Tuesday, June 3, 2008
The End of the Road
Welcome back Tiger Fans for one last blog to round out the year, covering the Big 12 Tournament and Coral Gables Regional.
After finishing our regular season with a sweep of the gritty Nebraska Cornhuskers we locked up the #4 seed in the Big 12 Tournament. We left the day after our regular season ended and kicked off the postseason with an 8-hour bus ride down to Oklahoma City. We pounded out movie after movie until we finally got there, making one stop along the way for some food.
We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel which is incredibly nice, and a great incentive to do well in conference since only the top 4 teams get to stay there! My roommate was Ian Berger, who is an awesome dude to have live with you for a week. He jammed some Biggie Smalls rap music prior to every game which was fun to watch.
The tournament went by fast because we had to get up around 5 a.m. almost every day it seemed. However, the restaurants are great there. I highly recommend Bricktown Burgers.
We went 1-2 in the tournament having two shots at the title game. The loss to Oklahoma was a heart-breaker losing in the 9th inning. All in all, the tournament is a great experience and one of the best parts of the season!
We drove home another 8 hours after our last game, getting back into Columbia around 3 a.m. to start preparing for regionals. The following Monday the team got together at the Clinton Club at Mizzou Arena to watch the selection show.
To our surprise we got thrown into one of the toughest regionals with Miami and Ole Miss. The selection show party was fun and really made us start focusing for the weekend.
We departed for Miami on Wednesday, having the team divide into 2 groups taking 2 different flights, both of which had connecting flights in Atlanta. Once again, we had another 10+ hour travel day! However, the excitement of regionals made it a lot easier to get through the day.
We arrived and were welcomed by 100+ degree heat index, a good time to work on our tans. We stayed right near the airport which limited us on what we could do, however we all got to go to South Beach one day which was a blast. Everywhere you look there are Ferrari's and Rolls Royce's.
The regional kicked off with a bang. Aaron Crow threw another gem shutting out Ole Miss. This set up a match with Miami the following evening. The Miami game was a great one, going toe-to-toe with them heading into the 8th inning. We eventually lost, but watching the way they celebrated after the win you would of have thought they were the underdogs. That was a true compliment to our team. Heading into the top of the 2nd inning, all of Miami's bench players do a little techno dance to some song... I have to say, it was pretty entertaining.
Our season ended with a heartbreaking loss to Ole Miss, it was tough the way it ended not only because the season is over, but it will be the last time we play with the seniors and some of the juniors. Everyone on this team was close with one another, making a great family and it will be tough without some of those guys next year.
I would like to wish the best of luck to Jake, Dan, Lee, and Kurt as the move forward and Aaron, Rick, and Ryan in the upcoming draft on Thursday.
Aaron Senne and Kyle Gibson were selected to tryout for Team USA. Congratulations and good luck with the tryouts!
Thank you all for your support this year with Tiger Baseball and I look forwarding to seeing you all again next spring!
-- Scooter Hicks #8
Monday, May 5, 2008
Monster Calves, Monster Video Board
Sorry for the lack of updates, it is crunch time in CoMo and I have had little down time to write another journal entry. The past three weeks have been extremely volitile for the Tigers, and we have put ourselves in a position with our backs against the wall.
I will start off with our trip down to Oklahoma three weeks ago. We arrived into Norman around 9:30 PM to a baseball field that was saturated with water due to rain and only operating with 1/3 of their field lights. We had to stretch on the field with barely being able to see 10 feet in front of us. It turned out alright because we ended up having a great practice. The games went well with us winning the first two of the series, but we got hammered on that Sunday.
The most interesting part of the games happened during pregame when the audio guy thought it would be awesome to turn up the volume on the speakers full blast. I still think my ears are ringing from that traumatic incident. Another funny occurance was listening to the 10 guys in the OU crowd getting on Aaron Senne for taking his sweet time between pitches during his at-bats all weekend. They kept chanting "Get in the box!", but Senne never gave in, making for a great ordeal. The trip ended with a great flight home, highlighted by having a male flight attendant with the biggest calves known to mankind. He was about 5'8" and had 25-inch calves.
