Friday, April 30, 2010

Mizzou Baseball: Tech "greedy"; Gibson "on fast track"

Game Day

Tech baseball looks to jump start weekend (RedRaiders.com)
“If I knew for sure we’d win Saturday and Sunday, I probably would (take it),” head coach Dan Spencer said. “But fundamentally that’s a hard recipe. It’s a dangerous recipe from that standpoint. But I’m trying to be greedy and trying to get that good start on Friday and put us in a position to where we have a chance to win all three.”

To that end, Tech (24-20, 10-8 in Big 12) will trot out its fourth different Friday starting pitcher in the past five weeks when sophomore left-hander Ben Flora (3-0, 3.38 ERA) takes the mound for his third start of the season and first in a Big 12 game. Flora’s been one of Tech’s best relievers and will require another pitcher to step up and take his role the rest of the weekend if he is successful against Missouri (22-17, 6-8).

It might also force Spencer to bring in closer Chad Bettis to finish off a potential win on a Friday, leaving Tech vulnerable in the late innings in one of the other two games of the series. That, however, is not a concern for Bettis or the Red Raiders at the moment.


Tech Baseball faces Missouri (dailytoreador.com)
Tech pitcher Chad Bettis said this weekend’s series is important for numerous reasons. While third place probably makes it easier to give Tech a regional berth right now, Bettis said the Red Raiders still have some work to do.
The junior also said the Tigers had Tech’s number last year and revenge serves as a motivating factor. Last year, the Tigers embarrassed Tech in a three-game sweep. Mizzou outscored Tech 42-14.
However, Bettis said no one is looking past Mizzou and the only thing Tech is worried about is making a regional.
“I don’t think we’re looking ahead at all,” he said. “We are looking ahead towards a regional, but besides that, nothing more. Every game counts. We’re not looking ahead, Saturday, Sunday. We’re not looking ahead towards the next Baylor series. We’re not looking ahead towards Nebraska. It’s right now.”

MU in the Minors

Twins phenom Kyle Gibson is a pitcher on the fast track (StarTribune.com)
Righthander Kyle Gibson showed on Thursday why he might move through the Twins' farm system quickly.

Last year's first-round pick threw a one-hitter for the Class A Fort Myers Miracle in a 2-0 victory at Jupiter, Fla., using only 91 pitches in a game that lasted 2 hours, 2 minutes.

He walked a batter and hit a batter, but both were erased by double plays.

The lone hit was an infield single to lead off the sixth -- but Gibson picked him off. That means he faced the minimum 27 batters over nine innings.

Of his 91 pitches, 65 were strikes. He struck out six.

"I just got everything going," Gibson said. "It was just one of those games where I had a lot of good defense behind me. They were playing really good, and it worked out for me."
Black Knights outslug Owls (theprogressnews.com)
With one lead frittered away already, the Knights picked up some insurance runs in the sixth, with Cody Harsomchuck and Trevor Coleman hitting consecutive doubles to get things going.
. . .
Coleman had three hits on the day.
Fight is back in GreenJackets' finale against Sand Gnats (Augusta Chronicle)
Ryan Lollis (06-09) went 2 for 4 with two RBI, including a home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth. The homer was the first of the year for Lollis and just his third in 65 games at the professional level.

"I don't do it very often. I mean, I don't hit home runs ever," Lollis said. "I had to look back at it four times to make sure (it was gone)."

Lollis' shot easily cleared the right-field fence to put Augusta up 8-3.
College Baseball

■ A good discussion about the details behind those (sometimes conflicting, - Warren Nolan vs. Boyd) RPI rankings at CollegeBaseball.Rivals.com, with a less rambling (at this point) follow-up discussion here
Boyd Nation: The Strength of Schedule ranking that's published with the ISR's has always been reverse-engineered -- the program computes the ISR and then backtracks from there by removing the winning percentage component to come up with the SoS. When I made the changes last year to include margin of victory into the rankings, I neglected to take that part back out when I was computing SoS. I've corrected that in the code (the results aren't published yet, because this morning's run is still updating the mobile pages; I'll rerun the ISR part when it gets done); it doesn't make a huge amount of difference for most teams (and please understand that it doesn't affect the ISR at all, only the SoS part of the report), but it does appear that teams who have won by a large margin were having their SoS overstated.
. . .
SoS as I publish it is just the average of a team's opponents' ISR (or the ordinal rank that that number gives relative to everyone else).
Ten common sense, time saving rule changes (CollegeBaseballToday.com)
7- Any batter that goes to re-adjust the velcro on his batting gloves is given a strike.

8- When a coach calls time out to go out to the mound, a 60-second clock starts. That should speed up any slow half-steppers out there. (Call this the “Skip Bertman Rule” for how painfully slow he used to limp out to the mound)

Game Day: Mizzou @ Texas Tech: Play it backwards

■ Texas Tech By the Numbers:
Tech finds odd formula for success (RedRaiders.com, April 27)
In their last three Big 12 series, the Red Raiders have been hammered on Fridays, losing to Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Kansas by a combined score of 35-6. Each time, however, Tech has found a way to climb out of that early series hole and is a perfect 6-0 in its past three Saturdays and Sundays. This past week, that approach culminated with the program’s fourth straight Big 12 series victory and second road series win of the season, neither of which have happened since 2004.

In essence, Tech is not only pitching it backward – saving its best pitchers for Saturday and Sunday to take advantage of more favorable matchups – it is pretty much playing it backward as well. Had any of the past three Friday games been on Sunday, where most teams would play them, Tech would have been run-ruled in two of them, and the feelings might not be so good in the clubhouse right now.
. . .
Tech had a solid Friday guy until John Neely broke his right hand, knocking him out for the season. Louis Head was pounded by Oklahoma State, and he’s no longer an option. Brett Bruening has tried it the last two weeks and has been knocked around severely, giving up five runs to OU and six runs in the first inning to Kansas this past Friday.

With Brandon Petite and Scott Erzinger still saddled with double-digit ERAs and Colt Farrar starting today against New Mexico, the last option left might be Brennan Stewart, who has actually been pretty good in his last few outings. He tossed four shutout innings last Wednesday against Alabama A&M and had two solid relief outings prior to that start.
Nine-run inning dooms Red Raiders in 16-8 loss to Lobos (RedRaiders.com, April 27)
As well as the Texas Tech baseball team has played lately, Tuesday was a reminder just how thin the line between winning and losing remains.
A nine-run sixth inning by New Mexico and a rare lack of clutch hitting by Tech spelled doom for the Red Raiders, who dropped a 16-8 decision to the Lobos at Isotopes Park.

The loss was the third in the last 12 games for Tech, which falls to 24-21 overall heading into a key Big 12 Conference series Friday at home against Missouri. Tech has now allowed double-digit runs in seven of its last nine losses.
Tech baseball adds another series win (RedRaiders.com)
Not even the rain could stop the march the Texas Tech baseball team is on.

The Red Raiders scored nine runs after the resumption of a game suspended by rain from Saturday to even
their Big 12 Conference series with Kansas, then hammered the Jayhawks for 21 runs on 24 hits in capturing wins of 11-8 and 21-10 to win the series Sunday at Hoglund Ballpark.

The Red Raiders (24-20, 10-8 in Big 12) solidify their spot in the top half of the Big 12 Conference with their fourth straight series win and second road series win this season. It is the first time Tech has accomplished either of those feats in the same season since 2004.
Pitching, timely hitting propel Raiders (RedRaidrs.com, April 21)
“These midweek games have hurt us early in the season but we’ve kind of turned that around lately,” said Stewart, who walked one and struck out four. “Pitching has always been the big thing for us and we’ve been pitching extremely well the past couple of games. For us to come out here and get two midweek series wins and throw strikes and play good defense … that’s big for us going into Kansas this weekend.”

Farrar, one of Tech’s more effective relievers as of late, followed with 42/3 innings of relief to improve to 2-1 on the year. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out four, coming out after giving up a two-out single in the top of the ninth.

