Tigers Close Big 12 Play at Kansas

<i>Ben Turner</i>

Ben Turner

May 15, 2012

Mizzou (27-24) vs. Kansas (20-31)
• Date: May 17-19
• Location: Lawrence, Kan.
• Stadium: Hoglund Ballpark (2,500)
• Gametracker: MUTigers.com
• Radio: KTGR 1580 AM/100.5 FM
• Media Notes: Series Notes - at Kansas Get Acrobat Reader

First Pitch - What You Need to Know
The Mizzou baseball team will close its regular season schedule with a trip to Lawrence, Kan., for a three-game series with its archrival Kansas this week, beginning Thursday (May 17) at 6 p.m. The series will resume Friday at 6 p.m. before the series finale is contested at 1 p.m. on Saturday. Of course, this weekend's series marks the final time that Mizzou and Kansas will play each other as members of the Big 12 in any varsity sport. The baseball series between the two schools dates back to 1901 as the two teams have met 345 times in those 110 years.

Series History • As the two teams prepare to meet for what could be the final time this weekend, Mizzou leads the all-time series, 213-130-2, despite dropping seven of the last eight meetings to Kansas. In fact, since Mizzou has not won a weekend series over Kansas since 2009 and the Tigers have not won in Lawrence since 2008. Since 2008, Kansas leads the series 11-5.

    Mizzou Notables vs. Kansas
    • The Tigers have lost seven of the last eight meetings with KU.
    • In the last 11 games vs. KU, Mizzou has scored three or less runs in six of those games.
    • The only time that the current senior class won a weekend series from Kansas was in 2009.
    • Mizzou's 345 meetings with Kansas are the most among any Tiger opponent in school history.
    • Mizzou's 213 wins over Kansas are the most over any opponent in school history.
    Eric Garcia is a .333 career hitter in eight games vs. KU with five RBI, a homer and five runs scored.
    Ben Turner is a .400 career hitter in four games against KU with a run and an RBI.
    Andreas Plackis is hitting .500 in three career games vs. KU with a double, two runs and two RBI.

Last Time Out • Mizzou lost a three-game series to Memphis last weekend in what was a highly competitive series. Mizzou dropped the Friday night game, 6-4, despite 4.2 innings of shutout baseball from the Tiger bullpen, allowing just five hits in that span. On Saturday, Mizzou recognized its seniors before drubbing Memphis, 9-1. Mizzou then dropped the finale of the three games series on Sunday, 8-7, despite taking a 6-4 lead due in large part to a three-run homer from Dane Opel. The series was Mizzou's final non-conference series of the season.

Jamieson Could Reach 600 Wins This Weekend
With a win Saturday against Memphis, Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson is now within striking distance of his 600th career win as he sits just two back of that mark with 598 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 836 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 2,154 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.

Last Year's Series AGainst Kansas
Kansas took three of four games from Mizzou last season, including two of three games in Columbia at Taylor Stadium. The other win for Kansas came at Kauffman Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Royals, where the Tigers were one-hit by the Jayhawks in a 7-1 decision. That was the first game of the season series last year and Blake Brown led off the game with a single before the rest of the order went hitless through nine innings. Nine days later, the series moved to Columbia where Mizzou lost the Friday night game, 8-3, as Rob Zastryzny who was just a freshman then, gave up five earned runs over 5.1 innings. That loss extended Mizzou's losing streak to nine games.

The Tigers then snapped their losing streak the next day as Blake Brown hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth off of Colton Murray to secure the win, 3-2. Mizzou was then shutout, 6-0, as Kansas starter Alex Cox went 5.2 innings and allowed just six hits.

Opel Leads the Big 12 in Home Runs
Mizzou junior outfielder Dane Opel is leading the Big 12 in home runs this season after launching two last week. He is one ahead of OSU's Wade Hinkle in that category as he is one of only two players in the Big 12 to amass double-digit home run numbers. Not only that, but he is fifth in the Big 12 in slugging (.554). Should Opel finish the regular season atop the Big 12 standings in home runs, he would become the first Tiger since Ryan Fry (27 in 1998) to lead the Big 12 in home runs.

Opel With a Big Week
As mentioned above, Tiger junior Dane Opel hit a pair of home runs in what was huge week for him in games against Missouri State and Memphis. He hit .333 with five runs, seven RBI and a pair of homeruns while slugging .917 with an OBP of .529 (1.446 OPS) with five walks in four games last week. Opel opened his week against Missouri State by going 3-for-4 with four RBI and three runs scored, including a two-run homer in the fourth and a an RBI double in the sixth inning as he sparked a comeback from down 4-0 with his homer as Mizzou won the game, 10-5. He then drew three walks in the first two games against Memphis, scoring a run, before going 1-for-3 with a three-run homer in the series finale with Memphis to complete his week.

Home Sweet Home
Now that Mizzou has wrapped up its home schedule this season, it is worth noting that the Tigers were very good at home this season. In fact, the Tigers boast a 21-11 overall record at home, which is their best overall home record since 2009 when the team finished 20-8 at Taylor Stadium. The 21 wins are the most home games that Mizzou has won since 2008 (23).

