Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 9 MU Baseball Stories of 2011: The Long Season

9. Jamieson leads USA National Team
Tim Jamieson spent his summer as the head coach of the USA Baseball Collegiate USA National Team, but he wasn't the only Tiger on that team.  Dan Pietroburgo gained some valuable experience as an assistant coach with the team.  And Eric Anderson got a lot of attention by leading the pitching staff with a 2-0 record and 0.00 ERA . . . as an alternate substitute.
8. Tigers sign 10 to National Letters of Intent
The recruiting class for Fall 2012 features an impressive collection of pitchers and position players.  Many are from the St. Louis area (Recruiting Coordination Kerrick Jackson's home stomping grounds), but others came from places like Texas, Iowa and one promising homeboy from CoMo.
7. Tigers play for Joplin
Mizzou played a two-game fall series against Iowa in October, with all proceeds from tickets and a silent auction going to the Joplin Little League.  
6. Phil McCormick sets records in the bullpen
Phil McCormick, who saved his career by re-inventing himself as a submariner, piled up 36 appearances in 2011, tying his own single season record; totaled 72 appearances over 2 seasons, 2010-11, a Mizzou record for appearances in consecutive seasons; and he finished his career with 105 total appearances, good for 3rd all time for Mizzou.  Good enough to grab the attention of the scouts and get himself drafted in June.
5. Jonah Schmidt leads the offense
After three seasons as an all-or-nothing swing-for-the-fences designated hitter, Jonah responded to the challenge of the new "dead" bats (see # 3) in 2011 and led the Tigers in batting average, runs, hits, doubles, RBI, total bases and slugging percentage.   He even earned a shout out on Vox Magazine's 30 under 30.
4. Eric Anderson leads pitching staff
After being limited in his freshman year by injuring, EA began the season as a first baseman, then slowly eased his way back into the pitching rotation, growing in strength and effectiveness to the point of becoming a dominant pitcher in the Big 12.
3. BBCOR Bats
The big story all year long for all of NCAA Baseball was the introduction of the BBCOR bats, which contributed to a significant drop in power numbers throughout Division I.   For better or worse, the college game shifted more toward "small ball", and some teams - including the Tigers - appeared slow to adapt to the difference.  And as many complained during the season, not all the new bats were equal.
2. Tigers fight their way to the Big 12 Championship game
It was a long and difficult season for Tim Jamieson's Tigers in 2011.  But as the season wound down, the Tigers revved things up, gong on a tear in the final weeks.  Knowing that winning the Big 12 Tournament championship was their only hope at getting a bid for the NCAA Regionals, they fought their way into the 8-team field.  Then they played with a passion during the tournament,  including three games against the Longhorns.  The rubber match of that MU-UT clash was one for the history books, as senior Kelly Fick pitched the game of his life (and the final game of his career), wearing the same jersey number as the battered Joplin tornado jersey hanging in the dugout.  Unfortunately, the Aggies ended the Tigers' comeback in the title game, and the season was over.
1. Mizzou jumps to the SEC
Without a doubt, the biggest news of 2011 came to a head long after the baseball season was over.  After an intricate slow dance with the Big 12, the Big Ten and the SEC (with the PAC 12 and ACC doing a two-step in the background), Missouri finally announced in November that MU will join the SEC in 2012.  The impact on the Baseball Tigers will be huge.  We've been taking a look at what it will mean to be a part of SEC Baseball in our SEC-Dixienary series.  But first, the Tigers will play their final Big 12 season in the next few months.

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