■ Anyone heading to the games in Lubbock should familiarize themselves with the Tech Hecklers. Their website is a little out of date, but it will give you the flavor of the lengths to which this group will go to liven up a baseball game. Especially check out The 10 Commandments of Heckling.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes:

Big 12 Baseball

Round Rock Express bids for Big 12 baseball (statesman.com)
The Round Rock Express has made a big financial bid to host the Big 12 baseball tournament starting in 2012, says Reid Ryan, president of Ryan-Sanders Baseball.

Oklahoma City has served as the home of the tournament for 12 of the last 14 years and will do so again next month and again in 2011. But the Express bid “significantly more” than the minimum required bid of $500,000 for the rights to host the tournament from 2012 through 2014, according to a source familiar with the bid.

The Big 12 office hopes to determine the site for the tournament by the end of this summer.

MU in the Minors & Majors

Minor Lines, 4/26/10 (McCoveyChronicles.com)
With two hits each, Cavan and Ryan Lollis (06-09) accounted for half of the GreenJackets' eight hits, raising their respective AVGs to .280 and .346.
Joaquin Arias, Andres Blanco the likely casualties when Ian Kinsler returns (DallasNews.com)
Ian Kinsler (03) completed his rehab assignment with Frisco Wednesday night, going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI singles and a stolen base. Kinsler, who has missed the start of the season with a right high ankle sprain, is expected to join the club today although Washington doesn't want him to play. He'll be activated before Friday's game in Seattle.
Summer Ball

Big 12 products sign with Generals (CollegeSummerBaseball.net)
The Victoria Generals have announced the signing of two infielders with ties to the Big 12 Conference. Kenny Jackson, a junior at Texas A&M University, will return for the Generals this summer along with newcomer Conner Mach, a sophomore from the University of Missouri.
. . .
“Conner was a big time prospect coming out of high school,” commented Koch. “He had several Big 12 programs after him and chose to stay close to home to attend Missouri.”


7 returners highlight 2010 roster (CollegeSummerBall.net)
The 2010 season will see some familiar faces donning the navy-blue and forest-green of the Duluth Huskies. Seven players return to Duluth after spending the 2009 season with the club and will help provide a strong core of leadership as the team transitions to a new style of play under Field Manager Daniel Hersey. Hersey returns to the Huskies for his first year as Field Manager, after spending 2006 as the club's Pitching Coach.
. . .
A promising young outfielder, Scott Sommerfeld, is coming off of a 2009 season where he battled through a few injuries. Now healthy he will provide outfield depth and some power at the plate. Sommerfeld was a 45th round selection of the Cleveland Indians in 2009

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes

When it rains it pours for Tigers (Columbia Tribune)
Brett Nicholas went 3 for 5 to extend his hitting streak to 15 games. Gebhart has had a hit in each of the five games he’s played since returning from an injury that forced him to miss the first 34 games of the year.
Tigers blast Panthers (dennews.com)
The bottom of the third decided the game. Martin gave up five runs and gained a 5-1 advantage. The Tigers' red-shirt freshman designated hitter Andreas Plackis walked and scored on senior first baseman Aaron Senne RBI double. Junior third baseman Brett Nicholas singled and then freshman center fielder Dane Opel doubled to right center for an RBI.

Junior right fielder Jonah Schmidt then walked and freshman Eric Garcia had a sacrifice fly. Schmitz saw enough and replaced Martin with junior pitcher Matt Miller with one out and runners on first and second. However, Miller did not pitch much better. He got junior shortstop Jesse Santo to ground out, but Schmidt and Opel advanced to second and third. Then, a wild pitch scored Opel. Junior catcher Ryan Ampleman made it 5-1 by singling Schmidt home for the 5-1 Tiger lead.
Pitcher shines in rare start for Missouri baseball team (Columbia Missourian)
Tyler Clark needed some work, and he needed some confidence.

The junior pitcher got both in the Missouri baseball team’s 10-2 victory against Eastern Illinois on Tuesday in O’Fallon.
Going neutral can be positive (The Maneater)
"As a little kid I followed the Royals a lot," Missouri junior catcher Brett Nicholas said after last week's game. "I'm actually named after George Brett. So it was something special to come play on the same field as him."

After playing April 7 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Tiger freshman centerfielder Blake Brown was similarly impressed.

"It was awesome getting to stand in the same box as Albert Pujols and getting to roam centerfield like that," Brown said.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes

Take Two: An alternative look at the day in sports (Columbia Tribune)
But it invited the question: With Missouri playing a doubleheader against Kansas State in a steady mist to conclude a weekend when it rained so much even Noah would have to wonder if it would ever stop, who decided the Tigers should wear their all-white home uniforms?
Tepesch emerging as Missouri baseball ace (The Maneater)
After pitching in the shadow of junior Kyle Gibson last season, Tepesch has become the go-to guy for the Tigers this year. Although his 3.98 ERA isn't the best on staff, the junior has pitched more than 60 innings for Missouri and leads the team with 46 strikeouts. His work has earned him the role of game one pitcher for 2010.

■ For those who were at the K-State games this weekend, here's an article about the Wildcats' most vocal fan in the stands, Robert Lipson: This poor fan never misses a Kansas State game (WSJ.com)
The 5-foot, 6-inch Mr. Lipson -- who has never played on a football team -- grew up in Sullivan County, N.Y., enrolling in K-State in 1970 to study biology. He dropped out in 1974, going on to make a living as a salesman for advertising specialties and promotional products. By then he was well on his way to his real calling: becoming the football team's No. 1 fan.

"It started when I decided to travel to all the conference games to see the other stadiums, and just went from there," he says.
MU in the Minors

Miracle ace in no hurry (news-press.com)
The 6-foot-6 right-handed pitcher said he wakes up at 7 a.m. several times a week to play 18 holes of golf before heading to the stadium for the day.

“I was 2-over on the front nine and 1-under on the back nine until I bogeyed the last hole,” Gibson admitted. “I’m anywhere from an 8 to 12 handicap. Pro ball is the life; you can go play (golf) whenever you want.”

The 22nd overall pick of last year’s draft has been pretty good on the baseball field for the Miracle as well.

MU vs. Eastern Illinois @ O'Fallon

■ Missouri plays Eastern Illinois @ 6:30 tonight at T.R. Hughes Ballpark in O'Fallon Missouri. Ticket Details

■ By the Numbers:
Eastern Illinois is 11-26, 6-8 in the Ohio Valley; ranked 245th in the BoydsWorld.com RPI
Panthers get back in OVC race with sweep of Racers (dennews.com)
It was no secret Eastern needed to win its road series against Murray State to still be in the thick of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament hunt.

The Panthers (11-26, 6-8 OVC) vaulted out of last place in the league by sweeping a shortened doubleheader series against Murray State 8-6 and 7-4, Sunday iun Murray, Ky.
Schmitz says pride at stake (dennews.com, APril 23)
Eastern head coach Jim Schmitz has seen it all this season in how his baseball team loses games. Blown saves, poor hitting, fielding gaffes that have been plaguing the Panthers the whole season.

Schmitz and his crew, though, are not throwing in the towel as they open play Ohio Valley Conference opponent Murray State beginning 1 p.m. Saturday at Murray, Ky.

This past week has been rough for Eastern (9-26, 4-8 OVC), as it has been on a five-game losing streak, the third losing streak five-games or longer this year.
Mistake pitch leads to Illini baseball win (JG-TC.com)
The Panthers’ path to a win looked to be derailed after Illinois scored three runs in the third inning off relief pitcher Matt Miller, but EIU catcher Gerik Wallsten tied the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth inning with a two-out RBI single to score Ryan Dineen.

A solo home run from third baseman Zach Borenstein–his seventh of the season–gave EIU a 5-4 lead through seven innings, but Illinois tied it again in the top of the ninth and won the game 6-5 in the 10th on a sacrifice fly by Craig Lutes.

The tying run in the ninth—an RBI single by pinch hitter Daniel Parker—also came on a mistake pitch. Parker whiffed on a fastball the pitch before his RBI single, and EIU coach Jim Schmitz wanted the same pitch on the 1-1 count. Instead EIU reliever Dillan Roark threw a changeup.

