Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Tip of the Hat 2011: By the Numbers

15 Number of home games I missed this season, the most since 1994

13 Number of games I actually made it to

4.60 Cost per game I attended, based on $60 for the season ticket

5 Number of dollars I saved by getting a $60 season ticket for just 13 games

Priceless That Season ticket reserved Section E, Row 4, Seat 1 for another season

MU's Strength of Schedule ranking among D-1 teams (Boydsworld.com)

Appearances by Phil McCormick for the Tigers in 2011, tying the Mizzou single season record, set by Phil in 2010

72 Appearances by Phil McCormick over 2 seasons, 2010-11, a Mizzou record for appearances in consecutive seasons

105 Career appearances by Phil McCormick, good for 3rd all time for Mizzou

4 Hit-by-Pitch in one game, by Brannon Champagne

4 Stolen Bases in one game, by Conner Mach

1.083 Jonah Schmidt's Slugging Percentage in the 3-game series against Kansas State, to go with his .500 batting averge

5 Walk off wins by the Tigers in 2011, all against big 12 teams

2 Runs per game by MU in the first 11 Big 12 games

6.5 Runs per game by MU in the last 15 regular season Big 12 games

4.8 Runs per game by MU in the Big 12 Tournament

10 Preseason ranking of the Tigers by Big 12 Coaches

8 MU's final ranking in the Big 12

MU's final ranking in the Big 12 in 2010

Longest MU winning streak, against Le Moyne and Central Michigan, March 12-20

Longest MU losing streak, against Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma State, SIU-Edwardsville and Kansas (again), April 1-15

7 straight NCAA Regional appearances prior to 2010

8 Missouri's seeding in the Big 12 Tournament

0 Number of #8 seeds that have played in the Big 12 Tournament Championship game, until Mizzou did it in 2011

career wins by Tim Jamieson, putting him in 2nd place all time at MU, second only to Gene McArtor (733)

2:39 Average length of MU's regular season games in 2011

2:55 Average length of MU's regular season games in 2010

3:40 Longest game in MU's regular season, 2011 (May 8 vs. Kansas State)

1:49 Shortest game in MU's regular season, 2011 (April 9 @ Oklahoma State)

2,555 Empty Seats based on average home attendance

13,334 Total 2011 Home Attendance (28 dates)

476 Average 2010 Home Attendance (28 dates)

Past Years' Regular Season Home Attendance
2010: Total: 19,310; Average: 715
2009: Total: 23,848; Average: 852
2008: Total: 30,687; Average: 1,136
2007: Total: 14,190; Average: 645
2006:Total: 23,906; Average: 885
2005:Total: 16,965; Average: 707

1,176 Largest Attendance @ Simmons Field in 2011 (Saturday, April 30 vs. Texas A&M)

147 Smallest Attendance @ Simmons Field in 2011 (Tuesday and Wednesday, March 8 & 9 vs. Gonzaga)

7,035 Largest crowd the Tigers played in front of in 2011 (Saturday, April 2 at Texas)

2011 Home Attendance Detail
03/05 Sat 288 UI_Chi DH
03/06 Sun 336 UI-Chi
03/08 Tue 147 Gonzaga
03/09 Wed 147 Gonzaga
03/11 Fri 504 Lemoyne
03/12 Sat 726 Lemoyne DH
03/13 Sun 345 Lemoyne
03/18 Fri 345 UCMich
03/19 Sat 250 UCMich
03/20 Sun 500 UCMich DH
03/22 Tue 343 UCArk
03/23 Wed 393 UCArk
03/25 Fri 207 OU DH
04/13 Wed 408 SIU-E
04/15 Fri 702 KU
04/16 Sat 870 KU
04/17 Sun 1113 KU
04/27 Wed 312 MSU
04/29 Fri 648 A&M
04/30 Sat 1176 A&M
05/01 Sun 500 A&M
05/13 Fri 342 TT
05/14 Sat 755 TT
05/15 Sun 378 TT

Top 10 All-Time Home Attendance
6/2/07 Louisville (Regional) 3,630
6/1/07 Kent St (Regional) 3,481
6/3/07 Louisville (Regional) 3,457
5/17/08 Nebraska 3,126
5/18/08 Nebraska 2,418
4/25/98 Texas 2,347
4/24/98 Texas 2,372
4/5/08 Okla St 2,205
6/4/07 Louisville-MU (Regional)2,199
5/14/05 Kansas 2,143

Be sure check out the entire 2011 Tip of the Hat series:

Monday, May 30, 2011

A Tip of the Hat 2011: The Long Season

It's time for our annual year-end awards, named in honor of John "Hi" Simmons' signature gesture.

This is Part 1 of 4 that will appear over the coming week.

The 2011 season seemed at times like an unbearably long season, but then, as the weather warmed and the post-season approached, the season turned out to be much shorter than anyone wanted it to be.

■ Pre-season Predictions & Expectations
“Where we were picked preseason is based strictly on the performance of those guys last year, and it’s understandable,” Jamieson said. “For us to be good this year, it’s not one or two guys that need to step up. It’s several guys that need to step up.” (Columbia Tribune, 2/17)
“Eric’s a natural shortstop,” says Jamieson. “He’s got a great arm, obviously. He’s made every play for us and with Jesse Santo at third, we’ve really got two shortstops on the left side.”

Shortstop is not the only move for the young middle-infielder. Garcia will also be taking his talents to the mound, closing out games for the Tigers.

“Garcia will play at short,” explains Jamieson. “Also Garcia, is potentially our closer. That’s a guy really no one knows about as a pitcher. He didn’t pitch last year, but that should give us a really good punch at the end of the game.” (College Baseball Daily, 2/17)
Among the surplus of outfielders is Dane Opel (.270-3-30), a sophomore from Edwardsville, IL. Like Schmidt, Jamieson believes that Opel is ready for his breakout season. (College Baseball Daily, 2/17)
On KFRU's The Closers last week, Tim Jamieson said about the lineup, "you may not see anybody new", because there were so many freshmen who got significant playing time in 2010. (SimmonsField.com, 2011 Season Preview)
2011 should be Junior Ryan Gebhart's year. He's been on the scouts' radar for years. A can't-miss prospect. Unfortunately, injuries have limited his playing time during his first two years at Mizzou. He came on strong when he finally got to play in 2010. In 2011, Gebhart is at the front of a long line of candidates for the starting outfield positions, and he'll finally have the opportunity to show what he can do. (SimmonsField.com, 2011 Season Preview)
Senior Jonah Schmidt is always fun to watch because he plays the game with such joy. His defensive abilities, though, have always been a little suspect, and his impressive power at the plate has not always been accompanied by discipline at the plate. If he fails to be more consistent in those areas, he'll likely still see his name frequently on the lineup card as the DH. (SimmonsField.com, 2011 Season Preview)

". . . And Mizzou does not look good at all. Should be at or near the bottom of the conference." (Fred Katz, CollegeBaseballDaily.com)
"We've been picked to finish last in the Big 12. That's not gonna happen. I can guarantee you that's not going to happen." (Head Coach Tim Jamieson, at the 1st Pitch Celebration, February 12)
Weather or Not: Even before Game 1, this year's crazy weather impacted the 2011 baseball season. The tam hardly ever got to practice outdoors in January and February, a stretch that saw a blizzard shut down the entire town the first week in February, and forced MU to cancel classes for three days.

By season's ended, multiple games would be cancelled or rescheduled. Scheduled highlights of the season were cancelled by weather, including a Busch Stadium game with Illinois, and a Diamond Sports Fan Fest on a Saturday morning before big games for both baseball and softball.

We should have seen it coming, back on opening day.

Craziest Opening Day Ever
  • MU's first game was supposed to be against USC, but the tournament schedule was rearranged 3 or 4 times before the first pitch was finally thrown, with MU now facing Cal Poly

  • The game was interrupted twice by rain

  • One of the rain delays was prompted by a player in the Cal Poly dugout getting knocked out by a flying bat (BBCOR bats pack a wallop, apparently)

  • The Tigers won the game by scoring 6 runs in the bottom of the 6th inning, (sandwiched between the two rain delays), an inning that featured a walk, a balk, a bunt-for-a-hit, another rain-aided infield hit, a throwing error from 3rd to 1st, and, the topper, a wild pitch that allowed the winning run

  • Once the game was finally halted due to rain, it was first announced that the game was suspended and would be completed some time the next day; then, after most of the fans had left the stadium and headed home, they changed their minds and declared the game complete, a 10-9 win for MU
Season Opening Road Trip: Seven Games, 2-5 record
Total score: Opp. 61-MU 33

MU ERA: Starters: 4.67; Bullpen: 12.55; Overall: 7.87

Opponents' Batting Average: .339

MU Team Batting Average: .243

MU errors: 12; Fielding %: .955

LOB: 45

37 of the 61 runs given up came in the 6th inning or later
From Tigerboard.com, 2/27:
Go Tigers: Its going to be a long year, if those don't improve a bunch

DoubleplayMU: The schedule is only going to get harder...hang in there fellas, its gonna be a long one
March to Mediocrity: 17-game Home-stand, 10-7 the result

MU played 5 mostly also-ran teams in March before finishing the home stand against Oklahoma. Season-ending RPI rankings of those 5 opponents (Boydsworld.com Pseudo-RPI):
  • 203rd UI-Chicago took 2 of 3 from MU
  • 66th - Gonzaga split 1-1 with MU
  • 224th - LeMoyne lost 3, won 1 vs. MU
  • 125th - Central Michigan lost 3, won 1 vs. MU
  • 166th - Central Arkansas split 1-1 with MU
By the end of March, MU stands at 11-1, with an RPI ranking of 172nd as they prepare to face Oklahoma on their final weekend of the home stand.

