Tigers Return Home to Face No. 25 Texas

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Rob Zastryzny - the reigning Big 12 Pitcher of the Week - will throw for the Tigers Friday night.</i>
MUTIGERS.COM
Rob Zastryzny - the reigning Big 12 Pitcher of the Week - will throw for the Tigers Friday night.
MUTIGERS.COM

May 3, 2012

Mizzou (23-21) vs. Texas (26-16)
• Date: May 4-6
• Location: Columbia, Mo.
• Stadium: Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium (3,031)(10,737)
• Gametracker: MUTigers.com
• Radio: KTGR 1580 AM/100.5 FM
• Promtions: Click Here
• Media Notes: Series Notes - vs. #25 Texas Get Acrobat Reader

First Pitch - What You Need to Know
The Mizzou baseball team will return home for a three-game series with No. 25 Texas this weekend at Taylor Stadium. The first game of the series will be contested at 6 p.m. on Friday while the next two games will be held at 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday game will air live on Metro Sports and the Mizzou Sports Network.

Promotions • There will be plenty of promotions for fans in attendance this weekend. First, there will be a variety of first pitches thrown out. On Friday, Mizzou hoops star Steve Moore will throw out the first pitch while Frank Haith, head basketball coach at Mizzou is slated to do so on Saturday. Kelly Fick, one of the heroes of the Tigers' run in the Big 12 Tournament last season will also throw out the first pitch on Sunday. Also there will be a Stop Day Tailgate for Tigers on Deck members and rally towels will be handed out at the games.

Series History • Mizzou trails the all-time series against Texas, 27-33, after the teams played six times last season, including three times in the Big 12 Tournament. Mizzou has won two of the last three meetings in the series but has not won an overall season series with the Longhorns since 2008 when it took three of four meetings that season. Coincidentally, that was also the Tigers' last series win over UT in Columbia.

    Mizzou Notables vs. Texas
    • In 14 of the last 21 meetings, the two teams have combined to score 10 or fewer runs.
    • Since 2004, Mizzou and Texas are tied at 15-15 in all-time series. Mizzou won series from 2006-08.
    • Mizzou last swept Texas in 2006, winning all three games in Columbia that season.
    Blake Brown is a .304 career hitter vs. Texas with a homer, a triple, five runs and two RBI.
    Eric Garcia is a .270 career hitter with a homer, three RBI and five runs in 10 games vs. Texas.
    Dane Opel is hitting .286 vs. Texas. Three of his eight hits against UT have gone for extra bases.

Last Time Out • The Tigers were swept in a two-game series at No. 18 Arkansas as the Tiger bats were quiet in Fayetteville. In fact, Mizzou scored just three runs in the two games and pounded out just eight hits over the two games. The Tigers lost the first game, 6-3, due in large part to four unearned runs in the third inning. The Tigers were then shutout for the second time in three games, dropping a 2-0 decision on Wednesday.

Recapping Last Year's Series With Texas
Mizzou and Texas played six times last season, the most in a single season in the history of the all-time series. Texas won four of the six meetings, highlighted by a three-game sweep in Austin, but Mizzou won two of the final three meetings, all three of which came in the Big 12 Tournament. Of course the highlight of the season last year may have been Kelly Fick's spot start against the Longhorns in an elimination game as he went 7.0 shutout innings, allowing just four hits while striking out three. Fick had thrown just 21 innings all season leading into that game and he wound up on the All-Tournament Team.

The Tiger outfielders put together great numbers against Texas last season, highlighted by Blake Brown, who hit .300 with three runs, a home run and two RBI last season. He also drew five walks and boasted an OBP of .462 in the six games against the Longhorns last season. Dane Opel hit .286 while slugging .714 with a run and a .444 OBP against the Longhorns last season as well.

Rob Z Big 12 Pitcher of the Week
Mizzou Friday night starter Rob Zastryzny did something that few Tigers have done - throw a complete game shutout in league play - last Friday at Texas Tech. He threw 9.0 innings, allowing just seven hits and two walks while striking out five batters. He becomes the first Tiger since Kyle Gibson (now the top pitching prospect for the Minnesota Twins) against Kansas State in 2009 to throw a complete game shutout in league play. It was the first time in his career that he pitching in the ninth inning. He earned Big 12 Pitcher of the Week for his efforts in that start. He is slated to start against the Longhorns on Friday.

Zastryzny is the first Tiger pitcher to earn Big 12 Pitcher of the Week since Nick Tepesch in 2010 and he is the third Tiger to take home a Big 12 weekly honor this season. Dane Opel was named Big 12 Player of the Week following the opening weekend at Auburn and Blake Holovach was the league's Newcomer of the Week following his dominant start against Oklahoma State earlier this season.