“We really lost it because of one pitch that was called, and I really can’t get over it,” Schmitz said. “The guy can’t hit a fastball, and (Roark) throws a changeup. It’s not a blown save. It’s a really dumb call to a really bad hitter when you throw him a changeup and he can’t touch a fastball. I don’t know what the mix-up was. I think it was a miscommunication, but this is game No. 35 and that shouldn’t happen.”
Pre-season comments on Eastern Illinois from CollegeBaseballToday:
The Good News:

EIU got a lot of pub (from me at least) for their hot regular season that included wins over South Florida, Bethune-Cookman, Oklahoma and Illinois. As witnessed by their .362 average which was 2nd in the country, the Huskies can hit with anyone. Having Derbak, Borenstein (led all frosh with .506OB%) and part-time starter Jake Samuels (.345-5-28) come back will mean big numbers again. Ben Thoma (.277-8-23) is also a big stick that should emerge. Mueller and Recchia are a great one-two punch on the weekends and are expected to be June draftees of the MLB. Also, Scott Foley, the closer from ‘08, is back from injury, as is RHP Mike Hoekstra, who started six games as a frosh.

The Bad News:

(Insert grumble here) I’m not real happy with the Panthers right now. All season long I gave them props for some great early season wins and their dominating the OVC. Then came the post-season. That 0-2 swan dive in the OVC tourney cost them a return trip to the Regionals. A 10-8 finish should’ve been an indication that something wasn’t right. Saying goodbye to Brett Nommensen and his .525 average is painful. Replacing the sticks and gloves of SS Jordan Kreke and 2B Jordan Tokarz will be vital. Derbak was a great closer last year, but an injury will keep him from pitching in ‘10, so the bullpen will need new blood, which is never good..

Pie-eyed Tigers finish sweep (TigerExtra.com)
In the muddled Big 12, two victories make a huge difference. With its first series win of the season, Missouri (21-17, 6-8) jumped from 10th to seventh place in the conference standings, percentage points behind Kansas (6-8-1).

It could mean more in the long run for a young squad. Just a week ago, MU Coach Tim Jamieson lamented the fact that his Tigers couldn’t find ways to win close games, once a Missouri trademark. But yesterday, a lot of little things added up to a big win — reminiscent of Jamieson-coached teams of the past.
■ And, still chuckling over MU's sweep of KSU, I leave you with this photo

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tigers rain on Wildcat parade

■ Rankings

Boyd's World RPI:
Sunday morning: Mizzou 113th; K-State 28th

Monday morning: Mizzou 89th; K-State 40th
Big 12:
Mizzou: Moved up to 7th (6-8, .429)

K-State: Hanging on to 2nd (9-5, .643)

Missouri's 4 remaining Big series include the last ranked team (NU), and 3 of the top 5 ranked teams: UT (1), TT (3), KU (5)
■ Good slideshow of photos from the soggy double header at KCTV5.com

Three down: Kansas State (CollegeBaesballToday.com)
The Wildcats lost both ends of a double header 4-2 and 9-8 (in 10 innings)

It’s not like the Wildcats weren’t given every opportunity in the world here either. In game one, the Tigers issued seven walks and two hit batsmen to go along with KSU’s eight hits. In game two, the Cats got 13 hits and a bonus of five Tiger errors. But in the end, even all that gifting wasn’t enough. Tiger frosh Dane Opel hit a two-run jog-off dinger in the 10th to cap the day.

Oh, and it also didn’t help that K-State stranded 23 baserunners on the day.
. . .
Missouri is a team that had kind of fallen off the grid a bit this season and KSU has been one of the surprise teams in the country. Well, when rain ravaged the series, that was one thing, then when the games actually got played, the Wildcats couldn’t pull out a win today. KSU came into the weekend with a No. 28 RPI rating. That should fall a bit after this DH tank job.
Mizzou baseball vs. Kansas State non-raining live blog (KMOV.com)
Despite not making it through eight, Tepesch turned in another very good outing. If his last few starts are any indication, Missouri may have found itself an ace for the stretch run of this season. He threw 133 pitches in the game—a Kyle Gibson-esque total.

Mizzou baseball vs. K-State game two live blog (KMOV.com)
Fick cruises through another inning, pitching over a pair of two-out errors by Brett Nicholas at third to nail down his third scoreless inning of work. His ERA is down below 1.50 for the year and he has 18 strikeouts to just four walks in 24 innings pitched.
On the negative side of things, Nicholas' two errors put Missouri at five for the game. The fact that the MU is within one going to the bottom of the eighth with five errors is pretty surprising.

Catcher's intangibles key in doubleheader sweep for Missouri baseball (Columbia Missourian)
Ampleman said his ability to call good games behind the plate was starting to hinder because he was thinking too much about his hitting woes.

“It was in my head,” Ampleman said. “To be honest with you, you have to go back to like second grade. You don’t think, just go out and play and have fun.”

In Game 1, Ampleman and Tepesch put together one of Missouri’s best starts of the year. Tepesch pitched into the eighth inning, despite not having great control because of the rainy weather.

The tandem held Kansas State to one run, and Missouri won 4-2.

Team drops double-header at Missouri (kstatecollegian.com)
The weather was gloomy all weekend in Columbia, Mo., and a rain-shortened, two-game series also turned out gloomy for the K-State baseball team.
The Wildcats (27-10, 9-5 Big 12 Conference) dropped both games of a Sunday doubleheader and hurt its chances to catch No. 3-ranked Texas for the Big 12 lead. The Longhorns recorded their 14th-straight Big 12 win Sunday to complete a three-game sweep of Oklahoma State.

Underhand pitches keep Missouri reliever on the mound (Columbia Missourian - article plus video)
Missouri coach Tim Jamieson wasn’t surprised the style was effective. He was just surprised that McCormick became successful so quickly.

“A lot of times, and in his case too, it’s kind of a last alternative,” Jamieson said. “He’d almost been cut several times. He’d probably be the first one to tell you, he was struggling to get anybody out. He needed to come to the conclusion that that was the best alternative.”

MU legend gets his due (TigerExtra.com)
The Tigers officially opened the McArtor Baseball Facility in a ceremony yesterday. It is named for longtime Missouri coach and administrator Gene McArtor, whose mother, wife, children and grandchildren were on hand for the dedication.

“I’m proud to have my name associated with this,” McArtor said. “I’m hoping maybe it’ll get me a few free swings along the way.”

“The Mac” houses three batting cages and dirt pitching mounds for year-round use.

“Obviously, you want to try and improve your situation to give yourself a chance to win more baseball games,” Jamieson said. “That’s really what it comes down to.”

Big 12 Baseball

Double trouble: Dozen two-baggers doom KU baseball (KUSports.com)
The tentative pitching, more than anything, was what ate at Kansas University baseball coach Ritch Price after his team dropped a pair games to Texas Tech, 11-8 and 21-10, Sunday at cold and windy Hoglund Ballpark.

“I think the whole key to it was we were behind in the count almost every single hitter and got into power counts where we had to throw fastballs,” Price said.

In the series finale, Texas Tech tied a Big 12 record with 12 doubles.

Texas baseball hammers Oklahoma State (statesman.com)
"When it feels as easy and it looks as easy as it does right now, it's because everyone's on the same page," Garrido said.

And the Longhorns are making it look very easy. Texas swept its fourth straight conference series, outscoring OSU 28-4 over the weekend and improving to 16-2 in Big 12 play.

Its 16-game streak is the longest Texas has put together since 2005 , a year that ended with the College World Series title.

"You can win every game," Garrido said. "You don't, but you can."

Right now, it looks like the Longhorns just might.

MU in the Minors

Zagone picks up where he left off (fredericknewspost.com)
"Right when I got here I was in a kind of a little bit of a funk," Zagone said after Sunday's game. "Then toward the end of the season I started pitching really well again. I've been hitting my spots, letting the hitters get themselves out."

Despite his good ERA [2.29], he is 0-1 on the season.

"You can't worry about that," he said. "You've got to go out there and get outs."

Photos of Kyle Gibson pitching on April 24th for the Fort Meyers Miracle> (flicker.com)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Game on!

Game1 of today's doubleheader is underway @ Taylor Stadium. A bit damp but the rain appears to be past CoMo for now. Top of the 6th and MU is up 4-1!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Rain delay

Game to begin approx@8:00

Weather looking hopeful for MU-KSU weekend

■ As of Friday afternoon in Columbia, the stick-your-head-out-the-window weather and the latest weather radar is looking good for this evening's game. Could be a spotty shower or two, but it appears likely the game can be played.

