Baseball Continues SEC Play With #9 Vanderbilt



May 1, 2014

Mizzou Baseball (20-24, 6-15 SEC) vs. #9 Vanderbilt (33-12, 11-10 SEC)
When   Friday - 6 p.m. | Saturday - 2 p.m. | Sunday - 1 p.m.
Location Columbia, Mo. | Taylor Stadium
Tickets Click Here
Radio KTGR 103.1 FM/1580 AM - Tex Little (PBP), Hunter Mense (Color)
Online Coverage GT - Friday | GT - Saturday | GT - Sunday
Printable Game Notes Mizzou | Vanderbilt
2014 Season Stats Mizzou | Vanderbilt
Series History Vandy leads, 3-0
Last Meeting Vanderbilt swept Mizzou last April in Nashville
Streak Mizzou - Lost 3
Social Media @MizzouBaseball,| Mizzou Network 

After playing its final scheduled midweek game of the season, the Mizzou baseball team will head into the final stretch of its SEC schedule as it welcomes No. 9 Vanderbilt for a three-game series this weekend. Friday's game will begin at 6 p.m. as a pair of top Major League Draft prospects will face off. Mizzou's Brett Graves will take on Tyler Beede in a matchup between two guys who have each been projected as first-round draft picks. Saturday's game will begin at 2 p.m. as Mizzou will honor its 1954 College World Series Championship team on the 60-year anniversary. The first 250 fans will receive free t-shirts. Sunday's finale will be at 1 p.m.

It may have been 60 years ago, but the 1954 Mizzou baseball team still holds a place in University lore. Led by John `Hi' Simmons, the Tigers won a Big Seven Championship and advanced to Omaha for the second time in three seasons. After finishing as the National Runner-Up in 1952, Simmons' team went 5-1 at the College World Series and defeated Rollins, 5-4, to claim the national championship. It was Mizzou's first National Championship in any sport. The 1954 team hit .311 as a team and boasted a team ERA of 2.30. That team will be honored prior to Saturday's contest against Vanderbilt. Former players - are expected to be on hand.

As the ninth-ranked Commodores come to Columbia this weekend, it will be the eighth SEC series for Mizzou. It will also be the seventh time in those eight series that Mizzou has played a ranked foe.

Fifth-year senior Eric Anderson provided the heroics for Mizzou, driving in two runs in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings and scoring on his own triple with an error in the 11th, giving the Tigers a 6-5 extra-inning win over SEMO (29-15) on Tuesday at Taylor Stadium. It was Anderson's first career walk-off hit. Fellow senior Dillon Everett launched a homer in the fourth, the second of his career. Dylan Kelly and Ryan Howard ) also drove in runs in the contest, Kelly with his 10th two-out RBI of the season, good for the team lead. Kendall Keeton tallied three hits.

Sophomore starter Alec Rash threw two innings, pitching into the third inning and giving up two runs, neither earned, on four hits and striking out two batters before giving way to Ryan Phillips, who was strong in his three innings on the mound, allowing a run but striking out four and throwing 26 strikes on 39 pitches. Andrew Schwaab claimed the win for Mizzou, the first of his career, throwing 2.2 innings of shutout baseball. Tuesday night's contest was Mizzou's fifth extra-inning battle in its last nine games.

Mizzou has played one of the toughest schedules in the country to date and the latest NCAA RPI rankings back that statement up. In fact, Mizzou has played an SEC-high 26 games against RPI top-50 teams. Nearly half of the Tigers' wins have come against RPI top-50 teams. Mizzou is also on pace to play 32 games against teams ranked in the RPI top 50. Vanderbilt will be another top-50 opponent this weekend.

Vanderbilt, at 33-12 and 11-10 in SEC play, is coming off of one of its best weeks of the season after going 4-0 last week. It was the Commodores' first perfect week since early March, defeating Memphis midweek before sweeping Georgia. Vandy outscored the Bulldogs, 30-10, over the three-game series in Nashville. The Dores' starting pitchers allowed only two runs, one earned, during the four-game week with the weekend starters allowing no earned runs.

Pitching has carried the Commodores for much of the season, boasting a staff ERA of 2.45 and an opponent batting average of .196. The Dores have 414 strikeouts on the season, averaging 9.2 per game and 1.03 per inning. The pitching staff also strikes out nearly three batters per every walk. 10 of the 12 pitchers that Vanderbilt has used this season hold ERAs under 4.00 and six check in lower than 2.00. Vanderbilt has allowed just 58 extra-base hits all season.