Later that week we traveled to O'Fallon and played at an Independant League ballpark. The dimensions of the field were well suited for 14-year-olds, other than a Fenway-like fence out in right field. After beating Eastern Illinois Tuesday night, we met up with those guys at a gas station. However, they had to stay on the bus while we took our sweet time in the gas station buying dinner. The next night we played Southern Illinois, but I didn't travel due to academic reasons.
That weekend, we traveled down to College Station to play the first place Aggies for a three game set. For the first time in Coach J's coaching career at Missouri we got to charter a flight and fly out of Columbia. In a nut shell, this cut off close to 10 hours of total travel time roundtrip, and makes all the difference in the world. The plane was comparable to an Express Jet. Getting to drive right up next to the plane and having your own personal XM Radio during the flight was amazing.
Unfortuneately, that was the hight point of the trip, and the series hadn't even started yet. Friday night's game started out great until the later innings. I came in the game in the 7th inning to make my homecoming against my old team, and was rudely welcome with a 2-run homer. It wasn't the result I was expecting, but I was able to end the inning and preserve the lead. All in all it was a rought weekend for the Tigers, which led into the midweek.
We played the K***** Jayhawks at Kaufmann Stadium with Ian "Meatbag" Berger on the mound. He pitched his "Tiger" tail off shredding through the lineup, but we came up short in the end. On a side note, the new video board in centerfield is incredible. It is the biggest in existence, at least until the Dallas Cowboys finish their new stadium... sorry Crow!
Finally this entry ends covering the heartbreaking weekend series vs. the K-State Wildcats. We were finally able to end the losing skid by beating up the Wildcats on Friday and Saturday, scoring in double digits each game. However, the series ended on a sour note going into extra innings and not being able to pull of the sweep. But, to keep things in perspective we are 4th place in conference and have 30+ wins on the year.
Next up on our schedule is Creighton and Missouri State during the week, and at KU this weekend. Final exams are next week and we wrap up the regular season with a homestand versus Nebraska. Come out and support your Tigers and wish all of us players good luck during finals!
-- Scooter Hicks #8
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Fake Muscles, Tiger Tails and a Streaking Jake
It's been a while since I have last written a blog, so I will cover what has been going on with the Tiger Baseball team.
Two weeks ago we continued our conference season by hosting Oklahoma State. Things got off to another great start thanks to Aaron Crow, who threw yet another complete game shutout. Our team has gotten spoiled with his performances this year. That game started out hectic when a line drive was hit off his throwing arm. Aaron was keeping a heating pack on it between innings to make sure it never got tight on him. Thankfully, the ball hit the meat of his arm and it was nothing serious. The next day his right arm was very swollen and Aaron was trying to brag about how big his arms were... but nobody fell for it.
Saturday was our TV day and it was not a very good premiere for television. We ended up dropping the game 6-2 and evened up the series. One of the most pivitol games of the year to this date game on Sunday during the rubber match. After our batting practice a lot of us were having fun in the dugout by taking wrist tape and rolling it up into a long string then sticking it on the backs on other players and coaches. They were all unaware and were walking around the dugout with "tiger tails" on their backs. It was a great laugh seeing Coach J with a two foot tail. Even our SID, Josh "Mur-dawg" Murray, was rocking a tail. Unfortunately, the tails couldn't bring us any luck and we dropped the finale to fall to 5-4 in the Big 12 on the season.
The next week was like a shot in the arm for club. We went to Missouri State and won 8-4 in 6 innings. The weather radar was ridiculous with clouds surrounding the state all day. Our bats came alive, with Jacob Priday and Jonah Schmidt hitting light tower bombs. I was telling Jake before the game how last year after the Missouri State game he went on an incredible hot streak and that he was going to do it again.
Well, he started to do just that with an unforgettable performance Friday night versus Texas. As many of you already know he went 5-for-5 with 4 home runs, which catapulted him to the National Player of the Week. Nice job Jake!
His 4 home runs helped us beat Texas 31-12, which was the most runs ever scored on them in their history. Being a part of that game was one of my greatest baseball memories. To come back from such a huge hole and then pour it on them was unbeleivable.