Latest weekend forecast (KOMU.com):
Friday evening: Cloudy evening. There is a slight chance we could see some rain. Temperatures will remain around 67. Winds will be 10 to 15 MPH from the southeast turning from the south as the evening progresses.

Saturday afternoon: A bit of fog and drizzle is expected. The rainfall should end around 2:00pm with total accumulations for this event near 0.50 inches. Temperatures will climb from 60 with today's high of 68 occurring around 4:00pm. Skies will be mostly sunny to cloudy with 5 MPH winds from the south turning from the southeast as the afternoon progresses.

Sunday afternoon: Breezy and cloudy afternoon. There is a slight chance we could see some rain. Temperatures will decline from 65 early this afternoon to 57. Winds will be 15 to 20 MPH from the northwest turning from the north as the afternoon progresses.
Kansas is hoping the Tigers can get on a roll this weekend and help them out by taking a couple of games from second-place Kansas State when the two teams meet for three games at Taylor Stadium at Simmons Field in Columbia.
. . .
Missouri’s Aaron Senne leads the Big 12 in hitting through all games. The senior first baseman is hitting .436 in 36 games this season, which ranks him 11th in the nation. The left-handed-hitting Senne has 268 hits in his career at Missouri, just six shy of the all-time mark. He also is the school leader in doubles, with 63 for his career.
Meanwhile, junior catcher Brett Nicholas enters the series with Kansas State riding a 12-game hitting streak. During the streak, Nicholas is hitting .449 with 12 runs batted in. Nicholas had an eight-game hitting streak earlier in the season
■ From CollegeBaseballToday.com:
Kansas State won at Wichita State 7-4 in front of an Eck Stadium (regular season) record crowd of 7,217. . . the Power Cats sweep the season series from Wichita for the second season in a row, something that hasn’t happened since the last ice age. KSU is also off to its best start in school history at 27-8.
KSU baseball topping '09 success (CJOnline.com)
However, it shouldn't come as too big of a surprise. All but one of coach Brad Hill's K-State teams have improved their win total from the year prior.

This year, Hill said before the season started he would lean on a few select players to provide leadership and raise the bar from last year's team. These players represent the heart of the K-State lineup, as well as much of this season's success.

"I think the top four guys have really done a great job," Hill said. "That's what you have to have.

"You need three or four guys that are really consistent, that show up every day and you know what you're going to get everyday."
Reality sets in for Wichita State baseball (Wichita Eagle)
Something is amiss at Wichita State. How else do you explain the team's 53-41 record since the start of last season?
. . .
And over 30-plus years, things do go wrong. With one look at this season's team, it's not difficult to tell the Shockers don't have the talent level they've had in the past. That's not surprising, again, given the increase in competition for those players.
Kansas and Kansas State have dramatically improved because more resources have gone into their programs.

The explosion of Big 12 baseball has created a cutthroat competition not only on the playing field, but on the recruiting trails. The Shockers don't have the same cache they once had and it shows.
■ The current RPI Needs report is up at Boyd's World. You don't want to look.

Tigers blanked by archrival Jayhawks in KC (ColumbiaTribune)
It didn’t help that Missouri put the K in Kauffman. The Tigers struck out 10 times, the fourth time in the past five games Missouri has recorded double-digit strikeouts.

“It is” becoming a concern, MU Coach Tim Jamieson said, “because a lot of them are happening at a time when you need to have a good at-bat or when guys are in scoring position. … There’s no question that it’s something that needs to get better.”
MU in the Minors

■ From BND.com:
Former Edwardsville High and University of Missouri standout Evan Frey (05-07) is off to a great start with Arizona's Class A affiliate at Mobile Bay in Alabama. Through 11 games, Frey was hitting .367 with two doubles and six RBIs. Frey, a 10th-round pick in 2007, also spent time with the Diamondbacks in spring training.
This was from last week (The Life and Times of Aitch)
The first words out of his mouth were “congratulations”, and when I heard that word I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I always try to stay as positive as possible during spring training but you always have to realize that there still is a possibility of possibly being released. He went on to say that the final rosters for each team would be posted during our lunch break. So for the whole morning I practiced with the double a team but when I got in for
lunch I saw my name with the high a team. At first I was a little upset but then I realized that this was a situation where I completely controlled my reaction and I started to think of all of the positives and all the advantages that I would have playing in the Florida State League for the second year in a row.

[Trrip Note: "Aitch" is former Tiger Hunter Mense (04-06)]
MU in the Majors

Kinsler may return at end of April (ESPN.com)
Ian Kinsler (03), who has been out of action since suffering a high ankle sprain on March 12 during spring training workouts, was scheduled to depart Boston at 6 p.m. Wednesday to head to Surprise, Ariz., where he'll participate in extended spring games. After about four days, Kinsler, 27, is expected to join Triple-A Oklahoma City or Double-A Frisco for several games before re-joining the team.

Game Day: Kansas State Wildcats @ Sunny Simmons Field

Weekend Weather forecast (kmiz.com)
Friday...Showers and thunderstorms likely. High in the mid 70s. South wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60 percent.

Friday Night...Mostly cloudy. Showers and thunderstorms likely in the evening...Then chance of showers and thunderstorms after midnight. Low in the upper 50s. South wind 10 to 15 mph. Chance of rain 60 percent.

Saturday...Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. High around 70. South wind 10 to 15 mph.

Saturday Night...Mostly cloudy with a 50 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms. Low around 50. Southwest wind around 10 mph.

Sunday...Mostly cloudy with a 40 percent chance of showers. High in the lower 60s.

K-State baseball off to best start in school history (kansas.com)
Kansas State baseball coach Brad Hill has little to complain about right now.
Coming off a three-game sweep over Baylor, which gave the Wildcats (26-8 overall, 9-3 Big 12) their best start in school history, K-State is ranked in the top 20 of most major polls and in good shape to make its second straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.
. . .
"We've got a lot of work to do. We've been good at times, but we are a young club and a new club. We have inconsistencies, and I worry about them all the time."
Those inconsistencies haven't been noticeable at home, where the Wildcats are 16-2. But on the road, K-State is more susceptible to mistakes, especially on the mound and in the field. The last time it traveled for a two-game series, it gave up 28 runs, 32 hits and lost both against BYU.
Kansas State baseball pounces on Wichita State miscues (Wichita Eagle)
Hall’s work went for nothing when K-State’s Blair DeBord popped up on the infield. McGreevy, normally supposed to yield to his infielders in that situation, called for the ball. Springer charged in to make the play and bumped into McGreevy, knocking the ball out of McGreevy’s glove. That put DeBord at first and left Nick Martini, who neglected to run with two outs, on second.
“It’s the first baseman’s if he can get to it,” said Wichita State coach Gene Stephenson. “(Springer) called itæ.æ.æ. the pitcher called it initially.”
Pinch-hitter Ryan Moore followed by bouncing a ball to right, scoring Martini. Moore got into a rundown between first and second. DeBord scored while shortstop Tyler Grimes and Springer played catch.
Pitching propels Cats to series win (KStateSports.com, April 17)
Kyle Hunter threw no-hit baseball for six innings as No. 20 Kansas State used stellar pitching for the second straight day to defeat Baylor, 5-2, Saturday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.

Kansas State improved to 25-8 on the season, its best mark through 33 games in school history. The Cats started the 1976 and 2009 seasons 24-8, but lost the 33rd game of the year in both campaigns. Saturday's win also moved the Wildcats' conference record to 8-3, tying the best conference start in school history, and established K-State's best record through 11 Big 12 games since the league began play in 1997.

Hunter was outstanding as he dominated through six innings in a duel against Baylor's Logan Verrett. The sophomore left-hander, who recorded three strikeouts, retired the side in order four times. The Bears managed only two baserunners in the first six innings as Hunter walked a batter in each the second and sixth.
. . .
In the first two games of the series, the Wildcat pitching staff has held the Big 12's second-best hitting team to just four total runs on eight hits with four walks and 11 strikeouts.
K-State? A good baseball team? Yep (AhearnAlley.com)
Even if you don’t know the answer to that, the story of K-State baseball is quite impressive. Just two years ago, the Wildcats were wallowing in levels of mediocrity for the last 20 years that make Northwestern basketball look good (in a significantly shorter time period, to be fair).

