April 29, 2013
FIRST PITCH - What You Need to Know
Mizzou will close its eight-game homestand with a battle against in-state rival Southeast Missouri State on Tuesday (April 30) at 6 p.m. at Taylor Stadium. The game renews a series that dates back to 1986, although Tuesday's meeting with SEMO will be the first since 2006, a 14-3 win for Mizzou.
Series History As stated above, Mizzou and SEMO have not met since 2006, but the teams have played 30 times since 1987 with Mizzou holding a 21-9 lead. Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson has played SEMO 21 times, winning 15 of those meetings. But since 2005, SEMO has won three of the last five meetings vs. Jamieson's Tigers.
Last Time vs. SEMO The last meeting was a 14-3 win for Mizzou in which two current big leaguers pitched for Mizzou - Max Scherzer and Aaron Crow. Scherzer started the game and pitched two innings, striking out five and walking one, while Crow tossed a perfect third inning, striking out one. Two current Tiger coaches - Dan Pietoburgo and Hunter Mense - played in that game. Mense played first base as a defensive replacement despite being an outfielder and Pietroburgo went 0-1 in a pinch-hit appearance. In their careers, Mense was a .077 hitter in four games vs. SEMO while Pietroburgo hit .400 with a pair of runs in three games vs. the Redhawks.
Mizzou vs. In-State Foes This Season So far this year, Mizzou is 2-1 against teams from the state of Missouri after defeating Truman State, 14-4, and splitting a home-and-home with Missouri State. In those three games, Mizzou is hitting .302 with an ERA of 3.00 while its opponents have an ERA of 6.23.
Notables vs. In-State Teams
Mizzou is 2-1 vs. in-state teams this year and is hitting .302 while outscoring foes, 21-12.
Josh Lester leads the team with a .625 clip vs. teams from MO - three of his five hits have been doubles.
Shane Segovia is hitting .429 with two doubles vs. in-state teams this season.
As a team, Mizzou has nine XHBs vs. teams from Missouri this season while its opponents have just two.
Mizzou owns a .413 OBP vs. teams from Missouri this season.
Recapping the Last SEC SEries - Auburn
Mizzou got a much-needed series win over Auburn thanks to a Sunday doubleheader sweep after rain forced the postponement of the Saturday game. After dropping the Friday night game to Auburn, 3-1, Mizzou rallied to win 3-1 and 4-1 on Sunday in a pair of seven-inning games. The series win for Mizzou was just its second in SEC play and first home SEC series win as well. The win improves the Tigers to 7-14 in the SEC as they improved their chances of making the SEC Tournament. The Tigers scored just eight runs over the three games with Auburn, but it was the pitching and defense that got it done for Mizzou on the weekend. In fact, Mizzou allowed just five runs all weekend, four of which were earned, including just one earned run in the doubleheader sweep on Sunday. Also, Mizzou was perfect in the field as it did not commit an error in the three games - the Tigers' unearned run was due to a passed ball by catcher Dylan Kelly.
Rash Gets the Start Tuesday
Freshman Alec Rash will get the ball to start Tuesday's game, a good sign for the Tigers who are 5-1 in his six starts this season. The only game in which Rash started that Mizzou has lost was the Sunday game vs. No. 2 LSU in which he got hit around for four earned runs on five hits over 2.0 innings, squandering a 5-1 lead. But, otherwise, Mizzou has been very good when Rash starts on the mound. Below are a few notables.
Notables on Mizzou in Rash's Starts
No Errors vs. Auburn
Mizzou is 5-1 in Rash's six starts as the team averages eight runs per game when he starts.
As a team, Mizzou is hitting .329 when Rash starts with an OBP of .427 and a slugging percentage of .464.
Mizzou has tallied 18 extra-base hits when Rash starts (11 2Bs, 4 3Bs, 3 HRs).
Mizzou has earned 37 free passes (20 walks and 17 HBPs) in Rash's six starts.
Opponents average just 3.67 runs per game when Rash starts for Mizzou, hitting just .230.
In the Tigers' last series, the defense did not commit an error, marking the first time that Mizzou did not commit an error in three consecutive games since Feb. 25 last season, a sequence of one game at Auburn and two road games at San Francisco. The last time Mizzou did not commit an error during a weekend conference series was from April 24-26, 2009, vs. Texas Tech in a sweep by Mizzou at Taylor Stadium. In fact, since a four-error game in the Sunday game at Vanderbilt on April 14, Mizzou has committed just five errors in its last eight games.
Tigers Have Been Good in Doubleheaders
Obviously a continuing trend for Mizzou this season has been bad weather as they have now been forced to play five doubleheaders. But, Mizzou has handled that adversity very well, posting a 7-3 mark in doubleheaders this season following their Sunday sweep of Auburn. Mizzou has outscored opponents, 47-29, in doubleheader games this season despite hitting .244, the same clip as its opponent. The big difference in doubleheaders has been the amount of extra-base hits as Mizzou has 23 (17 doubles, one triple, five homers) in 10 doubleheader games.
Second Inning a Big one For Tigers
Another trend for the Tigers has been their ability to score in the second inning this season as it has outscored its opponents, 25-6, in the second this season. In fact, the second and fourth innings (24-17) are the only two innings in which Mizzou is outscoring its opponents this season and the plus-19 margin in the second inning is clearly the Tigers' largest in any inning this season.
Pitching Recovers From Tough Stretch
Heading into the Tigers' April 6 contest at Georgia, the Tiger pitching staff owned a very solid 3.28 ERA. But in its next seven games, the staff really struggled, posting a staff ERA of 9.00 while allowing opponents to hit an eye-popping .392 with a WHIP of 2.19. It's no surprise that the Tigers went 2-5 in those seven games, but since that point, the pitching has seemed to return to form. In fact, over the last six games, Mizzou's staff ERA is a minuscule 1.77 as the staff has allowed just 11 earned runs in the last 56.0 innings.