    Mizzou Notables at Home This Season
    • The Tigers are hitting .291 as a team at home this season, up from their .269 season average
    • 21 of the Tigers' 28 home runs this season have come at home
    • 52 of the Tigers' 78 doubles this season have come at home
    Blake Brown is a .339 hitter at home (.339/.407/.576) against just a .212 average on the road
    Conner Mach is hitting .331 at home against just .227 on the road
    • At home, Mizzou's top 9 hitters are batting at least .276 - Only two Tigers have done that on the road
    • Every Tiger regular has at least 12 RBI at home while no player has more than eight RBI on the road
    • Mizzou has a 4.08 ERA at home against a 4.52 ERA on the road
Yuengel Has Been Sharp
Mizzou reliever Ryan Yuengel is quietly putting together a very successful season in 2012 as he has arguably been the Tigers' top relief arm as of late. In his last eight appearances he is second on the team with a 1.98 ERA over 13.2 innings pitched with an 14/5 strikeout/walk ratio, allowing just nine hits. In fact, if you discount three early season appearances (vs. Nebraska-Omaha, Central Arkansas and UALR) he has a 1.86 ERA with just four earned runs in 19.1 innings pitched and a 21/7 strikeout/walk ratio.

Miles Shines in First Weekend Start
Freshman righty John Miles made his second start of the season and his first weekend start on Saturday against Memphis. He dazzled in the start, going 7.0 innings while allowing just six hits and a walks with one earned run (a solo homer to lead off the second inning). He threw 86 pitches over the 7.0 innings as both were career-bests. In two career starts, Miles has a 0.82 ERA with six strikeouts and two walks over 11.0 innings.

Miles Named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week
Mizzou freshman righty John Miles (Columbia, Mo.) was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week as announced by the league office on May 7. Miles is the second Tiger this season to earn Big 12 Newcomer of the Week and the fourth Tiger this season to earn a Big 12 weekly award. The last Tiger to take home Big 12 Newcomer of the Week was lefty Blake Holovach on March 26.

Miles put together one of his best weeks as a Tiger and had a career-best outing in his first-ever start at No. 18 Arkansas on Wednesday. For the week, the Columbia native and Rock Bridge High School graduate posted a 1.17 ERA over 7.2 innings against a pair of ranked opponents (Arkansas and Texas) while striking out six batters. Last Wednesday, he made his first career start at No. 18 Arkansas and went a career-best 4.0 innings while not allowing a run and striking out five Razorbacks against just one walk. He then came back over the weekend to pitch against No. 25 Texas and went 3.2 innings, allowing just on earned run and just three hits.

Plackis With 13-Game Hitting Streak
Heading into the series opener on Thursday, Tiger first baseman Andreas Plackis is carrying a 13-game hitting streak as he has hit safely in all but one game since being inserted into the starting lineup 16 games ago in the series opener against Kansas State. Currently, his streak is the fourth-best streak in the Big 12 and the best active streak. During those 16 games since being inserted into the starting lineup, Plackis is hitting a team-best .355 with five extra-base hits (.452 slugging) with 10 RBI and nine runs scored. He has also played very well at first base, not committing an error while registering 168 put-outs with four assists.

Bullpen Impresses
The Tiger bullpen has been very impressive over the last 15 games as it has given up just 15 earned runs in that span (64.2 innings), good for an ERA of just 2.10. 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 15-game streak began on April 21 against Kansas State when the pen threw 4.0 innings of shutout baseball. Over the weekend against Memphis, the Tiger bullpen allowed just four earned runs in 12.2 innings of work.

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 10 outings, the senior has gone 27.2 innings and allowed just six earned runs (good for a 1.95 ERA). He has 22 strikeouts in that span as well, against just three walks in that span. In all, he is 10th in the Big 12 in ERA at 2.53 this season.

Champagne Matches School Record
Despite seeing his streak of reaching base safely at Texas Tech, 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).

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 on April 25, 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 (13 games), Sommerfeld is hitting .325 with a .550 slugging percentage. He has seven RBI and three doubles and two home runs in that span as well. He tallied a four-hit night (the first of his career) in the Tigers' 9-0 win over Texas Tech.

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 eight 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
    Andreas Plackis - Mizzou - 13
Four Score
Looking at the stats this season, it is clear that the Tigers have enjoyed the most success in the fourth inning. In fact, Mizzou has scored 52 runs in fourth inning this season. Looking deeper into the runs scored by inning summary, the Tigers appear to like the fourth-fifth innings, outscoring their opponents, 90-44, in those two 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 (28 steals) and Brannon Champagne (28 steals) are also threatening to break the career top-10 at Mizzou (two players are tied for 10th with 29 career steals).

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 - at Texas Tech on April. 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.

Emens Closing In On All-Time Big 12 Top 10
With 97 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, four ahead of Texas A&M's Estevan Uriegas (93). In all, Emens needs eight more appearances on the mound to earn a spot in the all-time top-10 (Huston Street, 105). He has appeared in 26 of the Tigers' 51 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 was 25 in 2009. before this season. Not only that, but Emens' 97 career appearances are the fourth-best total in school history, 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 (409.2 of 448.1, 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. 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.

Toppling Texas
Mizzou defeated Texas earlier in May, marking the first time since 2008 that Mizzou has won a regular season series against the Texas Longhorns. In fact, with the Tigers impending move to the SEC next season, the win secured a positive all-time record against the Longhorns at 17 wins against just 16 losses. Also, the series loss for Texas marked just its third in Big 12 play in the last 27 Big 12 weekend series. Mizzou has now defeated Texas in football, men's basketball (three times), softball and baseball this season. As of right now, Mizzou is the only Big 12 school to beat Texas in all of those sports this season (Baylor has yet to play Texas in baseball and has one remaining game in softball but has defeated Texas in football and men's basketball).

Six Tigers Set to Graduate This Semester
Mizzou baseball saw six of its student-athletes graduate last weekend from the University of Missouri. Below is a list of the graduating Tigers.

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
Mizzou will head to Oklahoma City for the Big 12 Tournament. The tournament will begin Wednesday (May 23) at 9 a.m. at Bricktown Ballpark. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MUTigerBaseball.



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