#6 Tigers Ready For #3 Longhorns Wednesday

MUTIGERS.COM
<i>Conner Mach was a member of last year's All-Big 12 Tournament Team</i>

MUTIGERS.COM
Conner Mach was a member of last year's All-Big 12 Tournament Team
MUTIGERS.COM

May 20, 2012

2012 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Tournament
No. 6 Mizzou (28-26) vs. Texas (30-20)
• Date: May 23-27
• Location: Oklahoma City, Okla.
• Stadium: Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark (13,066)
• Gametracker: Big12Sports.com
• Live Video: Big12Sports.com
• Radio: KTGR 1580 AM/100.5 FM
• Media Notes: Big 12 Tournament Notes Get Acrobat Reader

First Pitch - What You Need to Know
The Mizzou baseball team will play in its final Big 12 Tournament this week as it heads to Oklahoma City for the annual affair at Chickasaw Bircktown Ballpark. Sixth-seeded Mizzou will open its 10th straight Big 12 Tournament against No. 3-seeded Texas on Wednesday evening at 7:30 p.m. It marks the third straight year that Mizzou will play Texas in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament. The Tigers will play again on Thursday against either second-seeded Texas A&M or seventh-seeded Kansas at either 12:30 or 7:30 p.m.

Series History • Mizzou and Texas have played a very tightly contested series over the years as Texas owns a narrow 34-29 lead over the Tigers after Mizzou won two of three earlier this season in Columbia. The Tigers and Longhorns have made a habit of playing each other over the past three seasons as this will mark the 15th meeting between the two since 2010. The two teams played five times in 2010, six times last season and three already this season. In the Big 12 Tournament, this will be the eighth meeting between Mizzou and Texas with the Tigers holding a 5-2 lead in the previous seven games. It also marks the third straight year that Mizzou opens the Big 12 Tournament with Texas.

    Mizzou Notables at the Big 12 Tournament
    • Mizzou is 21-23 all-time in 13 Big 12 Tournament appearances.
    • The Tigers' most wins in the Big 12 Tournament is three, set in 2004 and 2011
    • Mizzou has played for the tournament title three times ('04, '09 and '11) without winning
    • Mizzou has gone winless at the Big 12 Tournament just once (1998)
    • The Tigers have at least two wins at the Big 12 Tournament in each of the last three seasons
    • Mizzou advanced to last year's Big 12 title game despite hitting just .249 as a team

    Mizzou Notables vs. Texas
    • This will be the Tigers' 15th meeting with Texas in the last three years (MU is 5-9 in those games)
    • Mizzou is 5-2 all-time against Texas in the Big 12 Tournament and 3-0 in openers vs. Texas
    Blake Brown is a .286 hitter in 10 career games vs. UT with a homer, eight runs and three RBI
    • Scheduled starter Rob Zastryzny is 0-1 with a 6.57 ERA in two career starts vs. UT
    Dane Opel leads all active Tigers in career RBI vs. UT (6) while Dillon Everett is a .333 hitter vs. UT

Last Year at the Big 12 Tournament
Mizzou became the first ever No. 8 seed to advance to the Big 12 Tournament Championship game before falling to second-seeded Texas A&M, 10-9, on a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning by A&M's Andrew Collazo. Mizzou defeated Texas twice in last year's tournament, including an elimination game started by Kelly Fick, who had pitched just 21.2 innings all season leading into that game. In all, three of the Tigers' five games in Bricktown last year were against the Longhorns. The Tigers also defeated Oklahoma State, 6-5, on a walk-off single by Eric Garcia.

    Notables From Last Year's Big 12 Tournament
    Eric Garcia hit. 350, a team-best in the Big 12 Tournament last season
    • The Tigers advanced to the Championship game despite hitting just .249 as a team
    Brannon Champagne hit .313 with two RBI last season
    Conner Mach landed on the All-Tournament team after hitting .292 in the 5 games with a homer
    • Only three active pitchers - Rob Zastryzny, Jeff Emens and Dusty Ross - pitched last year
    Rob Zastryzny threw 7.0 innings, allowing just two ERs in his only start in the Big 12 Tourney

Last Time Out
Mizzou lost a three-game series at Kansas last weekend, losing on Thursday, 1-0, and Friday, 6-3, before rallying to win the final scheduled meeting between the two longtime rivals, 6-3, on Saturday. Conner Mach led the team with a .500 batting average in the series while driving in four runs - three with two outs in the Saturday win. Blake Brown, Ben Turner and Eric Garcia also had good weeks, hitting .364, .333 and .333, respectively.

On the hill, Blake Holovach earned his first win since March 31 as he pitched the Saturday game, allowing three runs over 4.2 innings. It was his first outing as a starter since May 6 against Texas. Rob Zastryzny ran into some tough luck on Thursday as he pitched 8.0 innings of one-run baseball, but he got no run support as he was tagged with the loss. In all, the Tiger bullpen again was great, allowing just one earned run over 10.1 innings pitched last weekend.