Forget the NCAA tournament. Until they made they qualified in 2008, Kansas State had never played in the eight-team Big 12 tournament. For most of my childhood, Kansas and Kansas St. at the bottom of the Big 12 standings in the morning newspaper was as reliable as milk and cereal in my bowl.
Coach Hill has cats moving up (kstatecollegian.com)
However, the Wildcats beat Baylor in a surprising way. A matchup between the Big 12 Conference’s top-two hitting teams, the Wildcats didn’t just swing for the fence and hope to out hit the Bears. They did it with pitching.

The K-State pitching staff allowed just six runs all weekend, limiting Baylor’s hits and keeping runs off the board. It was a good thing too, because the Wildcat batters took the weekend off, scoring well below their average of 8.3 runs per game.

To have success in the postseason, you have to have a balance of pitching and run support. Coming into the season, pitching was a major question mark for the team, and so far, the staff has pitched well. They haven’t been perfect, and with K-State’s offensive output, there has been some room for error, but they’ve gotten the job done.

Hill still has KSU improving (hutchnews.com)
"We're finding ways to win, that's the most important thing. This weekend, it was pitching. The weekend before, it was hitting," Hill said. "When those things happen, that's the mark of having a pretty good team."

Offensively, Hill said the top four hitters in his lineup - Martini, Adam Muenster, Carter Jurica and Daniel Dellasega - have provided the needed leadership to bring along the young players. All four are hitting better than .350 and have combined for 137 RBIs.

On the mound, weekend starters Ryan Daniel, Kyle Hunter and Justin Lindsey are a combined 14-3. They combined for five wins in 2009.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

"Struggling between the ears"

Kansas baseball upends Mizzou, 1-0, at the K (KansasCity.com)
The biggest moment in Blankenship’s save appearance came when Missouri’s Aaron Senne, who brought a Big 12-leading .449 average into the game, led off. The count went 3-0 before Blankenship took a pair of strikes. He then went down swinging, capping a hitless evening.

“We need to do a better job,” Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. “We’re struggling between the ears right now.”
MU-KU Photo Gallery at KansasCity.com

Bats unable to get going as Kansas drops Missouri 1-0 at Kauffman stadium (KMOV.com)
Despite solid efforts from five different pitchers and solid all-around defense, Missouri only could muster five baserunners over nine innings of scoreless ball against Kansas, losing 1-0 and falling to 19-17 on the season.

Possibly worse were the 10 strikeouts by Missouri's offense, which came on the heels of an eight-strikeout game against Oklahoma State Sunday.

[More game photos with this article]

Missouri baseball team loses to rival Kansas (Columbia Missourian)
Had the Missouri baseball team defeated Kansas on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, coach Tim Jamieson said there’s no way his team or its fans would have charged the field in celebration.

“No, because you’re supposed to beat these guys,” Jamieson said. “This isn’t a special win. It’s just another game. We won’t do that unless we win a championship.”
. . .
Nicholas said the rivalry isn’t as intense as basketball or football, but the teams will never be seen eating at a restaurant or going to the movies together.
Border war rivals need a victory at Kauffman (KansasCity.com)
“We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Jamieson said. “For us right now, it’s about a shortened focus, one weekend at a time… we have to think about getting to the Big 12 tournament.”

Missouri is one of 14 teams nationally to have played in the previous seven NCAA Tournaments. Kansas got there last year for only the fourth time in school history and wants to make it a habit.

“It’s our goal,” Price said.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Game Day: MU vs. KU at Kauffman Stadium

Big 12 Mid-Season Report (FoxSportsSouthwest)
It looked like KU would be a surprise Big 12 title contender after taking two of three from LSU in Baton Rouge over Spring Break just before Conference play began. The Jayhawks have now taken two Big 12 road series, over Baylor and Nebraska, and managed a rare split of a 3-game series with Texas A&M when the score was still tied after 11 innings in the Sunday game and began to conflict with KU’s travel plans to return home, not to mention Big 12 rules for travel concerning missed class time. Of the Hawks’ next five league series, three are exclusively at home, while they will split with K-State – one in Lawrence, two in Manhattan. KU is still in the running for an NCAA bid.
Baseball team powers past Nebraska (kansan.com)
“We needed that series win about as bad as any team in the country needed a win,” coach Ritch Price said.

The weekend didn’t begin as intended for the Jayhawks, as the Cornhuskers lit up junior T.J. Walz on Friday night.


Baseball team testing the waters (kansan.com, 4/13)
Kansas won’t have Bochy available if they need to nail down a victory in the final innings.

Except this time he’s not just resting a tired arm – he’s out for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, a type of reconstructive elbow surgery, over the weekend.

“Obviously, it’s a devastating loss for our team and one that will not be easy to overcome,” coach Ritch Price said.

With the Jayhawk’s dominant closer shelved, there’s suddenly a large hole to fill at a position that had been a constant.
Getting back to form (Ping! Baseball)
So, what happened to [Tony] Thompson? “I fouled a ball off of my kneecap, and had a hairline fracture on my knee” Thompson explained.

The injury would cost Thompson the first month of the season. When he was finally able to come back and get back on the field it was on March 23rd. He confessed he was not on top of his game, not that he couldn’t deny it; through April 14th (15 games) he was batting just .231 with only a pair of homeruns . . .

■ And in case you've forgotten this, it never gets old:

video

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes

Missed it by that much (ColumbiaTribune.com)
Tim Jamieson said his Missouri baseball team has a knack for playing just poorly enough to lose. Yesterday was a case in point.


Mizzou's Tepesch is staying afloat (SportingNews.com)
His two-seamer, which sits at 90-92 mph, can become a plus pitch as he adds velocity. Tepesch is plenty strong, but he has room to add muscle to his 6-5 frame.

His changeup and cutter are both at least average, and they can better than that on a given night.

The team that draft him also will smooth out his mechanics; it will remove some recoil and fix how he plants his front leg.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes

Game Day

Outfielder returns from injury in Missouri baseball team's loss (Columbia Missourian)
With the bases loaded in the second inning, Gebhart came up for his first at-bat. He gave it his all, but he struck out swinging in his long-awaited return.

Gebhart said though it wasn’t an ideal position to return to, he was excited to see his name in the lineup.

“It was definitely tough,” Gebhart said. “My adrenaline was flowing, maybe too much. It’s one at-bat, and I know the guy behind me is going to pick me up.”

MU in the Minors

GreenJackets take home opener (Augusta Chronicle)
The GreenJackets' designated hitter did just that in the 5-2 win. His shot to the gap in right-center field scored teammates Tommy Joseph and Ryan Lollis [PHOTO] to take the lead. Liles later stole third base, then scored when the throw from catcher Kyle Higashioka skipped into left field.
Keys blank Pelicans, 6-0 (minorleagebaseball.com)
Backed by great pitching, the Frederick Keys improve to 4-2 on the season, as they defeated the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, 6-0, on Wednesday night at Harry Grove Stadium. Rick Zagone and his counterpart, Randall Delgado, both pitched gems, as neither allowed a run in five innings of work. Zagone struck out six, walked one, and allowed just two hits over his five innings while Delgado struck out five, walked two, and allowed three hits. Both pitchers exited the game with no decisions.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Game Day: Unrealized opportunities

I've been away from the computer most of the weekend, so there's plenty to catch up on.

Good things come to he who waits (Columbia Tribune)
“He has an approach. He knows exactly where he wants the ball and what type of pitch he wants,” junior catcher Brett Nicholas said. “And he’s stubborn up there. If he doesn’t get it first pitch, he’ll wait to get it second pitch. If he doesn’t get it then, he’ll get it the third or the fourth. He’ll have a few at-bats that are six, seven, eight pitches long.

“But once he gets that pitch, he takes advantage of it.”
Sunday,OSU 4, MU 3

Mizzou baseball vs. Oklahoma State rubber match live blog (LMOV.com)
Bottom 8—Dane Opel gets hit by a pitch with two out to load the bases but Russell LaFleuer grounds out to third to end the inning. The three men left on base pushed Missouri's LOB total to 14. If Missouri ends up losing this one, they're going to look back on a lot of unrealized opportunities they had to put themselves ahead.