We continued with our hot bats Saturday, beating them 13-2. Kyle Gibson had a great game going 7 innings with 9 K's. That night a few of the Tigers' players families went out to eat with a couple of the players and families from the Longhorns at Chevy's. It was all in good fun and great to listen to them talk about the weather!
Last but not least was our game on Sunday. We couldn't quite pull of the sweep losing 9-2, however it was still a crazy weekend for the Tigers.
Next on the schedule is William Woods on Wednesday, notice the alliteration. After that we have two road series against Oklahoma and Texas A&M, which I will cover in two weeks.
Thank you for your continued support of Tiger Baseball!
-- Scooter Hicks #8
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Welcome back Tigers!
I am sorry it has taken so long for me to write another blog, I have been really busy. The week before spring break the professors thought it would be fun to load me down with 4 exams!
Just to recap what has happened I will start with the Baylor series. The Bears came up to kick off conference season, and we could not have asked for a better weekend. Our pitching staff of Crow, Berger, and Gibson all looked like major leaguers on the bump. The weather was nasty all weekend and Baylor didn't want to have anything to do with it. During batting practice on Sunday it was snowing and about 30 degrees outside. We all thought it would be funny to roll up our long sleeves and make it look like we were wearing short sleeves when they arrived at the park. It worked too! The Baylor coaches and players thought we were insane while they were bundled up in layers and sweatshirts. All in all that mentality led to a 10-run rule and a sweep.
The following day we started our 7-day road trip to Minnesota and then Lubbock. It was an 9-hour bus ride from Columbia to Minneappolis which seemed like an eternity. I was hunkered down in a row reading a Peter Lynch investment book while the others were watching movies and playing cards. Our first game against Minnesota was an incredible home coming for Aaron Senne. He dropped 2 bombs and had 8 RBI's!!! The funny thing about that game was that of the 300 or so people in attendance, 200 of them were supporting Missouri, and 100 of which were dressed in Senne uniforms. It was my first time to play in a dome which was an awesome experience. Inside the Twins' dugout are about 1000 pieces of chewed gum pressed against the walls. This was all Torii Hunter's gum he chewed during his time with the Twins. We ended up splitting the series which put an end to our winning streak, but we plan to get a new one started immediately.
Following the second game we drove back to Kansas City making a stop at some rinky dink gas station. Lee Fischer spent around $30 on Sodas and Candy. That guy might only weigh 150 pounds, but he can crush tons of junk food! We got into KC around midnight to get a quick night's rest. The vending machine there ate about $10 worth of quarters which really put a damper on the night.
Finally the road trip concluded down in Lubbock. We got there and had to travel by individual vans instead of one large coach bus. Vans are typically better to travel around since a coach can take a few guys around the city, but it got off on the wrong foot when a few of the reservations fell through and we got shortchanged a van. Because of this, myself and 9 other guys had to wait an extra hour for the last van to arrive to get to the hotel.
The series started with a bang, Crow threw another gem and Tep-daddy was nails in the 9th. However our fortune would change on Saturday and Sunday, losing both games in the 9th. We really crushed the ball on Sunday. I think part of that is because of Luke Cassis and his fungo. He named his fungo, "Black Stallion" and it is taped up and colored black with about 5 pounds of pine tar on it. He is real religious with this bat and swears its bring offensive prowess. Luke whipped the bat out on Sunday and we threw up an 11 spot accordingly.
Anyway, both games were hard losses, but Sunday's game was a great turning point for our team. We had our best energy and intensity of the year, not to mention our biggest challenge of the year. Its games like those that sculpt a team. Road series are never easy, and even though we lost the series we are still 4-2 in conference play, which is exactly where we were last year at this point.
Make sure to come support the Tigers this week, we play Western Illinois on Tuesday, Lincoln on Wednesday, and Oklahoma State Friday-Sunday.
See you there!
-- Scooter Hicks #8
tuesday, March 11, 2008
What a crazy week this past week was! For anyone who didn't keep up, it was full of changes. We were supposed to have a midweek game on Tuesday against Western Illinois. However, it was cancelled due to what was supposed to be bad weather. That wasn't the end to the scheduling changes. This past weekend we had scheduled a 4-game series against the Sycamores from Indiana State. Once again, due to bad weather, we not only had to shorten the series to a 3-game set, but also push the start of the series back to Saturday and play a doubleheader on Sunday. Talk about crazy changes!
