• Tim Jamieson is gambling that Nick Tepesch can contain the potent offense of Western Kentucky, and is saving Kyle Gibson for Ole Miss, who will NOT have their ace available for this weekend.I'm guessing one of those two games will be an upset. Whichever of the top 2 seeds - Ole Miss or Mizzou - wins their first game - that's the team that wins it all.
• The Rebels will be sending their #3 guy to face Monmouth's ace, who is good enough to beat just about anyone.
It's entirely possible, if upsets abound, that the tournament will be decided on Monday in a final game between the top 2 seeds. If that happens, all the doubters and critics of Johnny Wholestaff will see the payback as JW notches the win.
■ Missouri holds out ace, Mississippi sits Bittle (SunHerald.com)
Missouri coach Tim Jamieson is going to gamble at the Oxford Regional. Mississippi coach Mike Bianco is not.■ Tepesch gets ball for Missouri in baseball regional opener (Kansas City Star):
Jamieson announced Thursday that he will not take the conventional approach and start ace Kyle Gibson in the second-seeded Tigers' first-round game Friday against No. 3 Western Kentucky.
Many coaches send their ace to the mound on the first day of a regional to help ensure their teams remain in the winners' bracket. Jamieson, though, anticipates a Saturday matchup with top seed Ole Miss.
. . .
While Jamieson was shuffling his pieces, Bianco decided to take one of his off the board. He kept ace Scott Bittle off the 25-man roster this weekend because of a shoulder injury. While Bittle has been tossing the ball with no pain, Bianco believes he's not ready to pitch from the mound. Bittle, who's been both a starter and closer this season, has been unavailable to the team since May 3, a stretch of nine games.
"His rehab this week has been more promising and we hope if we make it to a super regional he will be available," Bianco said.
Tim Jamieson was a catcher in his playing days, but Thursday proved he could■ Missouri's Gibson a top prospect (Columbia Missourian)
throw a curveball.
Missouri won’t start ace and All-Big 12 pitcher Kyle Gibson in today’s opening game against Western Kentucky in the NCAA baseball regional in Oxford, Miss. Nick Tepesch, a former Blue Springs High standout, will get the ball.
Kyle Gibson isn’t spoiled and he isn’t a prima donna. He has a care-free attitude and there is always a smile on his face. Gibson knows he has been given a gift. He has been given the tools to become a success and he’s used them.■ Monmouth eyes elusive NCAA breakthrough win (ClarionLedger.com)
. . .
"He was so talented to begin with, that he was thrown into every situation possible," Tigers pitching coach Tony Vitello said. "He wants to do great in everything he does from the time he wakes up to the time he goes to bed."
In a few weeks, Gibson will have the opportunity to be a millionaire. For now, he just wants to help Missouri advance in the NCAA baseball tournament and this weekend he will take the mound for the Tigers Missouri in an NCAA regional in Oxford, Ms.
“It’s been a pretty good journey for me,” “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
"It's about keeping the game simple," Ehehart said. "Throwing strikes, making routine plays, staying out of big innings and then getting some clutch hitting when you need it."■ Baseball America previews the Regionals, including Oxford:
Monmouth has played only one nationally ranked team this season and that was a three-game series against East Carolina. The Hawks were swept by a combined score of 27-7.
• Bittle's status is very much in question going forward, but the Rebels just might have enough pitching to win a regional without him.■ Baseball America also has a podcast discussion of the Regionals.
• Offensively, the Tigers are an older, gritty unit without much firepower beyond undersized junior Greg Folgia (.330 with 12 homers and 69 RBIs).
• Offense is WKU's calling card, and it has a good one, with power, speed, patience and maturity. Few lineups anywhere have a murderer's row that compares with Western Kentucky's quartet of Matt Hightower (.312 with 11 homers, 51 RBIs and 23 steals), Wade Gaynor (.374 with 22 homers, 70 RBIs and 19 steals), Chad Cregar (.316 with 17 homers, 56 RBIs and 17 steals) and Matt Rice (.393 with eight homers and 66 RBIs).
• The Hawks also have the ability to cause problems for other teams in this regional using their speed: They rank 26th in the nation with 97 stolen bases, and five different starters have double-digit steals
■ The College Baseball Blog has a preview of the Oxford Regional, with nothing but names and numbers.
• Ole Miss and Missouri are like mirrors of each other. Both named after mirrors, and both have been to several Regionals recently but always the bridesmaid and not the bride.
• If they don't have Scott Bittle, its almost like Linus without the blanket.
• Missouri's a good team, a scrappy team, but I just don't know if they have reliable pitching after Kyle Gibson.
• The best offensive team in this Regional is Western Kentucky. I wouldn't be shocked to see the Hilltoppers bash their way through here.
• If you're Missouri you sure can't throw Nick Tepesch at Western Kentucky, who has given up 34 extra base hits this year.
• This is the perfect setting for Johnny Wholestaff.
■ CollegeBaseballToday.com says What, You think I'll be able to sleep tonight?
Just 11 months after Fresno State showed what the possibilities could be for all mid-major schools by winning the whole ball of wax against an SEC power, the selection committee all but eliminated at-large bids to northern mid-majors, denying championship teams like Rhode Island, Eastern Illinois, Missouri State and even San Jose State a chance to play in the Big Dance, while rewarding slovenly big-money programs for below-average seasons.■ RockMNation takes a look at Monmouth:
In essence, the committee has announced that Fresno’s Cinderella run to the national title, while it might have pleased the college baseball public to no end, isn’t what the NCAA wants at all.
. . .
Although they’ve been a tad cold lately, I still see the Rebels pulling through at home this weekend. But it won’t be easy and it won’t end anytime before Monday. By the way, also watch out for Ryan Buch of Monmouth in game one against Ole Miss. He’s got 87 Ks in 71 innings and should be a high-round draftee two weeks from now.
Clearly I would love for Mizzou to play Monmouth in the winners' bracket on Saturday, but it's probably not going to happen. While the Hawks have some offense, the Rebels' balanced lineup will more than likely eat up Brach and an iffy Monmouth defense. That said, facing the dynamic Buch in the losers' bracket is a bit scary. He's just enough of a strikeout pitcher that he could catch a demoralized Tiger offense off-guard. So how's about we just beat WKU and not have to face that scenario, mmmkay?■ RockMNation has the Fastest 40 Minutes in Podcasting, joining up with their brother site, Red Cup Rebellion, for a discussion of the Oxford Regional.