MU-OU: Futility and Hope . . . and more nasty weather.

The MU-OU series stands out to me as the point in the season that I realized I just can't count on making it to as many games as I once was able to do. My work life has gotten busier, my personal life has become more complicated with responsibilities, and I'm just too old to sit at Simmons Field in nasty, damp, cold weather, no matter how much I want to. I wrote about listening to the MU-OU games from home:
Mizzou Baseball Game Day: Home Game
Mizzou opened its Big 12 season with a hastily convened double-header on Friday afternoon-evening-into-night. The abrupt schedule change did not affect my plans in the least, since I've been stranded at home feeling sick since getting back from Wednesday's game.
The Physics of Baseball are driven by several unchangeable principles. Two that came into play tonight:
• The best games take place when you're stuck at home
• The likelihood of extra innings increases in direct proportion to the lousiness of the weather.
The first game was a great one - except for the errors. But the second game had everything a true fan could want. Great pitching on both sides, extra innings, cliff-hanger innings.
. . .
By the way, have you noticed that Tex is doing a great job of pronouncing Zastryzny, but stumbles more often over the seemingly simple Stites? Gotta love him.
The Tex-and-Hunter show is a real treat. Tex's down-home enthusiastic play-by-play is perfectly accompanied by Hunter's laid back delivery and knowledge of the players, the coaches and the game of baseball.
. . .
Big 12 Season: Part I

The Tigers struggled mightily through the first four Big 12 series, compiling a 2-9 record against OU, UT, OSU and KU, plus managed to post a schizophrenic 1-2 record in 3 non-conference games, taking a great win from Texas State (who finished the regular season ranked 46th in RPI), suffering yet another loss at the K to the hands of KU (who finished their season sitting at home while MU played at Bricktown), and, in the universally acknowledge low-point of the season, throwing away a Wednesday night game to SIU-Edwardsville, 7-1 (the Eds finished the season with a 1183rd-ranked RPI), before losing 2 of 3 to Kansas the following weekend.

What was the problem? Everybody had an opinion, nobody had the answer. Whispers around the ballpark and on the internet wondered whether Tim Jamieson would keep his job if the team continued to sink.

Baylor: The beginning of a new season

Heading into the Baylor series, the Columbia Tribune reported Time running short on slumping MU:
Missouri is scoring 1.9 runs per Big 12 game while leaving 9.6 runners on base. That doesn’t take into account the number of runners lost while slogging through a team-record-tying nine-game skid.

But Jamieson said he didn’t expect to be making any major changes to the lineup.

“It’s an option, but I don’t think it’s the right option at this point,” Jamieson said. “I think we’re playing the guys that give us the best chance.”
That quote from Jamieson makes me chuckle now, knowing what he was soon to do to his lineup. Conner Mach moved to the top of the order and into left field; Garcia moved to first base, C.J. Jarvis and Andrew Thigpen were inserted into the lineup and given more starts. And the offense started to come alive.

Big 12 Season: Part 2

Beginning with the Baylor series, the Tigers won 4 straight Big 12 series, taking of 2 of 3 in each series. The new lineup had the offense clicking along putting up runs and winning games.

Matt Stites shook off his early season inconsistencies and became the go-to guy in the starting rotation.

And Eric Anderson, who had been one of several Tigers on the slow road to recovery after 2010 injuries, forged ahead on his rehab schedule like a man possessed. Each time he went to the mound he seemed to get a little stronger, a little better. By the end of the season, he seemed to gain strength as each inning progressed during games. The guy who was a big question-mark in February was, by the end of the season, the Tigers' Friday night ace.

The team made the slow climb from the deep cellar of the league, at one point rising all the way to 5th before giving up their last series to Nebraska, 1-2, winning the one game necessary to finish 8th and banish the "loyal" Huskers to an early exit to the Big 10.

Tim Jamieson had delivered on his promise that the Tigers would not finish last, as everyone had predicted. Not only that, but his team had the all-important momentum heading into the all-important Big 12 Tournament. With an RPI ranking in the 90s and a losing record overall and in the Big 12, Mizzou had no chance of going to the NCAA Regionals without winning the Big 12 Tournament.

Bricktown Tigers

The Tigers played 4 games to get into the championship game - all four games against a pair of teams (UT and OSU) that they had gone a collective 0-6 against early int he Big 12 season. They showed just how much this team had changed during the long season.
  • Game 1: #8 seed beats #1 seed, as Eric Anderson continues his return to being a dominant pitcher and Jonah Schmidt leads a team-effort to top the Longhorns.

  • Game #2: It's always a battle when the Tigers play the Cowboys, and this game was no different. The Tigers blew a 5-0 lead and it went down to the bottom of the 9th tied 5-5. A pair of hits from Thigpen and Mach set up Eric Garcia for a walk-off hit to right.

  • Game #3: Needing just one win against UT to advance to the championship game, the Tigers couldn't get anything going against the Longhorns and lost 6-1, forcing a second game later in the day.

  • Game #4: Senior Kelly Fick pitched the longest and greatest game of his career to lead the Tigers past the Longhorns, 2-1.

  • Game #5: The #8 seed had never before played in the Championship game of the Big 12 Tournament. And a lot of people weren't happy about it
    @KendallRogersPG on Twitter: #Missouri beats #Texas 2-1 to advance to the #Big12 tourney title game against #TAMU. Bubble teams need to be #Aggies fans manana.
    MU finally got to play a team they had beaten 2 games to 1 during the season, in Texas A&M. But A&M had reached the final in just 3 games, while the Tigers had gone through 4 games worth of their pitchers.

    The Tigers, with everything to play for, fought tooth and nail through 10 innings, only to watch a walk-off home run end their season in an instant. The long season was suddenly not long enough.

Leaving the Zou

■ Jonah Schmidt: I still remember the first time I met Jonah, at the First Pitch celebration prior to the 2008 season. He was like an excited little kid, just thrilled to be there with all these fans and all these former Tigers. Oh wait. That was his dad.

It's been a blessing to watch Jonah develop from a fun-loving all-or-nothing swing for the fences freshman into a fun-loving bat-control specialist, accepting the role of Senior leader. And he still has the best hair on the team.

Jesse Santo: We only got to watch "Jersey" at Taylor Stadium for two years, but it was a great couple of years. In his senior years, Jesse became the guy who you were always glad to see coming to the plate in a pressure situation. He might not have the top stats on the team, but no one had a better approach to those do-or-die moments.

Ryan Ampleman: Amp could never quite maintain the offensive consistency to hang on to the starting catcher's job. But he earned a reputation as the guy most likely to pull a rabbit out of his cap and produce a fantastic hit or defensive play or an explosive move on the basepaths. He will stick out in my mind as a great team leader and as a true rarity - a catcher used frequently as a pinch runner.

Kelly Fick: I never thought Kelly got the opportunities he deserved to develop into a regular starter and leader among the pitching corps. And yet he soldiered on with a smile, always willing to pitch whenever and however long his coaches asked. He was among the most successful members of the Johnny Wholestaff experiment a couple of years back.

His final game for the Tigers, that incredible Saturday evening game against Texas at the Big 12 tournament, showed just what sort of pitcher and person he has always been. And it earned him a spot as a pitcher on the All-Tournament team, next to Taylor Jungmann, a future MLB superstar.

Brad Buehler, Jeff Scardino and Zach Hardoin are a trio I tend to think of together, as three guys who toiled for the Tigers in continually changing roles: closer, long reliever, short reliever, spot starter, mid-week starter, weekend starter. They've done it all. These are the guys that make up that middle of the pitching staff, between the regular starters and the closers. They don't get the attention and the press like some of the other pitchers, but where would the team be without them. Someone is going to have to step in and fill those roles in the coming years.

Andrew Thigpen: Nearly every year, "Thiggy" spent some time as a regular starter at 2nd or 2rd or shortstop. But every year he would either struggle offensively or defensively, and there was always someone waiting to push him out and take over the job. In 2011, he got a chance to be a regular starter again during the 2nd half of the Big 12 season, contributing to the offensive resurrection that carried the tam through to the Big 12 Championship game.