Jamieson One Win Back of 600
With a win Saturday at Kansas, Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson is now within striking distance of his 600th career win as he sits just one back of that mark with 599 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 837 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 2,155 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.

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. Mizzou is the only school in the Big 12 to beat Texas in all of those sports this season.

Opel Leads the Big 12 in Home Runs
Mizzou junior outfielder Dane Opel is leading the Big 12 in home runs this season with 11. He is tied with OSU's Wade Hinkle and is one of only three players in the Big 12 to amass double-digit home runs. Not only that, but he is seventh in the Big 12 in slugging (.536). Should Opel finish the 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.

Mach Heating Up
A good sign for the Tigers heading into the Big 12 Tournament is the fact that Conner Mach is hitting .423 over his last seven games with four doubles, six RBI and six runs scored. He is also slugging .577 with an OBP of .500 (good for an OPS of 1.077). He has two four-hit games in that span, the most recent of which came last Saturday at Kansas when he went 4-for-5 with three two-out RBI in the game. He had a huge two-out hit, driving in two, in the top of the first inning in that game and kept piling on the hits. He now leads the team with 16 multi-hit games this season and the team has a 9-7 record when he tallies at least two hits.

McGraw Back in the Lineup
Junior Michael McGraw missed nearly a month of play, missing 18 games with a strained ligament in his left hand. But he saw his first action following the injury, starting in the DH spot on Saturday at Kansas and he made an immediate impact, tallying an RBI single in the win. Before he went down, McGraw had earned the starting job at first base and was on fire, hitting .370 in those six starts with six RBI. He has made a huge impact when in the lineup this season, hitting .375 with runners in scoring position.

Anderson Undergoes Tommy John Surgery
Heading into the season, the Tigers appeared to have their Friday night guy in Eric Anderson, but after feeling discomfort in his elbow at home against Charlotte in March, he has not made a start since. In fact, last Thursday, Anderson underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, performed by George A. Paletta, Jr., MD, in St. Louis. Dr. Paletta is one of the top elbow doctors in the country and the top in the Midwest. Anderson is expected to need anywhere from nine months to a year to recover from the surgery.

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 .268 season average
    • 21 of the Tigers' 28 home runs this season have come at home
    • 52 of the Tigers' 83 doubles this season have come at home
    Blake Brown is a .339 hitter at home (.339/.407/.576) against just a .234 average on the road
    Conner Mach is hitting .331 at home against just .269 on the road
    • At home, Mizzou's top 9 hitters are batting at least .276 - Only two have done that on the road
    • Every Tiger regular has at least 12 RBI at home while no player has more than nine RBI on the road
    • Mizzou has a 4.08 ERA at home against a 4.29 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 nine appearances he is second on the team with a 1.69 ERA over 16.0 innings pitched with an 14/5 strikeout/walk ratio, allowing just 10 hits. In fact, if you discount three early season appearances (vs. Nebraska-Omaha, Central Arkansas and UALR) he has a 1.66 ERA with just four earned runs in 21.2 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 in the Saturday game 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 three career starts, Miles has a 2.77 ERA with six strikeouts and over 13.0 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.

Notable Streaks
Heading into the Big 12 Tournament, several Tigers have notable streaks intact, highlighted by Blake Brown, who has a nine-game hitting streak, and Eric Garcia who has reached base in 12 straight games. Brown of course holds the Big 12's best hitting streak this season at 21 straight games. Michael McGraw tallied an RBI single in his first game back from injury last Saturday at Kansas as he now has a seven-game hitting streak as well. Andreas Plackis had a 13-game hitting streak snapped at Kansas last weekend.

Bullpen Impresses
The Tiger bullpen has been very impressive over the last 18 games as it has given up just 16 earned runs in that span (75.0 innings), good for an ERA of just 1.92. 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 Kansas, the Tiger bullpen allowed just one earned run in 10.1 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 12 outings, the senior has gone 32.2 innings and allowed just seven earned runs (good for a 1.93 ERA). He has 25 strikeouts in that span as well, against just four walks in that span. In all, he is eighth in the Big 12 in ERA at 2.50 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).

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.

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, 90-48, 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 98 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, three ahead of Texas A&M's Estevan Uriegas (95). In all, Emens needs seven more appearances on the mound to earn a spot in the all-time top-10 (Huston Street, 105). He has appeared in 27 of the Tigers' 54 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 his 27 this season. Not only that, but Emens' 98 career appearances are the fourth-best total in school history, ahead of Bunky Moeller (1988-1991). Phil McCormick is third with 106.

Turner Catches Nearly Every Inning
Senior catcher Ben Turner has caught nearly every inning (434.2 of 473.1, 92-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). Turner's 44 starts at catcher last season are the most since Trevor Coleman started 53 games in 2008. Turner has 51 starts at catcher this season.

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.

Graduating Tigers
Dusty Ross - College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources
Kyle Barbeck - College of Arts & Science
Andreas Plackis - College of Arts & Science
Jeff Emens - College of Arts & Science
Ryan Clubb - College of Business
Ben Turner - College of Engineering

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.

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.

 

 

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