Even though it is never fun to have to make all of these adjustments, that is what the entire game is about... adjustments. The great teams are able to make the adjustments and overcome adversity, and that is exactly what we did by sweeping a gritty Sycamore team through all the scheduling changes and without one of our big hitters, Jacob Priday. I am sure this will not be the last of the adjustments our team will have to make this year, and hopefully we can come out successful again the next time it happens.
The series went extremely well this weekend and was a major stepping stone for us as a team. Saturday's game was extremely cold, but was highlighted by Aaron Crow's performance on the mound. It was his best outing all season as he went 7 scoreless innings, allowing only 4 base runners and striking out 9. We also had some great situational hitting from Ryan Lollis who knocked in 2 runs off 2 hits.
Sunday's doubleheader was a wild one. Ian Berger started the first game and threw 6 strong innings for us. We lost the lead in the later innings and while it looked dim for a while, our team displayed our best trait, and that is fighting back. Aaron Senne had a huge game, crushing two home runs, one to tie it up in the 8th inning. Greg Folgia had the game-winning hit, with a 2-out double in the bottom of the 9th. That win was reminescent of last year's team, always coming back in the last inning to pull out a hard fought victory.
Kyle Gibson started the nightcap and shutdown the Sycamores over 7+ innings. Kurt Calvert also smashed his first collegiate homerun.
All in all, last weekend was a huge test, as we had to overcome many obstacles. Being able to overcome all of this, definitely gives us confidence as we approach Toledo this weekend. Speaking of changes, we added another game with them on Saturday. So make sure to come out and support us for all 4 games! We had great support last weekend as big crowds came out despite the cold and we really appreciate that. Hopefully, the crowds will just continue to get bigger and louder.
That's all I have for you guys this week, but before I go I want to leave you with a quote which my teammate Andrew Mueller found for me about this weekend: "The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work." ~Harry Golden
Give 'em hell Tigers!
-- Scooter Hicks #8
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Greetings and Welcome
I would like to start off by telling you that this is a new weekly journal that myself, and other Tiger Baseball players will be writing to keep you fans up to date with Mizzou Baseball.
Well, we just got back from a two-week road trip capped off in San Diego, Calif. It was a long and challenging trip, but it was really nice spending time in the warm weather and getting outside of our indoor facility and on a real baseball field. The team is looking good so far, and any time you can go to California and come back 3-1 against some of the best teams they have to offer, you have to be feeling pretty good about yourselves.
We started off the trip when he got to our hotel Wednesday night having our pitching staff play catch in a parking lot at 9:00 PM. The "Legion of Doom," as we call ourselves, loved the throwing session as we got used to the weather down there. The University of San Diego's campus was amazing. There were tons of hills and great landscaping everywhere, not to mention that they had some unbelievably designed buildings.
Ian Berger and Kyle Gibson both had great performances on the mound this weekend picking up wins against San Diego State and Cal Poly.
The pitching we faced this weekend was as good as we will see all year. Jacob Priday continued his hot hitting with a mammoth bomb against Cal Poly that hasn't landed yet, and Aaron Senne had a huge grand slam against Cal that lifted us to victory. Our lone loss of the weekend was against San Diego. We didn't play our best, however I got to tip my cap to their starting pitcher, he kept us off balance the entire game. If their hitting can match their pitching, they will go a long way this year.
Coach Vitello really set the mood of the trip by playing the movie Anchor Man on the bus. It helped keep us loose and relax throughout the entire trip, as well as provide numerous laughs.
The food down in California was pretty good as well. For those of you who have never been to the west coast, the hamburger joint "In-N-Out" was amazing and a must-have when you go down there. Make sure to ask for your fries Animal Style. Also, I got to give props to Andrew Mueller for a great toast Thursday night at the Olive Garden. I am sure the party of 20 next to us was grateful for those kind words you gave them as well. All in all it was a great trip and I can't wait for the next time we get to play there again.
That pretty much does it for me this week, make sure to come out and support us this weekend as we take on Indiana State in a 4-game series. Make sure to check back next week. You Stay Classy Columbia!
-- Scooter Hicks #8