[Trrip notes: As usual, great game photos wit this article]

Saturday, OSU 10, MU 7

After one ptcher's tossed, another comes through in Missouri baseball loss (Columbia Missourian)

In a gutsy move, the Cowboys sent pitcher Brad Propst to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning. In his first at-bat of the season, Propst launched a two-run homer to deep left field, over Missouri’s bullpen and into the football team’s practice field.

The bomb made the score 10-2. The next batter was plunked by Scardino. Scardino, known for his excellent control, was immediately tossed.

Mizzou baseball vs. Oklahoma State game two live blog (KMOV.com)

Home plate umpire Ken McQueen immediately ejected Scardino, obviously thinking he was retaliating for Propst's home run. We'll try to find out more after the game, but with Missouri down 10-2, McQueen wasn't wrong to think there coud've been some intent. I don't think there was—and if there was, we probably get a straight answer from the coaching staff (understandably so—they'd want to protect their pitcher).

[Trrip note: Umpire McQueen has a long-standing reputation of having a short fuse and quick to eject]

Friday, MU 9, OSU 2

Tepesch in command (Columbia Tribune)

Missouri starting pitcher Nick Tepesch lauded his defense. The junior right-hander said that his pitching style is to “hunt contact” and let the fielders make the plays — which the Tigers did a stellar job of last night.

But when that philosophy didn’t quite work out, Tepesch took matters into his own arm
Pitcher finally shows dominance in Missouri baseball team win (Columbia Missourian)
Coach Tim Jamieson has been reluctant to name Tepesch his ace. The team has had clear number one pitchers in years past. Jamieson has seen electric pitchers such as Max Scherzer, Aaron Crow and Kyle Gibson take the ball on Friday nights and lead the Tigers to consistent victories.

Jamieson had hoped Tepesch would continue the trend. Jamieson said Friday was certainly a step in the right direction.

Tepesch leads Mizzou baseball to pivotal victory(KCTV5.com)
Blue Springs South alumnus Nick Tepesch helped lead the Missouri (19-13, 3-7) baseball team to a 9-2 victory over the Oklahoma State Cowboys (19-14, 4-6) on Friday night.

Prior to this game, the Tigers had not won a conference game on a Friday night, which is crucial since it is usually the first game of a three game series.

Coach Tim Jamieson felt Tepesch's performance was one of the best in his career. He thinks it is essential to have a go-to starter to be successful in the postseason and says Tepesch looked like he could fill that role after Friday's performance.

"Nick was definitely a legitimate No. 1 tonight," Jamieson said
Mizzou baseball vs. Oklahoma State series opener live blog (KMOV.com)
I don't know if this has been pointed out already, but Kelly Fick easily has the best intro music of any player on the team — he comes out of the bullpen to the theme song from "Dexter." That's just outstanding.

[Trrip note: More great photos with this blog]

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes: Baseball Fun

Cowboys seek better pitching at Missouri (ocolly.com)
OSU is third in the Big 12 with a collective .323 batting average, with six of its ten regular starters batting over .300 and the other four within 11 points or less of .300.
Its .982 fielding percentage leads the Big 12.

That leaves the question of why they have a losing Big 12 record.

The answer lies mostly in the pitching staff. OSU ranks ninth in the Big 12 with its 5.11 ERA.
. . .
“You’re as good as your next guy that’s on the mound,” Anderson said.
Thoughts on tactical decisions . . what would you do? (TigerBoard.com)
MUStatCat: For sake of discussion... Anyone have thoughts on the tactical decisions we have seen over the course of this season?

Mizzou Astro: He has a very short leash for pitchers, particularly out of the bullpen . . .

MUStatCat: If I were TJ, Id play LaFleur until Brown comes out of the K zone, and maybe even after that if he continues to progress.

TigerNation25: The team is 7-0 when Brannon Champaigne bats leadoff . . . I'm not a huge fan of running 28 different starting line-ups out there. . .

SuperTone: Stop looking at 3rd strikes

Big Time: Free beer at games has worked for SEMO. I would focus everyone on having a good time. Game day should make Chicago Cub fans look old & dour.
Fun-loving shortstop makes life for Missouri baseball team (Columbia Missourian)
“I try to be a little spark plug,” Liberto said. “Try to get us going. I’m not that much of a rah-rah kind of guy. I do like to be the guy on Friday night to get the first hit. Especially on the road to stick it to the other crowd.”

Jamieson said that Liberto’s patience with the bat has also helped him gain the role.

“He doesn’t chase a lot of bad pitches,” Jamieson said. “That’s what you want at the top of the lineup, is a guy who’s going to see a lot of pitches, has a high on-base percentage and then can run.”
■ Speaking of fun-loving baseball players . . . You thought that Jayhawk Baseball video was strange, check out this one from UCSB. You've got to admire them for actually being creative in promoting a college baseball game, something seldom seen around these parts.
video

MU in the Minors

■ Sources tell me that Nathan Culp (04-06) is being promoted by the San Diego Padres organization to the Triple A Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League.

Keys win fourth straight (fredericknewspost.com)
Second-year starter Rick Zagone (06-08) rebounded nicely from an opening-night loss. He and relievers Jose Duran and Brandon Cooney combined to strike out nine batters and allow only three hits.

"We are getting ahead (in the count) and the key about it is we are throwing some breaking balls and off-speed pitches for strikes," Gomez said.

"When you can locate those breaking balls and get ahead with breaking balls, it makes the hitter think even more at the plate. We are pitching well to both sides of the plate."

Zagone threw 73 pitches, 48 of them for strikes, before coming out after five innings. He allowed only two hits and a walk while striking out six.

"I just felt a little more comfortable out there," he said. "It was my second start. The first start, you are always a little more apt to" give up some runs.
Other Baseball Stuff

Game Theory (Hemisphere Magazine) explores 6 Myths about Baseball [link nabbed fromCollegeBaseballToday.com]
MYTH: SOMETIMES BUNTING IS A GOOD MOVE.

REALITY: Along with the knuckleball and Bob Uecker, the bunt is one of the most misunderstood phenomena in baseball. Typically, when a batter bunts, his goal is to move the runner to the next base while conceding the out at first. It’s a trade-off. A sacrifice. An out for a base.
[Trrip note: This writer obviously never watched former Tiger Jayce Tingler bunt for a hit]

Game Day: Oklahoma State @ Simmons Field


Black & Gold Game highlights action-packed Saturday (mutigers.com)
The headline event on Saturday, April 17th, is the Black & Gold Spring Game, which is set for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field.
. . .
Parking for the spring game is open and free to the public, with the exception of Lot S, located behind the south endzone stands. All other lots around the stadium complex are open for fan parking. [Trrip Note: This means, of course, that parking for the MU Baseball game could be . . . complicated]

Other events taking place Saturday on the Mizzou campus include exciting Big 12 action with the 11th-ranked Mizzou Softball team against Texas Tech (2 p.m. at University Field), as well as the Mizzou Baseball team taking on Oklahoma State (3 p.m. at Simmons Field/Taylor Stadium).
■ OSU numbers
• Record: 19-12, 3-6 Big 12
Boyd's World ISR: 107th
Tuesday night’s Bonus Bedlam baseball clash was following right along with the season script.

For Oklahoma: big flies and a bold rally.

For Oklahoma State: another bullpen breakdown.

Except the Cowboys rewrote the ending, pulling out a 7-6 win in 10 innings with an unearned run started by a two-out error and finished on a wild pitch.
R I P home losing streak (ocolly.com)
Junior Mike Strong started for the Cowboys and pitched seven innings, with six strikeouts.

Catcher Kevin David said it was unfortunate they couldn’t get the win for Strong, but said Strong’s priorities lie elsewhere.

“It’s kind of been that way for most of our starters this year,” David said. “They pitch really well and we can’t get a win for them. He’s just happy we can win as a team.”

