Mizzou Closes Regular Season Against Longhorns

Junior Kelly Fick

Junior Kelly Fick

May 20, 2010

Date: May 21-23, 2010
First Pitch: 6 p.m. / 2 p.m. / 1 p.m.
Series History: Texas leads 25-24
Last Year's Series: UT won series, 2-1, in Austin
Stadium: Taylor Stadium
Radio: KTGR 100.5-FM / 1580-AM
Live Audio: KTGR.com
Live Video: mutigers.tv
Live Gametracker: mutigers.com
More Information: mutigers.com

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Missouri will close out the regular season with a three-game series this weekend against Texas ... Gametimes are set for 6 p.m. on Friday, 2 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday ... The Tigers enter the weekend on a three-game winning streak, while Texas has won four straight ... Mizzou is 27-22 on the year and 10-13 in the Big 12 and Texas enters the weekend 43-8 overall and 21-3 in the league ... MU has clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championship next week, while the Longhorns have locked up the top seed in the tournament ... Texas holds a 25-24 lead in the all-time series between the two teams ... The last meeting was in last year's Big 12 Championship Game, in which UT took a 12-7 victory.

Mizzou recorded a sweep of Nebraska for the third-consecutive season last weekend at Taylor Stadium. The series began with a 2-0 MU win behind the pitching of junior Nick Tepesch, who recorded his first career shutout. Tepesch struck out a season-best nine batters and gave up just five hits. Senior Aaron Senne hit his 13th home run of the season on Friday and freshman Eric Garcia drove in the other run of the game. On Saturday, the Tigers took advantage of 12 walks, four hit batters, five wild pitches and three errors by Nebraska in a 12-7 win. Senior Michael Liberto and sophomore Ryan Gebhart each walked three times and junior Jonah Schmidt was hit by a pitch twice and had two hits. Schmidt also had a pair of hits in Sunday's series finale to extend his hitting streak to nine games. Schmidt had a home run and a double as the Tigers weathered a late rally by the Huskers and held on for a 6-5 victory to claim the series sweep. Missouri has won their last nine meetings with Nebraska.

Texas holds a slight 25-24 lead in the all-time series with Missouri. UT won three of the four games played between the two teams last year. Mizzou won the opener of last year's three-game series in Austin, before Texas took the next two games. The Tigers and Longhorns also met in the Big 12 Conference Championship Game last May, with UT taking a 12-7 win. The last time the two met in Columbia (2008), Missouri won the series, 2-1. Between 2006-2008, the Tigers won eight of the 10 meetings.

Aaron Senne, who broke the school record for career doubles earlier this season, became Mizzou's all-time hits leader on May 2 with two hits in the series finale at Texas Tech. That gave him 275 career hits and placed him ahead of the previous record holder, Jayce Tingler (274, 2000-2003). He enters the weekend series with Texas with 282 hits. Senne had back-to-back two-double games on March 28-30 to set a new record for career doubles at Missouri. After doubling in consecutive at-bats against Texas A&M on March 28 to move into a tie for first with Ryan Fry (1995-98), Senne went 5-for-5 with a home run and two doubles against Purdue on March 30 to break the record. He now has 68 career doubles, putting him atop that list. Senne has 21 doubles on the year, which ranks second in the Big 12. His .401 average is also third best in the conference. He hit his team-leading 13th home run of the year last Friday against Nebraska and has 39 home runs for his career, which puts him in fourth place on the career homers list. He has 203 career RBI and ranks third in that category in the MU career record books. Senne returned to Mizzou this season for his senior year, passing up a chance to join his hometown Minnesota Twins organization. A native of Rochester, Minn., he was drafted by Minnesota in last June's Major League Baseball Draft, but chose to return to Missouri.

Batting back-to-back in the Tigers' lineup, Missouri senior Aaron Senne and junior Brett Nicholas have provided as strong of 1-2 punch as there is in the Big 12 Conference. Senne ranks third in the Big 12 with a .401 batting average heading into the weekend, while Nicholas' .366 mark is 10th best in the league. Senne is sixth in the Big 12 in hits (75), second in home runs (13) and second in doubles (21). Nicholas (59) and Senne (50) rank second and 11th respectively in RBI in the Big 12. Both Senne and Nicholas have put together extensive hitting streaks this year. Senne had a 17-game streak from March 17-April 14 and Nicholas hit safely in 19-straight games from April 3-May 4.

