ERA of 2.14 over his last three starts. He has thrown 21.0 innings (7.0 IP per game) and has fanned 22 batters while walking just six. He has also given up just five earned runs in those three starts.
Stites now ranks second on the team in ERA at 3.64 and leads the team in innings pitched (64.1) and strikeouts. His 64.1 innings pitched rank him seventh in the Big 12 as well this season while he now ranks 12th in the league in ERA during Big 12 games at 2.78.
McCormick Continues to Shine
Senior lefty Phil McCormick has been the Tigers' most consistent arm this season and he has emerged as one of the top relievers in the entire Big 12 Conference this season. Not only is he reliable (he leads the league with 25 appearances this season), but he has shut down nearly every team that he has faced this season. In league play, McCormick ranks second among all pitchers in ERA at 0.95 as he is one of just two pitchers in the league to have a sub-1.00 ERA. He also ranks second in opponent batting average during league play, holding hitters to a .158 clip. Overall, he is 14th in the league with his team-leading 2.72 ERA and fifth with his .200 opponent batting average.
McCormick has allowed no earned runs in 18 of his 25 appearances and less than two earned runs in 23 of his 25 outings. He has really only had two bad outings all year and both came on short rest against North Carolina and SIU-Edwardsville.
Anderson Returning to Form
Sophomore Eric Anderson earned his first weekend start this season in the series-opener at Baylor. It was his third start since coming off of shoulder surgery last season. The righty has been pitching very well as of late and his last start was a reflection of that. He threw 3.0 innings in the game and allowed just two hits and one earned run, helping the Tigers win the series opener, 4-2. Anderson was a weekend starter for the Tigers last season, and his return to form is helping the Tigers shape their weekend rotation.
Over his last three starts, Anderson has thrown 9.0 innings of work and allowed just three earned runs while striking out six. He is scheduled to start Friday night's game against Texas A&M.
Tigers' Big Z
Freshman southpaw Rob Zastryzny has emerged as the Tigers' Friday starter as he boasts a 3.60 ERA this season. His best start of the season came against Oklahoma when he threw 8.0 innings without allowing a single earned run against one of the league's top offenses. He is second on the team in strikeouts (46) and ranks second in innings pitched (59.1). His two wins on the year also rank him second on the team. He threw 7.2 innings and allowed just two earned runs on five hits at OSU in another quality start against a good offense in league play.
Over the past several weeks, the Tiger starting lineup has appeared to become more concrete and one thing is apparent when looking at that lineup - the Tigers are young. Mizzou has started as many as seven sophomores as position players this season and the Tigers' Friday starter is a true freshman. Seven sophomores have seen regular playing time this season and six are considered starters. Six of the Tigers' top eight hitters this season are sophomores and Mizzou starts just two senior position players this season - Jesse Santo and Jonah Schmidt. Mizzou also started freshmen CJ Jarvis and Dillon Everett last weekend.
Milestone for Jamieson
Head coach Tim Jamieson earned his 550th career win when the Tigers topped the Le Moyne Dolphins, 4-2, in the second game of a doubleheader at Taylor Stadium. He is second on the all-time coaching list at Mizzou behind only Tiger legend Gene McArtor (733 wins). Jamieson has not had a losing season at Mizzou since 2002, one of only two during his 16 years at Mizzou.
Jamieson to Lead Team USA
Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson will lead the 2011 Collegiate National Team, as announced by USA Baseball back in November. He will be joined by pitching coach Rob Walton (Oral Roberts) and assistant coaches Dave Van Horn (Arkansas) and Scott Stricklin (Kent State).
Jamieson and Walton made their Team USA debuts together on the 2005 Collegiate National Team coaching staff, serving as an assistant coach and the pitching coach, respectively, for manager Steve Smith of Baylor. Van Horn and Stricklin will both be wearing the red, white and blue for the first time.
"We are thrilled to announce Tim Jamieson as our 2011 manager," said Eric Campbell, USA Baseball General Manager of National Teams. "His experience from 2005 -- coaching players like David Price, Matt Wieters and Matt LaPorta -- will serve him well, and teaming him with Dave Van Horn, Scott Stricklin and Rob Walton will provide our athletes with a unique opportunity to learn from some of the best college coaches in the game. Once again, the college coaching community has rallied around the Collegiate National Team program."
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 48 players sign professional contracts and 57 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. Kinsler has been one of the most underrated players in the MLB over the past several seasons and maybe had his best year in 2009, slugging 31 home runs while driving in 86 runs and swiping 31 bags, doing so in just 144 games. Scherzer went 12-11 last year with a 3.50 ERA and 184 strikeouts in 195.2 innings pitched. Those two along with the likes of Kyle Gibson and Aaron Crow - who are both seeing success in the minor leagues - should likely give Mizzou a presence in the major leagues for years to come.
On the Air
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 21st season of calling Tiger Baseball and is joined in the booth by Hunter Mense, who is in his first year as part of the MU broadcast team.
Video webcast for all Missouri Baseball home games in 2011 is available at mutigers.com as part of Mizzou All-Access. All-Access is the Tiger fans home to live and archived games for Mizzou Athletics, along with coaches' shows, press conferences and much more. For more information, visit mutigers.com and click on the All-Access icon.
The Tigers will play their final midweek game of the season on Tuesday (May 3) before heading on the road for a three-game series with Kansas State in Manhattan. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.
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