Offensively, Vanderbilt hits a lot of doubles - 102 to be exact. That mark tops the league by a wide margin. Bryan Reynolds leads the team with 19 doubles and has driven in a team-high 33 runs. Dansby Swanson has 17 doubles and Xavier Turner has 13. The Dores are hitting .280 as a team and own an team OBP of .368. In their first 45 games this season, they have averaged 5.6 runs per game. They also rank second in the SEC with 69 stolen bases.

On Friday night, Tyler Beede (6-5, 3.46 ERA) will get the start against Mizzou's Brett Graves (3-3, 2.89 ERA) in a matchup of two of the top prospects in this year's MLB Draft. Last year, Beede was Vandy's Saturday starter and shut down the Tigers, going 7.0 innings, allowing just three hits, no walks while striking out 10. The only run charged to him was a solo dinger by Case Munson in the fourth inning. Vanderbilt tagged Graves for nine runs and 12 hits over 4.1 innings last season. Graves has went 7.0 innings in eight of his 11 starts this season and has walked one or fewer batters in nine of his 11 starts.

On Saturday, Mizzou will send John Miles to the mound to face Carson Fulmer (2-1, 1.35 ERA), who pitched in last year's Friday night game. Fulmer went 2.0 innings, allowing a solo homer to Dane Opel. Serving as the team's closer for much of the season, Fulmer will be making his third start of the year and he boasts a team-high nine saves.

Sunday, Tyler Ferguson will get the satrt for Vanderbilt. He did not pitch in last year's series. Mizzou has not announced a starter for Sunday.

The Tigers and Commodores have played just one prior series in history and that came last season in Nashville. The Dores, on their way to an SEC record 26 wins, swept Mizzou in Nashville, outscoring the Tigers 39-10, over the three-game series.

    Mizzou vs. Vanderbilt History
    • 2013 - Vanderbilt - 11-5
    • 2013 - Vanderbilt - 12-1
    • 2013 - Vanderbilt - 16-4

Vanderbilt outscored Mizzou, 39-10, over three games last season in Nashville. 12 Tiger pitchers saw action against Vanderbilt last year, 10 of which are on this year's roster. Below is a look at notable pitchers against the Dores..

- Brett Graves tossed 4.1 innings, the most of any Tiger against Vandy last season. He allowed 12 hits and nine earned runs in that start.

- John Miles tossed 2.1 innings, allowing four hits with a run, four hits and a walk in the Friday night game last year.

- Keaton Steele started the Sunday game just one week removed from being named SEC Player of the Week. He was roughed up for eight hits and nine runs (eight earned) over 3.2 innings while walking four with 3 Ks. - Ryan Phillips tossed a shutout inning in the Friday night contest, pitching around two hits (one double).

- Alec Rash was tagged for three runs on three hits with a walk over 0.2 innings in the Sunday game last year.

- Breckin Williams allowed three runs in 0.2 innings in the Saturday contest a year ago.

The Tigers were held to a .168 team batting average in last year's series with Vanderbilt, but did score 10 runs over the three games. Mizzou also homered off of Vandy pitching twice last season. Below is a look at some notable hitters heading into the weekend.

- Dylan Kelly is a career .333 hitter against Vanderbilt (3-for-9) with an RBI and a run scored. He also has a double.

- Kendall Keeton went 2-for-10 with a double, an RBI and a run scored in last year's series.

- Case Munson hit .333 (3-for-9) with three runs scored, three RBI and a homer off of Tyler Beede. He also walked three times and owns a .500 career OBP vs. Vanderbilt.

- Josh Lester and Logan Pearson have each scored a run and tallied an RBI in their careers against Vanderbilt.

Mizzou has played five extra-inning games in its last nine contests and two straight heading into the series with Vanderbilt. The Tigers most recently won an 11-inning game against SEMO on Tuesday after a walk-off triple and throwing error by Eric Anderson. In extra-inning games this season, Mizzou is 2-4 this season. Both wins have been of the walk-off variety.

Over his last two games, Kendall Keeton seems to have found the form that he had earlier in the season when he was one of the Tigers' best hitters. He has six hits in his last two games, tallying three-hit efforts in each of his last two games. Prior to that stretch, he was just four for his last 46 (.087). Keeton is tied for the team lead with 15 multi-hit games this season, but hadn't had a multi-hit game since April 11 before his recent surge.

Over the last three games, Mizzou has turned 10 double plays. In that stretch, Mizzou turned five double plays at Florida last Saturday and then four in the Sunday finale. The Tigers also got a big first-inning double play Tuesday against SEMO.

Under the direction of pitching coach Matt Hobbs, the Tiger hurlers have done a great job limiting walks this season. In fact, the Tigers lead the SEC in walks allowed with just 107, nine ahead of second-place Florida which has 116. The Tigers rank eighth nationally and first in the SEC with their miniscule 2.41 BB/9 average. Mizzou has walked no batters in six games this season and has walked two or fewer in 27 contests this season.