More on Rob Z
Looking into Zastryzny's last few starts, Zastryzny has been very good. If you exclude his start at Oklahoma - which was suspended in the top of the second inning due to severe weather - his last three starts have been as impressive as any pitcher in the conference. In fact, in those three starts (vs. Baylor, Kansas State and at Texas Tech), he is 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA (just four earned runs in 25.0 IP) with 14 strikeouts and a complete game shutout. He has allowed just 18 hits in those 25.0 innings.

Bullpen Impresses
The Tiger bullpen has been very impressive over the last eight games as it has given up just six earned runs in that span (31.1 innings), good for an ERA of just 1.73. The highlight of that span may have come at Missouri State on April 25 when the Tiger pen pitched the final 8.0 innings of an 11-inning game while allowing just one earned run against the Bears. The Tigers also got a very impressive bullpen outing from senior Jeff Emens who went 6.1 innings without allowing a run at Texas Tech in a losing effort in the Saturday game of that series. He gave up just five hits in the outing. The six-game streak began on April 21 against Kansas State when the pen threw 4.0 innings of shutout baseball.

Emens Continues to Impress
A key reason for the bullpen success lately has been senior do-it-all pitcher Jeff Emens, who continues to have a career-year in his final year in Black & Gold. In fact, over his last five outings, the senior has gone 15.2 innings and allowed just two earned runs (good for a 1.15 ERA). He has 14 strikeouts in that span as well, against just one walk. In all, he is seventh in the Big 12 in ERA at 2.43 this season.

Champagne Matches School Record
Despite seeing his streak of reaching base safely end last week, Tiger center fielder Brannon Champagne matched the school record at Texas Tech last Friday. He went 1-for-5 in the Friday night win which marked his 32nd straight game reaching base safely, tying him with Aaron Senne for the school record. Senne completed the feat just two seasons ago in 2010. His streak is the second-best by any player in the Big 12 this season (Texas' Mark Payton reach in 34 straight games earlier this season). He has now started a new steaks, reaching base safely in the last two Tiger contests.

Sommer Time
Tiger junior outfielder Scott Sommerfeld had struggled before the Kansas State series and was actually replaced in the starting lineup for three straight games. After starting on the bench in the Tigers' game at Missouri State last Wednesday, he entered the game as a pinch hitter and delivered a huge hit that eventually led to the game winning sacrifice fly from Andreas Plackis. In fact, since that game (six games), Sommerfeld is hitting .350 (obviously a team-best in that span) with a .450 slugging percentage. He has two RBI and two doubles in that span as well. He tallied four-hit night (the first of his career) on Friday night in the Tigers' 9-0 win over Texas Tech.

Plackis Takes Over at First 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. Since that time, Plackis has given the Mizzou coaching staff a reason to keep him in the lineup upon McGraw's return as he is hitting .333 with six runs and four RBI, including a pair of doubles. He is slugging .394 with an OBP of .361 in that span as well (.755 OPS). His .333 batting average in that span is a team-best.

McGraw Out Two Weeks
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 is scheduled to be examined again this weekend and is due to return next week if everything checks out.

Jamieson Approaching 600 Wins
With a win last weekend at Texas Tech, Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson is now within striking distance of his 600th career win as he sits just six back of that mark with 594 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 832 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 2,150 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 five to do so in their careers. 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 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

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 34 runs in fifth innings this season while limiting opponents to just 12 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, 98-65, in those frames this season.

Brown Eighth in Career Steals at Mizzou
Tiger outfielder Blake Brown stole his 37th career base against K-State earlier, 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 (25 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 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 1.42 ERA in 25.1 innings pitched, spanning 17 appearances. In fact, he has given up just four earned runs over those 25.1 innings and owns a 12-5 strikeout-walk ratio.

Emens Closing In On All-Time Big 12 Top 10
With 92 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 (90). In all, Emens needs 13 more appearances on the mound to earn a spot in the all-time top-10 (Huston Street, 105). He has appeared in 21 of the Tigers' 44 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. Not only that, but Emens' 92 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).

Turner Catches Nearly Every Inning
Senior catcher Ben Turner has caught nearly every inning (346.2 of 384.1, 90-percent) 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 36 starts at catcher this season.

Gavin Stark Lands on 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 5-RBI Games
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 38-36-1 against teams currently in the SEC. Mizzou lost a series at No. 18 Arkansas last week, but will still carry a positive record against SEC schools into its first season next year.

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 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 the 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.

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 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.

Up Next
The Tigers will host Missouri State next Wednesday (May 9) before hosting Memphis for a three-game series from May 11-13. The home games will be the final four home dates for the Tigers this season as they will have just a road series at Kansas remaining in the regular season. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.

 

 

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