In the ninth inning, the Cowboys were two strikes away from ending it, but a single up the middle tied the game at six and sent it into extra innings
Big 12 Stock Report (NewsOK.com)
Thomas Keeling, LHP, gave the Cowboys a boost, dominating Nebraska in last Friday’s series opener with 7 1/3 scoreless innings and 11 strikeouts in a win. Baseball America listed him as one of its "Three Up” draft prospects after the performance. Keeling has always had the stuff, he’s just struggled with command. If he finds it consistently, he could be a difference maker for the Pokes.
. . .
After breaking through to win a much-needed Big 12 series against Nebraska, Oklahoma State lost back-to-back mid-week games to Wichita State and Missouri State. The Cowboys have also lost mid-week games to the likes of Alabama A&M and Florida Gulf Coast this season, exposing their lack of depth.
Baseball Bears lasso Oklahoma State (OzarksFirst.com) has a video report of the OSU-MSU game

Cowboys stick together (ocolly.com, March 4, 2010)
Eleven players on the OSU baseball team rejected major league draft offers to continue playing with the Cowboys this season

Thursday, April 15, 2010

MU Baseball Quotes & Notes: Smaller sports & Kauffman tickets

■ I couldn't have said it better myself: The hunt for happiness: 15 simple ways to add a little delight to your day (Vox Magazine)
Be a fan of smaller sports:

The joy in being a personal fan of a smaller sport instead of an anonymous number in a more popular sport will invigorate an ordinary day. Feeding your inner underdog and witnessing the purity of sports on a small scale is like listening to a favorite undiscovered band on a weeknight. The intimate setting invites access often unavailable in a roaring crowd and gives you personal connections to the athletes. “With the smaller sports, people go to watch the skill of the athletes,” Silverman says.
■ Discount tickets for the Wednesday, April 21st MU-KU game at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City are available for $7 each ($5 youth) at Kansas City Royals Ticketing. All tickets are General Admission.

If that link doesn't work for you, try this one

Game Day: Evening descends on Hammons Field . . .

Bears trip up Missouri (News-Leader.com)
"It felt good, especially coming against Mizzou," Maddox said. "They were talking a lot."

Maddox had the final word. He blasted a one-ball, two-strike pitch from Missouri closer Jeff Emens over the left-field bullpen.
Some good game photos at News.Leader.com

Walk-off homer does in Missouri baseball (Columbia Missourian)
The Missouri baseball team hasn’t played in a lot of close games this season.

That's probably why closing pitcher Jeff Emens only has three saves this season. On Wednesday, he had the chance to make it four, but Missouri State ruined his chances.

Your Missouri State vs. Mizzou live blog (TAG Magazine)
Mizzou, meanwhile, was burned by mediocre clutch hitting and a poor tactical decision to pull a still-strong Jeff Scardino to bring in relief in the seventh.
. . .
7:50: Evening descends on Hammons Field as the glow of the stadium lights takes over visibility duties. The breeze is blowing out slightly, which would be really helpful for carrying a baseball further–say, out of the stadium–if the Bears get to using that .324 staff average.

2010 Draft Preview part 5: Persons of Interest(VivaElBirdos.com)
I'm just going to say it: Tepesch is one of my favourite players in this entire draft. I love his arm, I love the movement on his pitches, I love the fact he's a localish kid. What I don't love is the tepid results Tepesch has achieved in his college career.
. . .
I know it's been mentioned here in conversations, but for a pitcher with a fastball he should be able to just cruise behind, Tepesch seems intent on throwing an awful lot of offspeed stuff, especially early in the count.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

MU in the Minors

MU in the Minors

Gibson pitches first pro victory (Twins.Scout.com)
The Miracle were on the right side of a shutout on Tuesday, as top prospect Kyle Gibson showed why the Twins made him their first round selection in 2009. The young right-hander picked up the first win of his professional career, tossing six shutout innings. Gibson struck out six in the game, allowed four hits, and did not issue a walk.

■ Take a look at April 13th 2010 Kyle Gibson pitch by pitch (Miracle Minutes) if you want to know the nitty gritty details

Game Day: MU @ Missouri State

■ The Bears are having a down year, having gotten off to the worst start (5-13) in their history.

Bears host Big 12 foes Kansas and Missouri at Hammons (missouristatebears.com, 4/12)
The Missouri State baseball team (12-19, 1-5 Missouri Valley) hosts a pair of Big 12 schools this week with Kansas (19-13-1, 3-5-1) coming to Hammons Field Tuesday and Missouri (18-13, 3-6) making a visit Wednesday. First pitch for both games is 6:30 p.m. MSU has had the most success of any MVC school against the Big 12 the past two years, leading the league in wins (4) and winning percentage (.500).
Fritz the bat: Braves rally for the sweep (pjstar.com, 4/12)
A day after winning its first Missouri Valley Conference series under second-year coach Elvis Dominguez, the Bradley baseball team proved its victories were no fluke.

Trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth Sunday, Bradley completed its rally with senior Matt Fritz’s game-winning single to left field. The Braves won 9-8 to sweep the Missouri State at O’Brien Field.

Baseball Bears lasso Oklahoma State (OzarksFirst.com) has a video report of the OSU-MSU game

And the Missouri State offense didn't have to work much at all in this game. They never hit anything more than a single in all 9 innings. One example of how easy they had it was in the first inning. Centerfielder Aaron Conway reached first base via the walk as the 2nd batter of the game. A pair of wild pitches to the next batter advanced Conway to 3rd. Then catcher Luke Voit got the first RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field. Overall, Missouri State took advantage of the 6 walks and one hit batter they earned while coasting their way to a 5-1 win.
■ Missouri State has a few pitchers on the BoydsWorld.com Pitch Count Watch

Missouri State Bears Facebook page
On Friday night we will be handing out maroon Crocs to the first 30 guests who purchase a ticket at Hammons Field.
Medrano keeps hot bat for bears (News-Leader.com)
As Missouri State's offense struggled through the first six weeks of the season, Kevin Medrano just kept hitting line drives.

Even as the team batting average slumped into the .250 range, Medrano stayed well above .300.
Freshmen shine on MSU mound (News-Leader.com)
The kids did it for Missouri State's baseball team.

Freshmen Clay Murphy and Grant Gordon combined to strike out 15 Oklahoma State hitters and the Bears rallied with three runs in the eighth inning for a 7-5 victory Wednesday night before 687 fans at chilly Hammons Field.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes: Status Report

RPI Needs Report (BoydsWorld.com)
This report lists the record each team would need for the rest of their schedule to finish higher than the team currently in the shown key RPI positions, those that correspond to the various seeding or at large thresholds, assuming that all other teams maintain their current winning percentage. It's highly speculative, since those RPI levels will move up or down, and the committee is highly unlikely to just take the top 8 in RPI for the national seeds, for example, but it can be useful as a rough guide.
Missouri needs to go 21-1 to finish in the Top 32
Missouri needs to go 19-3 to finish in the Top 45
■ From the BoydsWorld.com Leaderboard:
  • Division I Batting Average: Aaron Senne ranked 4th, at .476

  • Total Hits: Aaron Senne tied for 10th, at 57

  • Pitching Appearances: Phil McCormick tied for 6th, at 20

  • Bases on Ball surrendered: Jeff Scardino tied for 4th, with just 3
With six weeks remaining in the regular season, it’s too soon for the Tigers to panic. Missouri lost five of its first six conference series last season before making a run from eighth to second in the standings. The Tigers finished third when the Sooners passed them on the final weekend.
■ In the weekly Top 25 Chat (Baseball America), Aaron Fitt talks bout a number of Big 12 teams, including offering his opinions on two of MU's draft prospects: Aaron Senne and Nick Tepesch.
Senne was a tease for much of the first three years of his collegiate career. He's always had power potential, and he never quite put it all together until this year — it's great to see him having this kind of loud season. He could be a good senior sign for somebody.