Phil McCormick: Phil's story has been told and told again. He was almost ready to be dropped from the team when he decided to work on a submarine pitch. And he mastered it so well that he became the most reliable pitcher in the bullpen over the past two seasons - so much so that the coaches about wore the poor guy out down the stretch in 2011. And also, so much so that he'll likely have to postpone his future career as a genius engineer, as he pursues a different future as a submarining pitcher for whichever MLB organization decides to draft a cerebral pitcher with an oddball delivery.

There will likely be other Tigers besides these seniors who will be gone by this fall. Matt Sites, Ben Turner and Conner Mach may hear their names called next week during the MLB Draft. And they'll have to decide whether they were drafted high enough to lure them away from the chance to come back and finish what they started this season.

Here's a tip of the cap to all the departing Tigers, and to a team that refused to accept mediocrity as their destiny.

Be sure check out the entire 2011 Tip of the Hat series:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The End of a Long Season

Mizzou lost the Big 12 Championship game in extra innings, effectively ending their season.

Coming up in the next couple of weeks on SimmonsField.com
  • I've posted the annual You Make the Call MVP Polls in the column at the left: pick your favorites for Player & Pitcher & Freshman of the Year. I limited the nominees so as not to make the lists too long, focusing on key players and those freshmen who saw significant playing time. You can vote for more than one player on each poll. And you can probably figure out how to vote more than once, but try not to go too crazy with the ballot box stuffing. It's all in fun.

  • The 2011 "A Tip of the Cap" Season Review & Presentation of Coveted Awards will be posted over the next several days.

  • June 6-8: Coverage of the MLB Amatuer Draft

Big 12 Tournament Quotes & Notes

Texas bows out at Big 12 baseball tournament (Austin American Statesman)
They had slugged their way through the losers bracket, smacked the ball around for three victories until they found themselves with a chance to play for the Big 12 tournament championship.

Then the Texas Longhorns were shut down by a pitcher who had not started a game since last season.

Missouri, behind an extraordinary performance by senior left-hander Kelly Fick, eliminated the top-seeded Longhorns 2-1 Saturday evening. The Tigers (27-31), seeded eighth in the tournament, will face No. 2 Texas A&M today at 1 p.m. for the championship.
On the first pitch of the seventh inning, Tiger outfielder Blake Brown drilled a long home run to left field to extend the lead to 2-0 and give Missouri insurance it would need.

“I was out there trying to hunt fastballs,” Brown said. “I got that one pretty good.”
But the Longhorns threatened in the eighth. After loading the bases with one out, Tant Shepard cut the lead in half with an RBI groundout.

Missouri turned to closer Phil McCormick to stifle the rally. As the drama in Bricktown increased, McCormick came through for the Tigers again.
Saturday roundup: Crunching the numbers (Baseball America)
Bubble teams need to root hard for Texas A&M and Florida International on Sunday; if those teams lose, Missouri and UALR will earn automatic bids, bringing us to 64 teams, if you assume Troy is in as an at-large (which is not a slam dunk, by any means, but its case is better than all the bubble teams listed below).
I get a case of vertigo over today's action (College Baseball Today)
Good read, but apparently Missouri did nothing noteworthy on Saturday.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Big 12 Tournament Championship Game: MU vs. Texas A&M

■ Championship Game: 1:00 PM Sunday
■ Post-Game Press Conference Quotes (Big12Spots.com)
• Tim Jamieson, on Kelly Fick's pitching: "To be quite honest with you, we wouldn't have given him the ball if we didn't think he could do it, but to think he was going to give us seven innings, that's beyond expectations. He hasn't done that all year. He's not conditioned to do that. He was very efficient with the pitch count. He had a good outing against Nebraska last weekend where he got extended a little bit but I didn't expect this. I expected him to compete and I expected him to do well, I just didn't expect him to go seven innings."

• Kelly Fick, on the Missouri jersey from Joplin hanging in the dugout: "The tragedy in Joplin and the devastation there really puts life in perspective. We don't have too many days left with me and Phil (McCormick) being seniors and it shows me that
you can't take everything for granted in life. Look at the small things in life and be thankful for what you do have becauseyou never know when it could happen to you or your family."

• Phil McCormick, on the Missouri jersey from Joplin hanging in the dugout: "It really makes you appreciate the escape of the game. We're out here for six hours on the field just being kids; doing what we love and you think about the people in Joplin and they're rebuilding their lives one day at a time. We're trying to take the same approach with staying alive on the field and we want to play one more day just like they want to keep rebuilding one day at a time."
• Augie Garrido, thoughts of the game: “I think it was a game that was unlike what anyone would have expected. That’s part of championship baseball – the unexpected. That’s what happened today. I don’t think anyone would have looked at what was left of each pitching staff and expected great pitching by both teams, solid defense. (Missouri) was very opportunistic with their hits; at the time that they had three, they had converted them into two runs. They made key defensive plays, especially in the sixth inning when we had runners in scoring position. (Mark) Payton hits the ball right on the nose; the third baseman makes a great reflex play to catch the line drive. Tant (Shepherd) follows him with a hard hit ball and they made a great play out of the hole, short hop to first, scoop to first, gets him by a step. It was that kind of game. It was an exciting baseball game, and I think to say anything negative from our point of view would take away from the greatness of the victory from Missouri. That’s really the way I feel about it. They earned that from every point of view. It shows the value of the tournament, in my opinion. It reinforces the importance of it. This gives them the chance to win the tournament, grab the automatic berth and put another team from the Big 12 that’s capable of winning into the regionals. That’s what this is all about, in my opinion.”
Mizzou pitching takes down Longhorns (Big12Sports.com)
About two weeks before Big 12 Conference play started, Missouri coach Tim Jamieson gave his players an honest assessment.

"I told them the way we were playing we weren't going to win a Big 12 game," he said.

The Tigers started 2-9 in Big 12 play and while Jamieson's "oh fer" prediction wasn't accurate, they didn't appear capable of finishing in the top eight to qualify for the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.

So, guess who's playing for title Sunday (1 p.m., FSN)? Missouri. The Tigers are the first No. 8 seed to reach the championship game and will face second-seeded and regular-season co-champions Texas A&M.
Missouri reaches Big 12 baseball championship game (TigerExtra.com)
“I was able to keep my pitch count down and change speeds,” Fick said. “My fastball really helped today, so I was able to go deeper in the game.”

Fick also got some defensive help in the sixth inning after Jacob Felts' leadoff single. With one out Mark Payton smoked a line drive that third baseman C.J. Jarvis snagged to save a run. Tant Shepherd hit a hard grounder that shortstop Santo snagged deep in the hole and made a strong throw to nail the runner at first.
Tigers playing with Joplin on mind (ColumbiaTribune)
Hanging in Missouri's home dugout is a No. 21 jersey from the 2002-03 era that was discovered among the rubble in Joplin.

A photo was posted online, and catcher Ben Turner sent a text message to his father, Mark, who had driven into St. Louis on Friday to watch his younger son play a high school game. Mark Turner stopped in Joplin between 11 p.m. and midnight on the drive back to Oklahoma City to pick up the tattered jersey.

That was the only piece of property former KOMU reporter Brandon Spiegel, now working in Joplin, could find in the remains, miles away from his home.

“He goes, 'Take it and put it in their dugout,'” Mark Turner said. “ 'It kind of represents what you guys have done this year between the first half and the second half of the season.'”

Big 12 Tournament: Mizzou to play for Championship on Sunday

The Tigers lost to Texas this morning but then came back to beat the Longhorns in the evening game. Led by an incredible pitching performance by Senior Kelly Fick, the #8 seed Tigers head to the final game Sunday. This is the first time ever that the #8 seed has played in the Big 12 tournament Championship Game.

From Tigerboard.com on the post-game press conference:
Coach just told the story of the rescuers finding a Mizzou baseball jersey in the Joplin rubble and how the Tigers have been inspired to press even harder. He then noted that the jersey number is 21, the same as Kelly Fick. He then looked at Kelly and got a tear in his eye.
Championship Game: 1:00 Sunday
Live TV coverage on FSN (Details of channnels - good luck finding the game)
Live Radio coverage on KTGR

Friday, May 27, 2011

Big 12 Tournament: MU vs. UT @ 9AM

■ Saturday Schedule
9:00 AM - Missouri (2-0) vs. Texas (2-1)
If MU wins they play Sunday in championship game; Texas is eliminated
If UT wins, MU and UT play again Saturday afternoon at 4:00 PM. Loser is eliminated; winner plays Sunday in championship game.
12:30 PM & 7:30 PM - Texas A&M (2-0) plays either Oklahoma or Kansas State; same set-up and options as MU-UT match-up.
Sunday 1:00 PM - Championship Game (live on FSN)

Texas - Oklahoma State baseball (Austin American Statesman)
It’s over. Texas wins 9-3. Longhorns face Missouri Saturday at 9 a.m.
. . .
The Longhorns scored three in the fifth inning to take a 6-2 lead. Mark Payton led off with a triple, and Tant Shepherd and Cohl Walla hit RBI singles. One run scored on a passed ball. OSU’s starting pitcher, Andrew Heaney, was removed during the inning.
■ From the Cheap Seats:
HornFans.com: Why Knebel is in is that I dont think Augie is playing for tomorrow and Sunday, he figures a win today all but clinches the national seed. In fact, I wouldnt put it past him running out a walk on tomorrow to pitch and mail it in so as to not waste arms for next weekend when the truly important games happen. The Horns winning yesterday and today is great but in the grand scheme pretty meaningless. Of course all of that is trash if Texas hasnt already clinched a national seed but the NCAA tends to not weigh conference tournys much at all so if Texas is or isnt it should already be decided.

