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Tigers Open NCAA Regional With #8 Arizona Friday

MUTIGERS.COM <i>Mizzou is fresh off of its first ever Big 12 Championship.</i>
MUTIGERS.COM
Mizzou is fresh off of its first ever Big 12 Championship.
MUTIGERS.COM

May 30, 2012

NCAA Tournament Tucson Regional
#4 Mizzou (32-26) vs. #1 Arizona
• Date: June 1-4
• Location: Tucson, Ariz.
• Stadium: Hi Corbett Field (9,500)
• Gametracker: MUTigers.com
• Live Video: ESPN3.com
• Radio: KTGR 1580 AM/100.5 FM
• Television: ESPNU
• Media Notes: NCAA Tucson Regional Notes Get Acrobat Reader

First Pitch - What You Need to Know
The Mizzou baseball team will head to its eighth NCAA Tournament Regional in 10 seasons, but it is going as an automatic qualifier for the first time in that stretch after winning last week's Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City. Action at the Regional will get underway for the fourth-seeded Tigers on Friday at 10 p.m. (CT) as they will play top-seeded Arizona. Joining Mizzou and Arizona in the four-team regional are No. 2 seed Louisville and No. 3 seed New Mexico State. This is the 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance for Mizzou.

Mizzou All-Time vs. Regional Bracket • Mizzou has faced the three teams in the Tucson Regional a combined seven times, owning a 2-5 mark in those seven games. Five of the seven meetings have come in the NCAA Regional round as well. Mizzou is 0-3 all-time against Arizona, with the last meeting - a 5-3 Zona win - coming back in 2005 at the Fullerton Regional. That was the first meeting for the two schools since 1976. In 1976, Arizona won, 10-1, in the NCAA Regional round and the only other meeting came in 1963 when Arizona won, 6-4.

The Tigers are 1-0 all-time against New Mexico State (a 2-0 win in 1985) while the Tigers are 1-2 against Louisville after the two teams played three games in Columbia back in the regional round in 2007. Mizzou won the first game of that series, 7-5, before falling, 4-3, and 16-6 in the next game.

    Mizzou Notables in the NCAA Tournament
    • Mizzou is making its 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance and eighth in 10 seasons.
    •The Tigers have advanced to six NCAA College World Series in program history.
    • Mizzou is 42-44 all-time in 22 NCAA Tournament appearances.
    • The Tigers won the 1954 NCAA College World Series and were the national runner up three times.
Tigers Win First Big 12 Championship • In its last year as a member of the Big 12 Conference, the Mizzou baseball team went out on top, winning the Big 12 Tournament title after going 4-0 with wins over Texas, Texas A&M, Kansas and Oklahoma in the title game. The win was Mizzou's first ever Big 12 title in baseball and its first conference title since 1980 (Big 8 Tournament). The title was also the first for head coach Tim Jamieson, who was previously 0-3 in Big 12 Championship games.

The Tigers Last NCAA Tournament Appearance
As mentioned earlier, the Tigers are making their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009 when they competed in the Oxford Regional at Ole Miss. That year, Mizzou went 1-2 with a win over Monmouth while losing two games to Western Kentucky. The Tigers went 1-2 overall in that regional despite posting a team batting average of .304. The pitching struggled for the Tigers in that regional as the staff compiled an ERA of 7.27. Mizzou lost game one of that regional, 11-5, to WKU before Kyle Gibson rebounded to throw 8.0 shutout innings in the second game against Monmouth. The Tigers were then eliminated when losing to WKU, 11-6.

Notables From The Last NCAA Tournament
• Only three current Tigers played on the '09 regional team - Conner Mach, Jeff Emens, Ryan Clubb
• Emens has the best numbers as he pitched 2.0 innings, allowing one run with three strikeouts
• Emens held opponents to a .143 average in his last NCAA Regional appearance
Conner Mach pinch ran in a game and scored a run nut he did not get an at-bat

Last Time Out
The Tigers won the Phillips 66 Big Tournament last weekend, good for the program's first-ever Big 12 Tournament title. There were several notable accomplishments by the Tigers in the tournament.