Mizzou Baseball Tigers: Present, Past & Future

Aaron Senne named Big 12 Player of the Week (Big12Sports.com)
In five games last week, Senne hit .609 (14-for-23), including a .533 mark in the series at No. 12 Oklahoma. He also tallied two home runs, three doubles and seven RBI. Senne, who is currently on a 16-game hitting streak, had multiple hits in each contest. The Rochester, Minn.-infielder was 3-for-4 in both of the Tigers' midweek games against SIU-Edwardsville and Illinois. He again recorded a three-hit game in the opener of the OU series. On Saturday, Senne homered in his first at-bat and added a single in the fourth inning. He closed the week by going 3-for-5 with four RBI. He doubled in the third and singled in the fifth, then hit a solo home run in the eighth inning to break an 11-11 tie and carry Missouri to the 12-11 victory in the finale. On the year, Senne is hitting .460 with 15 doubles, 10 home runs and 38 RBI.
2010 Recruits

Pitchers' duel goes to Cats' Zastryzny (Corpus Christi Caller-Times)
With gusts topping out at 40 mph, it made each swing of the bat that much more important for both teams in Thursday’s district matchup between state-ranked Calallen and the Warriors. At the end of the night, only the Wildcats managed to capitalize on one of the game’s few opportunities.
. . .
Such was the case on Thursday, especially with Calallen ace Rob Zastryzny and T-M’s Nick Lopez locked in a duel. Zastryzny scattered four hits and struck out 12, while Lopez surrendered only two hits and struck out seven.

The win went to Zastryzny, who drove in the decisive run in the top of the third inning.
MU in the Minors

Evan Frey (05-07) plays small ball . . .
Saturday, April 10: One of the BayBear knocks against McGee came in the first when Evan Frey bunted his way on. Jake Wald was walked but a double steal attempt wiped Wald out at second. Frey was stranded on third to end the frame.

Friday, April 9: Evan Frey reached on an infield single and went to third on a Collin Cowgill single to bring up Byrne.
■ And Greg Folgia (07-09) plays long ball . . .
Sunday, April 10: Greg Folgia hit his second home run in three games as Lake County beat West Michigan 6-4.

Friday, April 9: The key hits in the seventh were a leadoff home run by Greg Folgia and RBI singles by Bo Greenwell and Tice

Monday, April 12, 2010

Mizzou Baseball: Senne leads the way

Stats from Big 12 Games (Big12Sports.com)
Aaron Senne leads all batters in Big 12-only games, with a .460 batting average and slugging average of .823
Senne's home run leads Missouri baseball to victory (Columbia Missourian)
The Missouri baseball team has figured out how to win on Sundays. Now, the Tigers have to figure out how to win the other games.
Baseball wins two of three against Missouri (Oklahoma Daily)
“What’s disappointing is the maturity of the whole program,” Golloway said. “We didn’t win a Big 12 title last year because we couldn’t finish people off. And now Nebraska, Missouri – we’re going to be guilty of the same things. We can’t finish people off, and it’s going to come back and it’s going to haunt us
Tigers take one (Norman Transcript)
If there was one player in Missouri’s lineup OU didn’t want to mess with, it was first baseman Aaron Senne. The senior is the Big 12’s best hitter by any measuring stick and had already torched the Sooners for seven hits in 14 trips to the plate in the series.

Sooner reliever Michael Rocha had Senne down 0-2 with two outs in the eighth inning. The hope was Senne would get himself out by swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone. Golloway said the next pitch was supposed to be a slider in the dirt. Rocha, a junior, left it in the strike zone and Senne ripped it over the right-field wall.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Game Day: OUch!

Missouri baseball team trying to avoid series sweep (Columbia Missourian)
It’s the third weekend in a row that the Tigers (17-13, 2-6 Big 12) will go into the final game of a series trailing 0-2. The Tigers have come back to win the final game on the other occasions, but losing the first two games is a a trend Missouri needs to stop.
Sooners tame Tigers, 6-4, snap four-game conference losing streak (Crimson and Cream Machine)
Missouri would score again in the top of the 9th but it was too little too late for the Tigers. This was a win that Oklahoma desperately had to have and they fought tooth and nail for it. The win, along with a few key losses, boosted the Sooners up into 3rd place in the conference standings. Of course that means absolutely nothing if OU can't finish off this series. They'll be in position to win the series Saturday afternoon but could really use a three game sweep. That's something they've not yet been able to accomplish this season.
Critical error does in Tigers (Columbia Tribune)

Oklahoma (24-6, 4-4) broke a 3-3 tie with a three-run seventh inning, which included a two-run home run from Cameron Seitzer. All three runs were unearned after Ricky Eisenberg reached on a three-base error by second baseman Eric Garcia to open the inning.
First baseman extends hitting steak, but Missouri baseball loses to Oklahoma (Columbia Missourian)

The Tigers had four players with multi-hit days, including first baseman Aaron Senne, who had three hits for the fourth straight game. Senne extended his career-high hitting streak to 14 games.
Bouncing back to win (Norman Transcript)

Missouri (17-12, 2-5) didn’t get a big inning because Neal didn’t allow them. The Tigers stranded six base runners in first three innings and only one of their 11 hits went for extra bases.
University of Missouri Unsung Hero: Andreas Plackis and Terry Dennis (WeAreMizzou.blogspot.com)

On April 16, 2010 Andreas Plackis and Terry Dennis will be awarded with the MU Unsung Hero Award. The nominees are judged on their contributions to Mizzou and the greater Columbia community. More specifically the award identifies individuals who do the behind the scenes work that make differences in the life or lives of somebody else. The Unsung Hero award is looking for the humble and ‘unsung’ because nobody else does.

Andreas and Terry have shown selfless dedication and excellence of character throughout their time at Mizzou. They are very deserving student-athletes and you can look for them to continue to do great works for others and in the community as they progress in life.

MU in the Minors

RC Interview with Aaron Crow (RoyalsCorner.com) [Subscription required]

Aaron Crow was the Royals' first round draft pick in 2009, and this offseason, RC ranked him as the top prospect in the Royals' organization. The 23-year-old right-hander made his debut on Thursday, pitching 4.2 strong innings in the Naturals' win over the San Antonio Missions. On Friday, RC caught up with Crow to discuss his outing, his repertoire, and his goals for this season.
Frederick goes 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position in defeat (OurSportsCentral)

Lynchburg grabbed the lead in the second inning off of Keys starter Rick Zagone (0-1) when they loaded the bases with nobody out. Zagone tiptoed out of the jam with only one run allowed getting a double play ground ball off of the bat of Lynchburg 2B Cody Puckett to stifle the rally. Zagone allowed two runs, one of which earned in four innings in the debut.

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes

After winning News-Democrat Co-Player of the Year honors last spring following a dominant senior season at Edwardsville High School, freshman outfielder Dane Opel is off to a solid start at the University of Missouri.


Court, board decide to retire nickname (ESPN.com)
A state Supreme Court ruling and a Board of Higher Education decision have retired for good the University of North Dakota's Fighting Sioux nickname after a four-year legal battle.

The court ruled Thursday that the board had the authority to dump the nickname at any time. The court rejected an appeal that sought to delay action.
. . .

MU in the Minors

Northwest Arkansas Naturals nearly blank the San Antonio Missions, 5-1 (MLNtherawfeed.com)
Naturals left-hander Everett Teaford must have missed the memo. With Aaron Crow (05-07), the Kansas City Royals’ 2009 first-round selection taking the mound for his first professional regular season start, Teaford stole the show, no-hitting the San Antonio Missions for 4 1/3 innings in relief of Crow en route to a 5-1 victory for Northwest Arkansas on Opening Night at Arvest Ballpark.

That isn’t to say Crow pitched badly. He did not, allowing just one unearned run in 4 2/3 innings of work before reaching his prescribed pitch count of 80 pitches and falling one out shy of the five innings required to earn a victory. Crow fanned two, walked three, and allowed four hits.
. . .
All of the offense was charged to Nathan Culp (04-06), the Missions’ starter, who was tagged with five runs and eight hits in 3 2/3 innings of work. He walked three and struck out two. Four relievers no-hit the Naturals’ lineup the rest of the way.
Minor League Opening Night (Star Tribune.com)
Ft. Myers 3, Bradenton 18 – Kyle Gibson (07-09) made the Opening Night start for the Miracle, and got hit around a little bit. The Twins top pick in the 2009 draft gave up five runs (3 earned) on six hits (2 home runs) and two walks in just 3.2 innings. He struck out seven.
Twin Minor League Weekly (blogtalkradio.com)
Audio discussion of the Twins' minor leagues, includes an interview with Kyle Gibson that begins at about 14:45