Tigerboard.com: Texas is throwing their #2 today, their #1 went yesterday and won't pitch again this weekend as they are setting up the rotation for the NCAAs. More than likely they will start Sam Stafford tomorrow but (potentially) both games will be Johnny Wholestaffed for a large part.

MU makes Big News at Big 12

■ MU has Friday off, waiting to see who they will play at 9:00 AM on Saturday. Complete Schedule HERE

Missouri blows 5-0 lead but beats OSU 6-5 in ninth (Austin American Statesman)

Eric Garcia hit an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning and Missouri rallied after blowing a 5-0 lead to beat Oklahoma State 6-5 on Thursday to earn a berth in the Big 12 baseball tournament semifinals.
■ From Twitter:

@kgib44: Big walk off win for Mizzou today! Congrats fellas keep it rollin!

@RyanClubb29: very selfish of @philanthropy27 again. haha. ties up the game just so we can win in the bottom half. #easywaytogetaW good job MU baseball!
Q&A with Missouri's Jonah Schmidt: 'I'm not a spider guy' (NewsOK.com)

Growing up, I was always number 15. When I came to Missouri, it was retired because Phil Bradley played here and wore it. They asked which number I wanted, and I was a big St. Louis guy back in the day and Mark McGwire fan, so I chose 25.
Missouri baseball team beats Oklahoma State (Columbia Tribune)

Oklahoma State Coach Frank Anderson was left searching.

Not about Missouri's 6-5 come-from-behind victory or blown chances or even a close play at first base that went the Tigers' way and killed a Cowboys rally.

No. Anderson was having a problem of pronunciation.

“I don't know how to pronounce the guy's name,” Anderson said, “but he basically stuck it to us for seven innings.”
Missouri baserball team wins again at Big 12 Tournament (Columbia Missourian)

"It felt great," Garcia said. "We’ve had some great ninth-inning wins and extra-inning wins, and today is probably one of the biggest ones we’ve had all year just because we need to win this tournament. I feel like we’re getting our confidence right now.”

It was Missouri's fifth walk-off win of the season and Garcia’s second of the year.
Big XII Baseball Championship: Missouri wins angain and Kansas State falls to Texas A&M (SBNation.com)

"I’m really proud of these guys, not just this weekend, but the last five or six weeks," said Missouri coach Tim Jamieson.
Missouri sends OSU to Big 12 baseball loser's bracket (NewsOK.com)

Oklahoma State has dealt in the wonder of walk-off victories all season, reveling in ninth-inning celebrations seven times among its 35 wins.

Thursday the Cowboys experienced the wicked side of the walk-off at the Big 12 Tournament.
Walking ot the Big Dance (abc17news.com)

The Tigers carried a 5-0 lead into the eighth inning, but OSU hit a three run homerun in the eighth, adding two the ninth to tie the game at 5-5. The win for the Tigers improves them to 26-30 this season and it is their fifth walk-off win against Big 12 competition this season, the most by any team in the league. It is also the first walk-off win at the Big 12 Tournament since the championship game last season.
Missouri all in (NewsOK.com)

At Tuesday's media luncheon, Missouri coach Tim Jamieson spoke about the desperation his team must play with at the tournament. In their first two games at Bricktown, it showed.

Now, after infielder Eric Smith's walk-off single took down OSU, the Tigers are in prime position to turn their once bleak regional hopes into reality.
Mizzou wins again at Big 12 baseball (St. Louis Post Dispatch)

The Tigers, who knocked off No. 1 seed Texas on Wednesday, will await the winner of Friday's Texas-Oklahoma State game at 9 a.m. on Saturday. If the Tigers (26-30) win, they advance to the Big 12 title game. If they lose in the morning, they have another chance to advance with a second game at 4 p.m.
First round full of surprises (The Norman Transcript)

Anything can happen in the Big 12 tournament. It did Wednesday with the
eighth-seeded Tigers knocking off the top-seeded Longhorns 6-4.

Then again, the one Big 12 team that has a history of stunning the Longhorns in the
conference tournament is Mizzou. Wednesday’s victory lifted the Tigers to 4-1
against Texas all-time in the postseason tournament.
My message to the selection committee and the day's write-up (College BAseball Today)


This time, I’m doing this well in advance of the announcement show so they can hopefully take these points into account. 10 things we all hope the selection committee considers before they evaluate their field of 64.


As was pointed out in Aaron Fitt’s tweet from yesterday, the same Georgia team that got drummed 10-0 and are sub-500 has a better RPI than Pac 10 leader Oregon State.

■ In unrelated news: The Pelicans activated catcher Vinny Difazio from the disabled list on Wednesday, although he did not return to the starting lineup. Catcher Brett Nicholas, who was called up to replace him, was sent back to extended spring training. (The Myrtle Beach Sun News)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Big 12 Tournament: MU 6, OSU 5

After two rounds of the Big 12 Tournament standings look like this:
2-0 Missouri
2-0 Texas AM
1-1 Kansas St
1-1 Texas
1-1 Oklahoma
1-1 Oklahoma St
0-2 Baylor(Eliminated)
0-2 Texas Tech(Eliminated)
Missouri will not play on Friday, but will play again on Saturday at 9:00 AM. Their opponent will be the winner of Friday's UT-OSU elimination game.

Big 12 Tournament: Day 2 Quotes & Notes

■ Thursday schedule and results so far

G5: 9 a.m Texas defeated Baylor, 6-1 - Baylor eliminated
G6: 12:30 p.m - Oklahoma defeats Texas Tech, 3-1 - Texas Tech eliminated
G7: Oklahoma State (1-0) vs. Missouri (1-0), 4 p.m
G8: Texas A&M (1-0) vs. Kansas State, 7:30 p.m
■ Friday Schedule

G9: Game 7 Loser vs. Game 5 Winner (Texas) 3:15 p.m. - ELIMINATION GAME
G10: Game 8 Loser vs. Game 6 Winner (Oklahoma) 7:30 p.m. - ELIMINATION GAME

Horns stumble in Big 12 opener, 6-4 (Austin American Statesman)

"Nine-thirty, 10," the Longhorns shortstop said.

Loy then laughed, and added, "That's early for a college kid."

No, early is 6:30.

That's when the Longhorns were scheduled to receive their wake-up calls today in Oklahoma City. They get that jolt after losing to Missouri 6-4 Wednesday in the opening round of the Big 12 baseball tournament.

The top-seeded Longhorns (40-14) stumbled into the losers' bracket of the double-elimination tournament, where they will meet Baylor — which lost Wednesday to Oklahoma State, 6-2 — at 9 a.m.

Let the rag-armfest begin (College Baseball Today)

Big 12 Tournament Day 2: MU vs. OSU


G5: Baylor (0-1) vs. Texas (0-1), 9 a.m - ELIMINATION GAME

G6: Texas Tech (0-1) vs. Oklahoma, 12:30 p.m - ELIMINATION GAME

G7: Oklahoma State (1-0) vs. Missouri (1-0), 4 p.m

G8: Texas A&M (1-0) vs. Kansas State, 7:30 p.m

Big 12 Tournament Post-game press conference quotes (Big12Sports.com)

  • Tim Jamieson: “We’re a much better team right now than we were when we were in Stillwater. Whether that means anything or not, it’s hard to say but we like where we are. You have to play good teams right now anyway, so I kind of like the law of averages right now.”

  • Tim Jamieson (on the starting pitcher against OSU): “We’re going to start Rob Zastryzny. He threw really well against them last time, and we want to go left-handed.”

  • Jonah Schmidt: “We had a good approach. They kind of gave us a little bit, and we were able to take advantage of it. We built some great at-bats. The pitcher kind of fell into a pattern of starting everybody off with a first-pitch slider. I was able to sit on it. He left it up, and I put it in the gap.”

  • Augie Garrido: "Their two strike hitting was very good. They had hits with 0-2 and with 1-2 counts. They battled. As they battled they got more victories inning-by-inning than we did."
Big 12 Baseball Notebook: Cowboys hide out through storm (NewsOK.com)

Luis Uribe . . . was on the 10th floor of the Cowboys' downtown hotel when the sirens and alarms began going off.