Aside from ranking eighth nationally in walks per nine innings, the Tigers also rank in the top-20 in strikeout-walk ratio. In fact, Hobbs' hurlers rank 17th nationally at 2.75, a mark that ranks fourth in the SEC, trailing only Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Ole Miss.

Another key to the Tigers' success over the last 34 games has been the emergence of a leadoff hitter as fifth-year senior Eric Anderson has been very good at the top of the order. He became the first player under Tim Jamieson to hit in the leadoff spot while starting a game on the mound as well, doing so in his last seven pitching starts. In his last 31 games in the leadoff spot, Anderson is hitting .331 with an OBP of .416 while slugging .528. He has scored a team-high 26 runs and driven in 18 more in that span. He was the first Tiger since 2010 to tally three doubles in a game and has reached base to leadoff a game in 21 of 31 games as a leadoff hitter and is reaching base at a .534 clip when leading off an inning.

Junior righty Brett Graves seems to be helping his draft stock with every start this season. He has tossed at least seven innings in eight of his 11 starts. He did not walk a batter against Mississippi State, marking the first time he has done that since Feb. 22 at Wake Forest. He owns a streak of eight straight starts with one or less walks and is walking just 1.34 batters per nine, the best mark of his career.

The Tiger pitching staff has been very good at striking out batters while limiting walks. In fact, the Tigers average 2.74 strikeouts per every walk. The strikeout-walk ratio has been a staple of pitching Coach Matt Hobbs as he works with Tiger pitchers. Since he took over the Tiger pitchers in 2011, the Tigers have seen their strikeout-to-walk ratio improve from 1.92 in 2011 to 2.25 last season and seen even better this year with the 2.74 clip.

    YR K-BB - Ratio
    2014: 294-107 - 2.74
    2013: 342-152 - 2.25
    2012: 352-193 - 1.82
    2011: 409-213 - 1.92

When looking more into the Tiger pitching staff this season, it is easy to see where the point of emphasis from Coach Hobbs has been placed - limiting walks. So far this season, Mizzou is averaging just 2.41 walks per nine innings, by far the best clip during Hobbs' four-year tenure at Mizzou. In fact, since his first year, he has seen that number shrink from 3.70 in 2011 to 3.11 last season and the minuscule 2.41 this season. In Mizzou's first inning against Cincinnati, the Tigers had a streak of 32 innings without a walk snapped.

    Yr. BB/9
    2011: 3.70
    2012: 3.24
    2013: 3.11
    2014: 2.41

Junior righty Brett Graves was named the No. 22 collegiate prospect in the nation by He is the No. 4 SEC player on the list, following Vanderbilt's Tyler Beede, LSU's Aaron Nola and Kentucky's AJ Reed.

This year, the Mizzou baseball roster features five players that have played together for quite sometime. Brett Graves, Case Munson, Jake Ivory, Brett Peel and Steven Diel all played high school ball for Francis Howell in St. Charles, Mo., winning a state championship together during their senior season.

As the Mizzou baseball program continues its transition into the SEC, the Mizzou Department of Athletics made a major commitment to the program by spending $4 million on a new facility, including a new locker room, coaches office and improved seating at Taylor Stadium. The new facility will be one of the best baseball facilities in the nation and will give players all they need to succeed on site. A state-of-the-art lockerroom, modeled after many big league lockerrooms, along with a team room, an auditorium and training room have been added on site at Taylor Stadium. Also, increased bleachers have been added down the LF line and the old bucket seats have been replaced with new seat-back stadium seats in order to help with the comfort of fans.

Former Mizzou standout Aaron Crow was inducted into the Mizzou Athletics Hall of Fame this year. Crow established himself as one of the most feared pitchers in the nation during the late 2000s in a time of great success for Tiger baseball under Head Coach Tim Jamieson. During his junior season of 2008, Crow was arguably the most dominant pitcher in the game, as he won the Roger Clemens Award, given annually to the top pitcher in college baseball, in addition to being named a consensus 1st-Team All-American. His stats in 2008 were stellar - a perfect 13-0 record, an earned run average of 2.35, four complete-game shutouts and 127 strikeouts (10.65 per nine innings). Had a 43-inning scoreless streak during the 2008 season.

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.

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 Tex Little is in his 24th season of calling Tiger Baseball and is joined in the booth by Hunter Mense, who is in his fourth year as part of the MU broadcast team.

The Tigers will return to the road to play South Carolina, beginning May 9. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to and follow the team on twitter @MizzouBaseball.



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