    Notables From the Big 12 Tournament
    • The Tigers hit .359 as a team, just shy of the Championship record (.390 by Texas Tech in 1997)
    • The Tigers recorded just the eighth shutout in Tournament history with their 5-0 win over Texas
    • The Tigers improved to 6-2 all-time vs. UT in the tourney with their 5-0 win on Wendesday
    • The Tigers run ruled rival Kansas, 12-2, in the last meeting between the schools in any sport
    • Head coach Tim Jamieson won his 600th career game in the 5-0 over UT on Wednesday
    • The Tigers are the lowest seed to ever win the Big 12 title (No. 6 seed)
    • Mizzou posted a 2.83 ERA in the four games while no pitcher finished with an ERA above 4.50
    • The Tigers' four runs in the firts inning of the title game were the most ever in a Big 12 title game
    Eric Garcia was named Tournament MOP after hitting .500 with three RBI and five runs
    • Six Tiger position players hit .333 or better while every Tiger had an RBI in the tournament
Jamieson Claims Win #600
Mizzou's 5-0 win over Texas in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament was the 600th career win for Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson. 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 841 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 2,159 wins. To put that into perspective, baseball has been a varsity sport at Mizzou for 121 years. He is 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.

Pitching A Premium in OKC
With their backs against the wall last week, the Tiger pitching staff was brilliant in four wins in the Big 12 Tournament. In fact, Mizzou used just seven pitchers in the four games as it needed to win the tournament to get into the NCAA Regional round. That meant running out the Tigers' best arms at every point of the week. Below are some notables from the Tiger hurlers:

    Rob Zastryzny started two games and allowed four ERs over 12.2 innings, throwing 179 pitches.
    • He threw 8.1 shutout innings against Texas in the opener before starting Sunday on three days' rest.
    Jeff Emens earned a win and a save after throwing 7.2 innings vs. TAMU and KU, allowing just one hit while striking out 11 without a walk. He struck out the side on 11 pitches in the ninth against Texas A&M.
    • He threw again Sunday on short rest and threw 110 pitches in three appearances.
    • No Tiger pitcher had an ERA over 4.50 last week as the staff allowed just 11 ERs over four games.
    Blake Holovach, Rob Zastryzny and Jeff Emens combined to throw 382 of 535 pitches last week (71%).
Garcia Named Most Outstanding Player
Mizzou shortstop Eric Garcia was named Big 12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player after hitting .500 on the week with three RBI and five runs while playing great defense at short. He is the first Tiger ever named Big 12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Garcia was joined on the All-Tournament team by teammates Blake Brown, Dane Opel and Jeff Emens.

Five Tigers Recognized by Big 12
In all, five Tigers were recognized when the Big 12 announced its annual postseason awared. Senior reliever Dusty Ross was named second team All-Big 12 by the league's coaches. Ben Turner, Blake Brown, Dane Opel and Rob Zastryzny were all named to the Big 12 honorable mention team as well.

Academic All-Big 12 Honors
Six Tigers - Andreas Plackis, Jeff Emens, Ben Turner, Brannon Champagne, Eric Anderson and Ryan Clubb - were all named to the Academic All-Big 12 team. Plackis led all Tigers with a 4.00 GPA.

Garcia Shines In Leadoff Spot
Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson has shuffled the top of the Tiger batting order alot this season as five different players have hit in the leadoff spot, but he has seemed to find the best fit in Eric Garcia. The Tiger shortstop is hitting .327 in 13 games as a leadoff hitter and the team is 9-4 overall in those games. He also owns an OBP of .433 in those 13 games and has scored 11 runs, drove in six runs and stolen four bases. In those 13 games, Garcia has raised his average from .251 to .269. The 9-4 record for the Tigers with Garcia at the leadoff spot is the best winning percentage by any of the five Tiger leadoff hitters this season.

Mach Heating Up
A good sign for the Tigers heading into the Big 12 Tournament is the fact that Conner Mach is hitting .359 over his last 11 games with six doubles, seven RBI and 14 runs scored. He is also slugging .513 with an OBP of .490 (good for an OPS of 1.013). He has two four-hit games in that span, the most recent of which came last Wednesday against Texas when he went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI. He now leads the team with 17 multi-hit games this season and the team has a 10-7 record when he tallies at least two hits.