“I was a little nervous,” Uribe said. “I didn't know what to do. I was panicked.”
. . .
Missouri's Andrew Thigpen, who is from Midwest City, was at home riding the storm out in a bathtub. Tigers graduate student manager Travis Wendte, who is from Moore, was filming the storm, Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said.
Tigers defeat Texas in Big 12 opener (Columbia Tribune)

When a series of storms blew across the state producing a handful of tornadoes Tuesday, Missouri pitcher Eric Anderson went looking for cover at the team hotel.

“I went straight for the basement,” said Anderson, who doesn't see that kind of storm system in his home city of Highlands Ranch, Colo. “I wasn't messing with that.”

St. Louis native Jonah Schmidt wasn't as fazed by the brewing storm.

“There was actually a couple of us out on the parking garage after a while, trying to watch the storm come in,” he said.
■ From the cheap seats:

From Twitter:

  • @tigres09: Should have gone to Bricktown today. Wow, upset city. Mizzou over Texas

  • @CoachPietro: On to the next one... #MIZ

  • @KendallRogersPG: Told you earlier today to watch out for #Missouri over #Texas. Well, the red-hot #Tigers took care of the #Longhorns 6-4. #Horns #Big12

  • @KyleBarbs: great win for Mizzou over Texas in the Big 12 tourny. Keep it going! #Mizzoubaseball

From HornFans.com:

  • warrior: Losing to the last seed Missouri sucks, nothing good happens out of losing IMO. Seeing a trend with Texas Atheletics of early departures in post season.

  • Hook 'Em Danno: Lost to the 8 seed. This is getting old..

  • FWHORN: Like last year, Augie's attitude about this tournament tends to take hold of his players and be evidenced in their play. Just have to hope that the whole National Seed debate was put to rest last weekend taking two of three from aggy.

Cowboy baseball finishes 4th (CowboysRideForFree.com)

What an, ummm, interesting year for Cowboys baseball. In the end we finished 4th, which, all things considered, is pretty good. Did we falter down the stretch- yes, but I think we need to put this season in perspective. First, three weeks ago at best we could have finished 3rd, so we didn't fall to far. Second, this is the first time we have even made the Big 12 tourney in 2 years, which is a huge improvement over last year. I was surprised we lost two against Tech, however, we have not played well on the road, so it probably shouldn't surprise anyone. What does both surprise and worry me is how we have ended the season. We went from 10-5 a few weeks ago to 14-12 to finish. Now I'm no math wiz, but I believe that means we ended the season 4-7. We should have taken the Baylor series and we probably should have taken the Tech series, but oh well.
. . .
No matter what happens, we will most likely make the NCAA tournament, and that help's get this program going again. We should have a full allotment of scholarships next year (the first time in a while), and hopefully we can get back to Cowboy baseball (duh, winning- championships). Also, Frank Anderson is 4 wins away from 300 so all he has to do is win the tourney to get em.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes

'Jacks sign three as 2011 season nears (Kilgore News Herald)
As the Texas Collegiate League’s 2011 season approaches, the East Texas Pump Jacks’ roster gets three new names.

The Pump Jacks have gone back to their roots to add three new players to the roster, signing Angelina College ace Chase Greening, a Lufkin native, as well as University of Missouri teammates C.J. Jarvis and James Hudelson.

Jarvis and Hudelson extend a relationship between Mizzou and the Jacks that has seen five players with Missouri ties suit up in East Texas. Former all-TCL catcher Brett Nicholas left the Pump Jacks for Missouri before he was drafted by the Texas Rangers. Dusty Ross, who last summer set the TCL record for saves in a season while pitching for the Pump Jacks, came out of the bullpen for the Tigers this spring as well.

Big 12 Tournament Quotes & Notes

■ Live Video Coverage of the entire tournament is available for free at Big12Sports.com Tournament Page

Missouri places Big 12 hopes on pitcher (Columbia Tribune)
The opening game of the Tigers’ series in Lincoln, Neb., was suspended by rain Thursday night, ending the weekend for Missouri pitcher Eric Anderson after just 54 pitches. That will help ease the mind of MU Coach Tim Jamieson.

With Anderson recently joining the rotation after offseason shoulder surgery, the Tigers coach had expressed reservations of shortening the big right-hander’s rest two consecutive weeks. But with last week’s abbreviated session, there will be no concerns as Anderson is expected to take the mound tomorrow in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament.

Big 12 Baseball Notebook (NEWSOK.com)
With one less team in the league for baseball next year, the format for the Big 12 Baseball Tournament could be further tweaked in the offseason.

“We’ll take a look at things and see if there’s a bracket that would allow us to have all nine teams to play in the tournament,” Big 12 Associate Commissioner Bob Burda said Tuesday.
. . .
Missouri coach Tim Jamieson asked for some mercy from the conference’s other coaches at Tuesday’s media luncheon in Bricktown.

“I truly believe there’s only one team here that has to win the tournament to get into a regional,” Jamieson said. “And that’s us.”

“So Steve, Augie and Frank, keep that in mind this week.”

Big 12 Tournament: MU vs. Texas Longhorns

■ From HornFans.com:
  • This has to be the most useless time of the season.

  • A good way to waste arms a week before the real tournament begins. Its nice to make a run in this tourny and get some momentum but not real crazy about this double elim format being started again. At least with old format you knew three games perhaps a fourth but that was it and you could set up your pitchers for the NCAA regionals the next week.
9 things and 1 crazy prediction (Austin American-Statesman)
Augie Garrido deserves a tremendous amount of credit for coaching the Longhorns to their third straight Big 12 baseball championship despite a lack of strong hitting. Even though they hit only .255 in the three-game series against Texas A&M, with just three doubles, Texas' starting pitching posted an impressive 2.74 ERA, struck out 24 batters and walked only six.

One should never ever doubt the mystique of Texas baseball. I'm sure the Aggies won't. Won't shock me a bit if both teams reach the College World Series. Texas needs to salve some wounds in this bitter school year for Longhorn athletics, after another embarrassing implosion by its underachieving softball team — at home, no less.
Missouri Student-Athlete Spotlight: Eric Anderson (Big12Sports.com)
Missouri baseball has a long history of Friday night aces, and after a hot start in his debut season last year, Eric Anderson looked to join their ranks. One torn labrum later, his journey to the starting spot took a difficult turn.

After offseason surgery, Anderson is back, and relishing every moment.

“It feels great [to be back],” Anderson said. “Going through an injury like that makes you not take anything for granted anymore. It feels good to get back out there.”

His return could not have come at a better time for the Tigers. Since rehabbing from his injury, Anderson started the first four conference series for Missouri, and emerged victorious in each of those starts.

Although Anderson only pitched two innings in his first appearance since his surgery, an 11-4 victory over Central Arkansas this March, he was able to shake off the rust and warm up for some powerhouse conference performances.

“It was a pretty big deal for me,” Anderson said of his first game back. “After all the work I had gone through, it was great. A lot of hard work goes into all the rehab, so it meant a lot to me.”

Injuries often prove just as debilitating mentally as physically. Although having his freshman season cut short was challenging for Anderson, he says the obstacle helped him gain a fresh perspective on the sport he loves.

“It was a really big motivator for me,” Anderson said. “I have to go out there every day and not take it for granted. At any point, you might not be healthy, so I can’t take baseball for granted at all. It taught me to enjoy the game as much as anything.”

While there are still steps to take in his recovery, Anderson has showed flashes of the enormous potential he has in several outings this season. Perhaps his most impressive was an 11-1 victory over Texas Tech, in which he pitched seven shutout innings, throwing a season-high 93 pitches, 61 of which were for strikes.

His 4-0 start to the conference season provided a much-needed spark for a Missouri team that has struggled at times, but always found a way to keep hope alive.

“I’m trying to do as much as I can to contribute,” Anderson said. “My start to the season means a lot, and it just happened to work out that I was able to be a part of some big wins.”

He has an opportunity to be a part of some even bigger ones. Missouri clinched its ninth straight Big 12 Tournament appearance over the weekend against Nebraska, and will face top-seeded Texas this Wednesday as the No. 8 overall seed. After a strong finish to the season, Anderson believes the team has a chance to be competitive in the tournament.

“I think we’ll do great,” Anderson said. “I think our team is the hot team right now, and the hot team in baseball has a good chance to win. I think we have a good shot going into this tournament.”