Junior Brett Nicholas had a 19-game hitting streak from April 3-May 4, which was the longest at Missouri since Jayce Tingler had a 24-game streak in 2002. During his 19-game streak, Nicholas hit .418, with 10 doubles, four home runs and 22 RBI. He began the streak with six-straight two-hit games and had two hits in 13 of the 19 games. That streak followed an eight-game hitting streak from March 7-19, as he hit .522 during that streak with three home runs and 12 RBI. He has recorded a hit in 37 of the 48 games in which he's had an at-bat this year and he has 25 multi-hit games. On the year, Nicholas is hitting .366 with nine home runs and a team-leading 59 RBI. The 59 RBI are second most in the Big 12 Conference. Earlier in the year, he hit .444 with a slugging percentage of 1.444 in the three games against North Dakota. He had a home run in the series opener, then hit two homers in the first game of a Friday doubleheader. Nicholas hit .625 (5-for-8) in the Xavier series (March 12-14).

Nick Tepesch recorded his first career shutout last Friday against Nebraska. He struck out a season-high nine and gave up just five hits in the win to move to 5-5 on the season. Tepesch retired the side in order in five of the nine innings and earned Big 12 Co-Pitcher of the Week for the performance. Before that win, his last victory came in the opener of the doubleheader with Kansas State on April 25. Tepesch allowed just one run on seven hits and struck out five in 7.2 inning pitched against the Wildcats. A week earlier he recorded a win against Oklahoma State, striking out eight in seven innings pitched. He allowed just two runs on four hits. Tepesch pitched at least seven innings in each of his first five starts in conference play before his outing against Texas Tech on May 1 in which he took the loss, allowing five runs on 10 hits in 6.1 innings pitched. In MU's conference opener, Tepesch turned in 7.1 innings pitched against Texas A&M, striking out four. He came within just one out of pitching his first career complete game against Baylor on April 3, when he struck out five in 8.2 innings pitched in the game, but took the loss. He struck out five and allowed three earned runs in seven innings pitched on April 9 against Oklahoma. Earlier, Tepesch picked up his first win against Auburn on Feb. 27, then struck out five in 6.1 innings pitched against TCU on March 6, but took a no decision in a 10-inning win by TCU. Tepesch allowed three runs, two of which were earned, on six hits in the game. In his start against Xavier, he left following just one inning of work after he was hit by a batted ball in the top of the first inning. Tepesch returned against North Dakota on March 19 and struck out eight in six innings pitched.

Michael Liberto is one of just two seniors on the 2010 squad and heads into the weekend with a .330 average and had a nine-game hitting streak from April 25-May 9. During the hit streak, Liberto is had a .342 average, with nine RBI. He had two hits in four-straight games from April 30-May 4. The nine-game hitting streak matched his career long, which he set earlier this year, hitting safely in nine-straight games from March 14-23. During that streak, he hit .412 with a double, a triple and seven RBI. He has had at least one hit in all but 10 games in which he has had an at-bat this season and has had multiple hits in 20 games this season. Liberto opened up the year by hitting .692 at the Collegiate Cactus Classic in Tucson. He was 9-for-13 in the three games with a double, a triple and three RBI. Liberto matched his career best with four hits in a 4-for-5 performance against Gonzaga in the season opener, with a triple and two RBI.

Eight members of the Mizzou baseball team have been named to the Academic All-Big 12 team, as announced on Tuesday. The Tigers tied for second in the league with the eighth honorees. Missouri had five first team selections, including senior Aaron Senne, who earned his third Academic All-Big 12 recognition. Joining Senne on the first tem is junior Phil McCormick, sophomores Ryan Ampleman and Russell LaFleur and redshirt freshman Andreas Plackis. It was the second Academic All-Conference honor for McCormick and Ampleman. Juniors Nick Tepesch and Andrew Thigpen and sophomore Ryan Clubb were named to the second team.

After missing the first 34 games of the season recovering from an offseason ankle injury, sophomore Ryan Gebhart had a hit in the first nine games he played in his return and has recorded a hit 10 of the 15 games in which he's played this season. In his first game back, he went 2-for-4 against Oklahoma State on April 18. He had multiple hits in three-straight games from May 1-4. He was 3-for-5 with two RBI in game two against Texas Tech, then had two hits and two RBI in the finale with TTU. On May 4, Gebhart was 2-for-4 against Missouri State. He is hitting .327, with three doubles, a triple and eight RBI since his return.

Head Coach Tim Jamieson has utilized 48 different lineups in the 49 games this year. Jamieson's lineup on April 17 against Oklahoma State was identical to the lineup the previous night vs. OSU. That was the first and only repeated lineup of the season. Six different Tigers have been in the leadoff spot and four have hit cleanup. The spot in the lineup with the least amount of change is third spot where only two players (Aaron Senne 39 times, Brett Nicholas 10 times) have been slotted. The seventh spot has seen the most changes, as 12 different Tigers have hit in the seven hole.

Next up for Missouri is the Big 12 Championship at AT&T Ballpark in Oklahoma City. Action begins on Wednesday and continues through the Championship game on Sunday.



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