McGraw Ignites Lineup
Junior Michael McGraw missed nearly a month of play (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. He was hot while he was in the lineup and had the Tigers playing well but they struggled in his absence. In the 18 games that he missed, the Tigers were just 9-9 overall with a .249 team batting average. Since his return, the Tigers are 5-0 with a .347 team batting average. In fact, the Tigers are averaging more than two runs per game more with McGraw in the lineup than when he does not play this season (5.1 rpg w/o McGraw, 7.2 w/ McGraw).

The Tiger designated hitter had a huge week at the Big 12 Tournament as he hit .467 with two doubles while scoring three runs and four RBI. He slugged .600 with an OPS of 1.038 on the week with nine total bases. His seven hits in the tournament were tied for the team lead with both Eric Garcia and Ben Turner. Mizzou is 7-0 with McGraw at the DH spot this season and 9-5 in his 14 starts.

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, Anderson underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow on May 17, 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 .274 season average
    • 21 of the Tigers' 29 home runs this season have come at home
    • 52 of the Tigers' 93 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
Mizzou Undefeated at Neutral Sites
The Tigers have something going for them as they head to the NCAA Regional Round as they are 5-0 in neutral site games this season, including a perfect 4-0 mark last week at the Big 12 Tournament. That is of worth note as the Tigers will play several neutral site games this weekend.

Notable Streaks
Heading into the Big 12 Tournament, several Tigers have notable streaks intact, highlighted by Eric Garcia, who has a nine-game hitting streak and reached base in 16 straight games, and Blake Brown who has reached base in 14 straight games. Conner Mach has also reached base in 12 straight games heading into the weekend. Garcia and Brown's 16- and 14-game streaks are the fourth and fifth-best totals that are currently active in the Big 12.

Bullpen Impresses
The Tiger bullpen has been very impressive over the last 22 games as it has given up just 19 earned runs in that span (89.1 innings), good for an ERA of just 1.91. The 22-game streak began on April 21 against Kansas State when the pen threw 4.0 innings of shutout baseball. Last weekend at the Big 12 Tournament, the bullpen gave up just three earned runs in four games while not allowing an earned run in any of the first three games. The only three runs were given up in the Big 12 Championship game on Sunday when the majority of the pitchers in the contest were throwing back-to-back days and some for the third time in the tournament.

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 13 outings, the senior has gone 41.0 innings and allowed just 10 earned runs (good for a 2.19 ERA). He has 37 strikeouts in that span as well, against just five walks. In all, he is eighth in the Big 12 in ERA at 2.58 this season.

Emens was sepctacular in his first two appearances of the Big 12 Tournament as he threw 7.1 innings of one-hit baseball while striking out 11 without giving up a walk. He held opponents to a .045 avaerage in that span and finished just three strikeouts shy of breaking the Big 12 Tournament record. He struggled a little in the Championship game, but had thrown 84 pitches in the tournament before that outing.

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. 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 Owns Big 12's Best Streak
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
    • Jacob Felts - Texas - 14
    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 58 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, 101-54, in those two frames this season.

Brown Eighth in Career Steals at Mizzou
Tiger outfielder Blake Brown stole his 38th career base at the Big 12 Tournament, which ranks him seventh all-time in program history. He is now just two back of Ryan Lollis for sixth all-time. Just as a note, Eric Garcia (31 steals) is now in the all-time top 10 at Mizzou and Brannon Champagne (28 steals) is also threatening to break the career top-10 at Mizzou (two players are tied for 10th with 29 career steals).

Emens Closing In On All-Time Big 12 Top 10
With 101 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 (98). In all, Emens needs four more appearances on the mound to earn a spot in the all-time top-10 (Huston Street, 105). He has appeared in 30 of the Tigers' 58 games this season and is on pace to crack the top 10 should the Tigers advance past this weekend. His single season career-best in appearances was 25 in 2009 before his 30 this season. Not only that, but Emens' 101 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 (469.2 of 508.1, 93-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 55 starts at catcher this season.

Six Tigers Set to Graduate Last Semester
Mizzou baseball saw six of its student-athletes graduate last semester 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.

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.