Wednesday's Games

G1: No. 4 Oklahoma State vs. No. 5 Baylor, 9 a.m

G2: No. 1 Texas vs. No. 8 Missouri, 12:30 p.m

G3: No. 2 Texas A&M vs. No. 7 Texas Tech, 4 p.m

G4: No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 6 Kansas State, 7:30 p.m

Thursday's Games

G5: G1 Loser vs. G2 Loser, 9 a.m

G6: G3 Loser vs. G4 Loser, 12:30 p.m

G7: G1 Winner vs. G2 Winner, 4 p.m

G8: G3 Winner vs. G4 Winner, 7:30 p.m

Friday's Games

G9: G5 Winner vs. G7 Loser, 3:15 p.m.

G10: G6 Winner vs. G8 Loser, 7 p.m.

Saturday's Games

G11: G7 Winner vs. G9 Winner, 9 a.m

G12: G8 Winner vs. G10 Winner, 12:30 p.m

*G13: G7 Winner vs. G11 Winner, 4 p.m.

**G14: G8 Winner vs. G12 Winner, 7:30 p.m.***


Sunday's Game

G15: Division One Winner vs. Division Two Winner, 1 p.m.

Day One matchups will feature: Division One: Seeds 4 vs 5, 1 vs 8; Divison Two: Seeds 3 vs 6, 2 vs 7

* Game 13 will be necessary if the winner of Game 9 also wins Game 11

** Game 14 will be necessary if the winner of Game 10 also wins Game 12

***If Game 13 is unnecessary, Game 14 will be played at 4 p.m. rather than 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How You Can Help Joplin Tornado Recovery

■ If you're traveling by car to Oklahoma City for the Big 12 Tournament, instead of avoiding Joplin, plan to go through Joplin. Stuff your vehicle with needed supplies to deliver to service agencies there, or just swing through and personally give them your donation. NOTE: Call ahead to find out where you can drop donations without adding to the traffic problems in the center of the city.

■ If you live in Columbia, one place you can donate supplies is Blue Ridge Christian Church, 2400 Blue Ridge Rd. (573)474-8046
Blue Ridge Christian Church is asking for and accepting donations for the people of Joplin. Their biggest need is bottled water, fruit, baby formula, breakfast bars and basic toiletries ... If you can - help ... we're leaving at 9 am on Thursday - drop off items at BRCC from 7 - 7 Tuesday or Wednesday. Thank you for your consideration.
■ Links:

All Big 12 Team announced

2011 All Big 12 Baseball Awards Announced (Big12Sports.com)
Player of the Year: Tyler Naquin, Texas A&M, So.
Pitcher of the Year: Taylor Jungmann, Texas, Jr.*
Newcomer of the Year: Zach Johnson, Oklahoma State, Jr.
Freshman of the Year: Erich Weiss, Texas, Fr.
Co-Coaches of the Year: Augie Garrido, Texas; Rob Childress, Texas A&M
  • 2nd Team: Jonah Schmidt, DH
  • Honorable Mention: Blake Brown, OF and Phil McCormick, LHP
  • All Freshman Team: Rob Zastryzny, LHP

Big 12 (and 10) Quotes & Notes

Nebraska fires Mike Anderson (Baseball America)
Osborne said he has no definitive timetable for hiring a replacement. With the Cornhuskers heading to the Big Ten next year, long-time Minnesota assistant Rob Fornasiere might be a good fit. Fornasiere knows the ins and outs of the Big Ten, and BA's 2008 Assistant Coach of the Year has proven he can build a winner at a cold-weather school. Other top assistants in that general region include Oklahoma's Tim Tadlock, Baylor's Mitch Thompson (the 2006 Assistant Coach of the Year), Oklahoma State's Billy Jones and Texas Christian's Tony Vitello (who helped build six straight regional teams at Missouri).

KU's year as bad as it gets (KUSports.com)
Sunday’s results, 13-9 and 10-6 losses to Kansas State in the final games played on KU’s campus in any sport during the 2010-2011 school year, were a pretty fair representation of how things went for all Jayhawks teams, except the franchise.

Why all the losing? Geography and facilities, more than ever, play a big role in success. A clever, hard-working coach used to be able to close the gap by finding hidden recruiting gems, but that’s more difficult to do because nearly every school has work-obsessed coaches now. Sleepers are tougher to find because the best athletes have so many more means for exposure.
. . .
Oh well, at least the year has ended. Look at it this way: Next year can’t be any worse.

Fans speak out on Big 12 expansion (ESPN.com)
Nebraska was the only program you heard express concerns about a "Texas-centric" league, but apparently they weren't the only ones who believed that was the case. I'd expect administrators from those four schools to express similar concerns if the Big 12 ever explores inviting new teams.
. . .
Doesn't the Big XII's clear commitment to school owned networks suggest they're trying to land a pair of independents? Specifically, Notre Dame and BYU? I know it seems far-fetched, but I can't see any other conference making the kinds of TV concessions the Big XII is currently making to OU and Texas, even to land Notre Dame.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mizzou Recruits

A month from MLB, Platts ready for all scenarios (Globe Gazette)
His fastball has been clocked at 91 mph and Perfect Game, a scouting service, gives him a 10 rating, meaning he is a potential very high draft pick and a top D-I prospect.

He signed with Missouri in November, but where the 6-foot-4, 210-pound right hander winds up isn’t set in stone.

“The draft is a funny thing,” Platts said. “There’s been guys that go in the 10th round that were supposed to go in the 20th round.

“And there’s guys that go in the 20th round that were supposed to go in the 10th round.”
. . .
“It’s exciting, but I don’t want to get my hopes up too much,” he said. “I
f it doesn’t happen, I have a really good thing at the University of Missouri.

Experienced pitching carries expectations for Marshalltown baseball (Timesrepublican.com)
Defending league champion Mason City has compiled 66 wins over the last two seasons and potentially could return five first-teamers to its lineup. Missouri signee Brandon Platts, a hard-throwing right-hander, expects to be selected in the MLB First-year player draft next month and may sign a pro contract instead of finishing out his senior season.

Big 12 Tourney: MU IN; KU & NU OUT; Mike Anderson OUT

8th-seed Missouri begins the Big 12 Tournament by playing #1 Texas on Wednesday at 12:30 PM.

NOTE: Tournament game times are always subject to change. The MU-UT game is the 2nd game that day, following OSU-BU at 9 AM. If Game #1 goes long, MU's game will be delayed. But, I'm sure the Tigers would rather be delayed from 12:30 than have to play at 9 in the morning!

Detailed tournament schedule below.

Anderson fired (Husker Extra)
No more wondering if change is coming to the Husker baseball program. Tom Osborne supplied the answer to that Sunday afternoon, firing Mike Anderson and the staff.

Anderson had been a coach in the Husker program for the past 17 years, including the past nine as the head coach.

“I appreciate the efforts of Mike Anderson and his coaching staff, but I have made the decision to change the direction of our baseball program,” Osborne said in a statement.

Bitter end: K-State sweeps KU to end Jayhawks' year (KUSport.com)
Kansas University’s baseball team needed two victories Sunday to keep its season alive and got none.

Sunday at Hoglund Ballpark, KU fell, 13-9 in the completion of Saturday’s weather-delayed game, and, 10-6, in the nightcap that meant nothing in terms of conference standings but everything in the hearts and minds of the KU players.
. . .
Sunday night, as the Jayhawks left the field for the final time, some were saddled with the tough task of balancing the joys of graduation with the heartbreak of the end of the season, and others were left to reflect on what went wrong. A little more than a month ago, qualifying for the postseason was not much of a question for KU.

“We were 9-9, in fourth place, and I think we were the story of the Big 12 Conference at that time,” Price said. “That team had overachieved as much as any team I’ve ever coached. If you would’ve told me after we were 9-9 that we wouldn’t make the Big 12 tournament, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Double-elimination bracket is back at Big 12 Baseball Tournament (NewsOK.com)
The pool play format of the past five years has been abandoned, ditched after complaints of games rendered meaningless by a tiebreaker system that went to the higher-seeded teams. In some instances, clubs were eliminated from title contention after playing but one game.

Not now.
. . .
Unlike the NCAA Regional and CWS, the must-win mentality doesn't exist for all. Clubs with a secure place in the postseason often aren't interested in grinding through the loser's bracket, tearing through pitching along the way.

“I guarantee it, we are not going to sacrifice regional play for the Big 12 Conference championship,” said Texas coach Augie Garrido. “If we win it, we win it.
“Our mission at the University of Texas is to win in Omaha. We're not giving the tournament away, either. I mean no disrespect. But let's get our priorities straight.”
. . .
“The teams that need to win at the tournament are the teams that otherwise aren't going to get in,” Garrido said. “That's what the tournament's set up for. That's why the tournament's important to the coaches; it gives us a chance to get another team in that otherwise wouldn't.”

■ 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship Schedule

Wednesday, May 25
Game 1 No. 4 Oklahoma State vs. No. 5 Baylor [Big12Sports.com] 9:00 a.m.
Game 2 No. 1 Texas vs. No. 8 Missouri [Big12Sports.com] 12:30 p.m.
Game 3 No. 2 Texas A&M vs. No. 7 Texas Tech [Big12Sports.com] 4:00 p.m.
Game 4 No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 6 Kansas State [Big12Sports.com] 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 26
Game 5 Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser [Big12Sports.com] 9:00 a.m.
Game 6 Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Loser [Big12Sports.com] 12:30 p.m.
Game 7 Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 4:00 p.m.
Game 8 Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 7:30 p.m.