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.
But that's not all for Steele. He leads the Tigers in a pair of categories that don't often go hand-in-hand as he is team's leader in wins on the mound (four) and home runs at the plate (four). After a nationwide inquiry, it appears that Steele is the only player in a power conference to lead the team in pitching wins while batting from the cleanup spot. There were several two-way players at mid-majors that led their team in wins while hitting in the middle of the order, but Steele was the only regular cleanup hitter in a power conference to do so. Steele tossed his first career complete game in a win over Auburn Sunday and then homered in the second game of the doubleheader.
It can be argued that Steele has been the Tigers' best and most consistent pitcher (4-2, 3.61 ERA) and the best power bat this season (.440 slugging, four homers, .789 OPS in 91 ABs).
Logan Pearson Shines in Leadoff Spot
Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson made a change to his batting order prior to the Florida series as he moved Logan Pearson to the leadoff spot, and the move paid off. Pearson reached base in 10 of his 17 plate appearances vs. Florida 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. He hit in the leadoff spot in all four games last week and he continues to produce from that spot as his average is .375 from that spot with an OPS of 1.099 with a homer and a triple.
Pearson Also Very Good With RISP
Another element of Pearson's game that has flown under the radar has been his ability to hit with runners in scoring position. In fact, Pearson leads the team with a .393 clip with runners in scoring position and also leads the team in batting with runners on base a .345. Pearson is the only Tiger hitting better than .300 in each of the two categories.
Segovia Has His Day
After leading the team in a lot of offensive categories in the fall and being penciled in at shortstop as the best defensive infielder in the preseason, Shane Segovia had been fighting nagging injuries all season but he finally had his day last Sunday in a doubleheader against Auburn. In the two games, we went 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored while playing great defense at third base. If Segovia can get hot over the final three weeks of the regular season, it gives the Tigers another very good hitter.
Zastryzny Tallies Third Game With 10 or More Strikeouts
Junior Friday night starter Rob Zastryzny struck out 11 Auburn batters last Friday night, just one off of his career-high. It was also the third time this season that Zastryzny has fanned at least 10 batters. Earlier this season he struck out 10 in back-to-back starts against San Francisco and South Carolina, 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. He is also the first Tiger since Gibson in 2009 to have three games with 10-plus strikeouts in the same season
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 13 games by three of fewer runs, including seven by just two runs and four by a single tally. Over the weekend, Mizzou lost a two-run game on Friday night to Auburn and last Wednesday, Mizzou then a two-run contest to Missouri State. In fact, the Tigers' last four losses have all been by two or fewer runs.
Graves Gets A Win
It was documented earlier in the notes that Mizzou averaged eight runs per game in games started by freshman Alec Rash, as the Tigers have given him amazing run support. Unfortunately, it was not the same for Saturday starter Brett Graves, who remained winless heading into last weekend despite pitching very well all season. But Graves finally got his first win of the season vs. Auburn on Sunday, going 5.0 innings and scattering just three hits and one unearned run, helping Mizzou to a 4-1 win.
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.
Hit Me Baby, One More Time
Heading into the weekend, the Tigers rank second in the SEC in hit batsmen as they have been hit 63 times this year. Kentucky leads the league with 71 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 30; Kentucky has 32.
Mizzou Still Limiting Doubles, Walks
Heading into the week Mizzou is still doing a nice job of limiting its opponents' doubles and walks as Mizzou has allowed the fourth-fewest doubles (46) and walks (121) after allowing just two doubles and five walks to Auburn last weekend. In fact, in SEC play, Mizzou has allowed just 23 doubles in 21 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 bullpen arm, Jake Walsh has been one of the Tigers' most used arms. In fact, Walsh has appeared in a team high 23 of 39 games this season and has been trotted out in 18 of the last 25 games, including four of the last six. In the Sunday game vs. Florida, 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. He tossed 1.2 relief innings on Sunday vs. Auburn to earn a hold in a 4-1 win.
Triple The Fun
In Mizzou's 8-2 win over Florida on April 21, the Tigers tallied three triples - Logan Pearson, Dane Opel and Dillon Everett each had a 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 on April 21. 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 Saturday win at Baylor on April 23, 2011.
Anderson Back on the Bump
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 five games and has an ERA in that span of 2.84, allowing just two earned runs in 6.1 innings pitched. He has seven strikeouts in those 6.1 innings and picked up his first career save against Auburn on Sunday. 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.
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, 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 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 81 of the team's 133 appearances (61-percent) and 149.2 of the team's 314.1 innings this season (47-percent).
A Quick Look at Newcomers' Contributions
Kelly Continues to Produce
61% of RBIs 55% of team's hits 53% of team's at-bats 48% of team's run
85 of the team's 144 pitching appearances 157.2 of 337.1 innings pitched
16 first-year players including six junior college transfers
Junior catcher Dylan Kelly
continues to be one of the Tigers' top offensive weapons this season. The lefty is hitting a team-best .321. 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 (.321), doubles (eight) and RBI (22). He has also played tremendous defense and has asserted himself as the No. 1 catcher after handling the Tiger pitching staff very well.
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 26 free passes (15 walks, 11 hit-by-pitch) in the first 39 games. In fact, his 26 free bases coupled with his .307 average so far give him a team-best .411 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.
Four Tigers on Big League Rosters
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.
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, earning All-Big 12 honors.
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.
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 head to Texas A&M for a three-game series over the weekend. The game will begin at 6 p.m. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.