Friday, May 27
Game 9 Game 7 Loser vs. Game 5 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 3:15 p.m.
Game 10 Game 8 Loser vs. Game 6 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 28
Game 11 Game 7 Winner vs. Game 9 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 9:00 a.m.
Game 12 Game 8 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 12:30 p.m.
Game 13* If necessary Game 7 Winner vs. Game 11 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 4:00 p.m.
Game 14** If necessary Game 8 Winner vs. Game 12 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 7:30 p.m.***

Sunday, May 29
Game 15 Championship Game [FSN] 1:00 p.m.

*Game 13 will be necessary if the winner of Game 9 also wins Game 11
**Game 14 will be necessary if the winner of Game 10 also wins Game 12
***If Game 13 is unnecessary, Game 14 will be played at 4 p.m rather than at 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

MU to face UT Wednesday at 12:30 PM

Pairings set for 2001 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship (Big12Sports.com)
Regular season co-champion Texas will be the top seed at the 2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship scheduled for May 25-29 at RedHawks Field at Bricktown in Oklahoma City. It marks the 13th time the Championship has been played at the venue.

While UT and TAMU share the regular-season conference crown, the Longhorns (40-13) concluded 2011 with a series win over the Aggies to secure the No. 1 seed in the Championship for the seventh time. Since the two teams finished with identical 19-8 records in league play, head-to-head competition determined the top seed for the Championship, which went to Texas after UT took 2-of-3 from TAMU this weekend.

The Longhorns will face eighth-seeded Missouri (24-30) at 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, while defending-champion Texas A&M (38-18) earned the No. 2 seed and will face seventh-seeded Texas Tech (33-23) at 4:00 p.m.

2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship Schedule

Wednesday, May 25
Game 1 No. 4 Oklahoma State vs. No. 5 Baylor [Big12Sports.com] 9:00 a.m.
Game 2 No. 1 Texas vs. No. 8 Missouri [Big12Sports.com] 12:30 p.m.
Game 3 No. 2 Texas A&M vs. No. 7 Texas Tech [Big12Sports.com] 4:00 p.m.
Game 4 No. 3 Oklahoma vs. No. 6 Kansas State [Big12Sports.com] 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 26
Game 5 Game 1 Loser vs. Game 2 Loser [Big12Sports.com] 9:00 a.m.
Game 6 Game 3 Loser vs. Game 4 Loser [Big12Sports.com] 12:30 p.m.
Game 7 Game 1 Winner vs. Game 2 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 4:00 p.m.
Game 8 Game 3 Winner vs. Game 4 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 7:30 p.m.

Friday, May 27
Game 9 Game 7 Loser vs. Game 5 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 3:15 p.m.
Game 10 Game 8 Loser vs. Game 6 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, May 28
Game 11 Game 7 Winner vs. Game 9 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 9:00 a.m.
Game 12 Game 8 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 12:30 p.m.
Game 13* If necessary Game 7 Winner vs. Game 11 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 4:00 p.m.
Game 14** If necessary Game 8 Winner vs. Game 12 Winner [Big12Sports.com] 7:30 p.m.***

Sunday, May 29
Game 15 Championship Game [FSN] 1:00 p.m.

*Game 13 will be necessary if the winner of Game 9 also wins Game 11
**Game 14 will be necessary if the winner of Game 10 also wins Game 12
***If Game 13 is unnecessary, Game 14 will be played at 4 p.m rather than at 7:30 p.m.

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors

Former MU pitcher thrilled to be in KC (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
University of Missouri product Aaron Crow has been in the big leagues for six weeks, but he got a big-league baptism of fire Friday night when, in the eighth inning, the Kansas City rookie was called in to protect a 3-0 lead with Cardinals sluggers Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday coming up and a man at first with two outs.

"Pujols has been the best hitter in baseball the last 10 years and Holliday's having a great year. So it was exciting to have that opportunity," said Crow. "They're probably the best two hitters I've faced all year."
Ian Kinsler hitting third today, but come Monday where will he be? (Dallas News)
As his struggle at the plate only continues to mount, the Rangers may soon be facing a difficult lineup decision with 2B Ian Kinsler.

Kinsler has already been dropped from first in the lineup to third with the hope that his style would be more productive there with Josh Hamilton out. That has not happened. Kinsler enters Saturday's game hitting .243 in the No. 3 spot and is hitless in his last 16 at-bats. He is now hitting .228 for the season.

Hamilton is expected to return from the DL Monday. Also returning is likely No. 6 hitter Nelson Cruz. It may mean the Rangers will either have to give Kinsler another shot at the top of the lineup or move him to the bottom third. Kinsler has hit lower than sixth just once since the start of the 2008 season.
. . .

The other issue with Kinsler is a deepening trend of poor road performances. Kinsler is now a career .243 hitter on the road and is hitting a major-league worst .143 for road games. He also ranks 168th among 184 qualifiers in road on-base percentage (.250) and 174th in road OPS (.497).
Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer takes first loss (Detroit Free Press)
With the Tigers’ recent bullpen and offensive struggles, the margin of error isn’t very wide for the starting pitchers.

And when someone like Max Scherzer, who has been brilliant, is off slightly, the Tigers have been unable to win.

Such was the case Saturday night against the Pirates when Scherzer left in the sixth with the Tigers trailing by only one run — only to see Ryan Perry yield three runs as the Tigers dropped their fifth straight, 6-2, in the second game of the three-game interleague series.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: Going their separate ways

Mizzou-Nebraska: Rivals going their separate ways (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
A rivalry that often was spirited and at times contentious will come to a rather subdued end this afternoon at Haymarket Park in Lincoln, Neb. That is where the universities of Missouri and Nebraska, both sporting sub-.500 Big 12 records, are to wrap up a three-day baseball series.

Today's game will mark the completion of an intra-conference sports matchup that began in 1892, when the inaugural Missouri football team lost to Nebraska 6-0 — the Tigers forfeited the game because the Cornhuskers had a black player on their roster. By 1893, the schools had resolved their differences, and Mizzou beat Nebraska 18-12 in Kansas City.

Friday, May 20, 2011

MU 10, NU 5 - Game 2 to begin Saturday at noon

The Tigers finally finished off the Huskers in game 1, 10-5, nearly 21 hours after the first pitch. The win mathematically eliminates Nebraska from the Big 12 tournament and clinches at least 8th in the Big 12 for the Tigers.

Weather is expected to be better on Saturday, so Game 2 will not be played today as scheduled but will be part of a double-header beginning at noon Saturday.

MU-NU series to resume at 1:15 today

The Tigers were given a gift last night when game one of the Nebraska series was postponed due to stormy weather in the top of the 5th. Down 3-1, it could just as easily have been an inning later, and official game and possibly an official loss. Instead, the Tigers get to play out the 9 innings and put on display their new found ability to come back and win a ball game.

■ The Weather forecast for Lincoln, NE: Not only rain, but thunderstorms are considered likely over the next 2-3 days for much of the Midwest, including SE Nebraska. The wet and stormy weather will likely continue to affect not only the MU-NU game, but also other Big 12 games in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, tossing the mathematical probabilities and possibilities for Big 12 rankings into a whirlwind.

Series opener suspended in fifth inning (Omaha.com)
Nebraska's Mike Anderson warned his baseball team not to arrive at Haymarket Park Friday feeling too comfortable with its early lead in a game suspended due to weather.

The Huskers may have been in control of their series opener through four innings Thursday, but Anderson said Missouri will now have plenty of time to ponder ways to get back into the game. Action is scheduled to resume at 12:05 p.m. Friday, with NU up 3-1 in the top of the fifth.
. . .
Jonah Schmidt led off the fifth inning with a single. Right fielder Blake Brown will be facing a 1-2 count with no outs.

NU leads 3-1 in game suspended until Friday afternoon (Husker Extra)
The contest will resume at 12:05 p.m. Friday at Haymarket, with the second game of the series to begin shortly after the first game's conclusion.

"I didn't want to be put in a bind where we play and wait and have a window of opportunity," Nebraska coach Mike Anderson said of the decision to move Game 2 up from its original 6:35 p.m. starting time. "We need the biggest window we can."

MU lefty pumps life into career by switching to side arm delivery (Columbia Tribune)
McCormick, himself, went from afterthought to legitimate major league prospect because of a radical change. In order to see his value rise, he dropped down — sidearm.
. . .
“He’s working his tail off to help the team. I think that’s one of the things that gets lost in all the success he’s had. He didn’t do this to get drafted. He was trying to find a way he could get out there and pitch and help the team. His draft status is a byproduct of being a team-first guy.” (Matt Hobbs)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes: Weather or not

■ Will the weather cooperate with the plans of the Tigers and Huskers this weekend?
  • The NOAA Storm Prediction Center reports a good chance of not only rain but thunderstorms - possibly severe - for the next 3-4 days in the Lincoln, NE area.
■ The math:
  • For Mizzou, it appears that the Tigers need to win 1 game to guarantee they are in the Big 12 Tournament - no matter how many of the scheduled 3 games are played at Lincoln. In addition, the Tigers could slip in with no wins, if Texas Tech, Kansas and Kansas state fail to do their part to knock MU out.
  • For the Huskers, it looks like they MUST go no less than 3-0 to get into the Big 12 Tournament. 2-0 won't do it. That's good news for Mizzou, because it guarantees that Mike Anderson (whose job may depend on making it to the Big 12 Tournament) will do everything he possibly can to creatively juggle game times, do an anti-rain dance, and invoke the help of the Almighty to make sure three games are played. Unless, of course, the Tigers win game 1, in which case the Cornhuskers would have nothing left to play for.

Nebraska team will try to sweep into post-season (Husker Extra)
What's more, weather forecasts are calling for rain the next three days, and NU needs to go 3-0 — 2-0 wouldn't do it — to earn one of the eight spots in the conference tourney that begins in Oklahoma City on Wednesday. And unless Oklahoma State sweeps three games against Texas Tech, NU also needs Kansas and Kansas State to get in all three games of their series.

On top of those uncertainties is a sideshow involving coach Mike Anderson and a growing curiosity among Husker followers about whether he'll be retained for a 10th season.
. . .
"I don't go on that other side," Anderson said before quoting a line used by former Husker Joba Chamberlain. "Let the haters hate. That's not part of what I do. It's not part of what I'll ever do.
Now or never, Ehlers goes in Game 1 (Big Red Report.com)
First up on the mound, freshman Logan Ehlers. The highly touted 8th round draft pick out of high school has had an interesting first year in Lincoln. After being suspended by the NCAA for the first 60% of the season, Ehlers is 1-3 with an era over 4.25.

After quickly finding himself in the starting weekend rotation, the Nebraska City High product is 0-2 in his last three starts. At Texas A&M last weekend, he allowed two runs over 5.2 innings to the No. 11 team in the country.

“There is a maturing process that takes place physically and a maturing process that takes place mentally. I think there has been leaps and bounds in terms of what he is doing mentally,” said Mike Anderson on Sports Nightly Tuesday night. “He's a young man that has a bright future and working hard towards it. What he has to learn is his physical skills are very good, now he has to adapt mentally.”

Outfielder Blake Brown producing thanks to new approach (KOMU.com)
This pronounced production increase from Brown, he believes, stems from a maturation of his mental approach.

"That was my biggest problem last year, mentally I wasn't able to deal with failure. Coming from high school and being able to succeed throughout all season. That was the biggest difference," he said.

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: Nebraska Cornhuskers

NOTE: The MU-NU series is scheduled as a Thursday-Friday-Saturday series.

■ Records and Rankings (BoydsWorld.com)
  • Record: MU 23-28 (10-13); NU 28-24 (7-16)
  • RPI: MU 72nd; NU 58th
  • ISR: MU 104th; NU 74th
  • Strength of Schedule: MU 37th; NU 48th
A five-year snapshot of Nebraska baseball (Big Red Today)
But set aside the dramatic final weekend for a minute. Look, instead, at where Husker baseball stands over the last five years of Big 12 play. This is neither a random, small snapshot nor a three-year look that some would call unfair because it only captures head coach Mike Anderson’s three worst seasons. This five-year measurement encompasses more than an entire recruiting class, and gives each Big 12 program ample time to right the ship.

Big 12 records since 2007:
[Trrip note: I've adjusted the numbers from the article to include this past weekend's results]

Texas 93-38-1
Texas A&M 81-52-1
Missouri 72-61
Oklahoma 65-62-1
Oklahoma State 65-66
Kansas State 58-69-1
Baylor 58-74
Nebraska 56-77-1
Kansas 53-77-1
Texas Tech 53-81

The Huskers are No. 8 in the league. Just barely qualifying for the five-year Big 12 Tournament. Nearly 40 games behind old nemesis Texas. More than 20 behind A&M. That’s how much the gap has widened.
. . .
What also jumps out about the list is that, after the Longhorns and Aggies, no league team has exactly distinguished itself as consistent. In fact, all eight of the remaining teams have at least two losing conference records in the last five years. Tech and Baylor haven’t had a winning Big 12 season at all.
An interesting scenario for NU baseball (Husker Extra)
Contrary to information from a story in the LJS this morning, so long as Kansas and Kansas State play all three games of their series this weekend, NU will not need any outside help in its 11th-hour attempt to qualify for the eight-team Big 12 Tournament.

A sweep by Nebraska would do the trick, because it would leave the Huskers ahead of Missouri and either Kansas or Kansas State. NU and the Wildcats could finish in a tie, but Nebraska owns the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The funny thing about this setup is that NU's only two Big 12 sweeps of the last three years occurred in the final series of 2009 and 2010 -- both of which the Huskers entered with no shot of making the tournament
Now that any loss means elimination, nerves come into the equation. What's more, you treat more situations unconventionally because you have to go for broke. Good luck succeeding under that kind of pressure.

For the record, there have been 10 three-game sweeps in the Big 12 this season. Missouri has been on the wrong end of two of those, but the Tigers also come to Lincoln having won four straight series to face a team coming off an 0-3 showing at Texas A&M.

Is there even one soul among you who truly believes Nebraska will pull this off?
Sweep hurts NU's post-season chances (Big Red Today)
A sweep by Texas A&M means Nebraska needs a sweep of its own and some help from other teams to get a shot at qualifying for the Big 12 baseball tournament.

The No. 11 Aggies completed the three-game sweep with Sunday's 5-1 win, leaving the Huskers one game behind ninth-place Kansas in the standings with the top eight teams making the tournament.

The Huskers (28-24, 7-16) will begin the final conference series of the season by hosting sixth-place Missouri (23-28, 10-13) on Thursday night.

If the Huskers sweep the Tigers (23-28, 10-13), they would reach the conference tournament, an NU official said Sunday night. Kansas, Texas Tech (31-22, 10-14), and Kansas State (31-20, 9-14) also are fighting to make the tournament.
Is NU skipper Mike Anderson still Tom Osborne's man? (Husker Extra)
Results this weekend and next will determine whether Nebraska's baseball team qualifies for the Big 12 Tournament for the first time in three seasons, so Tom Osborne understands why you'd ask.

For now, the NU athletic director isn't saying if he intends to honor the final year of Mike Anderson's contract as Husker baseball coach.

"We've got two fairly big series left," said Osborne, noting this weekend's at league-leading Texas A&M and next weekend's against Missouri in Haymarket Park.

But if you listen closely to Osborne -- who's been a big supporter of a coach who's won two of Nebraska's three conference championships in baseball since 1951 and is the only one to steer an NU club to victory at the College World Series -- you could see him opting to go into the Big Ten next year with the same guy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes

Mizzou baseball seniors make future plans (KOMU)
Bueller: "If it comes this summer and I happen to maybe get picked up that'd be awesome, that's what I plan to do but if not I still haven't made my decision if I'm going to play somewhere else or go on with life and take my degree and continue with life and try to be successful."

Schmidt: "Hopefully I get drafted and continue to play baseball but if that doesn't work out I am really not sure what I'll do. I have another semester here so I might go punt for the football team but it just depends on the draft."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

Fresno's Mathis unhittable for six (milb.com)
The feeling wasn't there, but the results were. And for grizzled veteran and Grizzlies starter Doug Mathis, that's all that mattered.

Mathis battled through command issues to twirl six no-hit innings Monday, though Triple-A Fresno lost its grasp on a 3-0 lead and eventually fell in 14 innings, 5-4, to the host Memphis Redbirds.

"Any time you play extra innings and lose," Mathis said, "it's tough."

Even more so when the starter doesn't allow a single hit two-thirds of the way through what was supposed to be a nine-inning game. Mathis retired the first 13 batters he faced Monday before Matt Carpenter reached on first baseman Brett Pill's fielding error. Mathis also plunked a batter in the fifth and walked one in the sixth.

"It was kind of weird. I was struggling to get ahead of guys," the 27-year-old right-hander said, "but I made a pitch when I had to."

Mizzou Baseball Recruits

Is Brett Thomas still going to Mizzou? (semoball.com)
No his scholarship has not been revoked, alot of rumors have been running around that he got a DWI or a DUI and that is FALSE, no off the field issues. I guess some people get mad and or jealous that the kid works hard and makes good grades and still is a good athlete. He still has his scholarship to Mizzou. (posted by Thomas' HS baseball coach)