Thursday, March 31, 2011

MU vs. KU @ Kaufmann Stadium, April 6th

From KCRoyals.com:
  • Fans who purchase a Royals-White Sox game ticket for the 1:10 p.m. game are invited to stay for the Big 12 Conference baseball showdown immediately to follow between the University of Kansas Jayhawks & the University of Missouri Tigers at Kauffman Stadium.

  • INK Student Night: Calling all high school and college students! INK Student Nights are back every Wednesday for the 2011 season and they are better than ever! With a valid high school or college ID students may purchase Rivals Outfield Box or Hy-Vee Infield tickets for just $7 at the Kauffman Stadium Box Office. The Happy Hour special includes a hot dog and 12 ounce beer or 24 ounce soft drink for just $7 at the Crown Classic Concession Area in the Outfield Experience. Bring your friends and enjoy live local entertainment prior to every Wednesday home game on the Outfield Experience stage. April 6th features Sons of Great Dane, starting at 11:30 AM.

  • Tickets will also be available at the Kaufmann box office for the KU-MU game only.

■ Another great reason to take the day off and take in this double-header: Former Tiger Aaron Crow will be in the bullpen for the Royals game vs. the White Sox.

Rookie Crow feels comfortable among young relief corps (royalsblog.com)

And a few feet away, Aaron Crow walked toward his locker, the one with the Justin Bieber book bag, and took a moment to relax.

He was just more than 24 hours away from his first opening day in a major-league uniform — his first major-league opening day ever, for that matter — and all of this means he’ll be sure to keep the Bieber backpack stocked with sunflower seeds and sports drinks.

“I got lucky and got the Justin Bieber,” said Crow, the Royals’ 24-year-old rookie right-hander.

Mizzou Baseball: Quality Win


■ The very definition of a Quality Win:

MU's RPI ranking yesterday morning:
146th
MU's RPI ranking this morning:
94th
http://boydsworld.com

Another extra-inning win for MU baseball team (columbiamissourian.com)
Conner Mach's single in the top of the 11th inning was the winning hit in the Missouri baseball team's 3-2 victory over Texas State on Wednesday night in San Marcos, Texas. It was the Tigers' second straight extra-inning victory.
Tigers beat Texas State 3-2 in extra innings (KOMU.com)
Senior pitcher Kelly Fick earned the win for the Tigers as he threw the final two innings of the game, allowing just two hits. He was one of eight pitchers used by the Tigers in the win.

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors: 3 for 2011

The beginning of the MLB season is upon us and a trio of former Missouri Tigers begin the season on the roster of major league teams - although possibly not the trio that was expected.

Ian Kinsler and Max Scherzer were completely expected - established major leaguers who are expected to be leaders on their teams in 2011.

Another pair of ex-Tigers - Doug Mathis and Justin James -spent time with their major league teams in 2010, were traded to other organizations in the off-season, were both among the last pitchers to be sent down to Triple-A ball. Mathis requested his release from the Indians and received it, hoping to catch on elsewhere. James is in AA to start the season, but given his history, no one should discount the possibility that he will return to the majors at some point this season.

Other Tigers had hoped to earn a spot with the parent team in their organizations, but Andrew Johnston and Brock Bond, will find themselves in the minor leagues again to start the year.

The unexpected third Mizzou alum to stick in the bigs at the start of the season is Aaron Crow. After a very troublesome debut season with the Royals organizations in 2010, a year that saw him travel down the organizational ladder more than up, Crow was lights out in Spring Training and secured a spot for himself in the Kansas City bullpen.

Ian Kinsler, Texas Rangers: Ian and the Rangers hope to make a return trip to the World Series after losing the championship to the Giants in 2010. Kinsler has become a popular player nationally, his jersey being among the top 20 sellers among all MLB.
Projecting the Texas Rangers' opening day lineup (SportDFW.com)
(1) Ian Kinsler, 2B. No question here. Whether its the right decision or not manager Ron Washington announced early in spring training that Kinsler would be the leadoff guy for Texas, returning to the same role he hit .253 at in 2009. Nonetheless, Texas seems confident with their decision and Kinsler has given them reason to in spring training proving he can flatten out his swing while the same time hit for power, a combination he hasn’t had the past two seasons. Will Washington’s decision pay off? There’ll be an easy measuring stick for that: With Elvis Andrus at leadoff in 2010, Texas made the playoffs and went to the World Series. With Kinsler at leadoff in 2009, Texas finished second in the AL West, eight games out of first place.

Max Scherzer, Detroit Tigers: Max has basically been anointed as the #2 starter for the Motor city Tigers (after Justin Verlander) and will be the starting pitcher for the Tigers' home opener
  • Native St. Louisan Scherzer set to take it to the Max for the Tigers (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

    He's found a home in Detroit's rotation, the accountant with the high-dividend fastball and a sidekick for ace Justin Verlander.

    That's what the Tigers think he can be, and Scherzer has gotten there because of how he thinks for himself.

    "Thinking in the way that I do led to my solution," Scherzer said. "I bet you that I'll have to figure out another solution sometime here. There is going to be a time when I struggle, when I need to make an adjustment, when something needs to be fixed, and sometimes it's a matter how fast can you do that? ... That's what helps make me a good major-league pitcher. I can identify those corrections. It works for me."

Aaron Crow, Kansas City Royals: Aaron made the cut in the last week of Spring Training, and after a long road filled with many detours, he finally has made a "fast" ascent to the Show.
Crow gets call for Royals (Topeka Capital-Journal)

“I’ve been a Royals fan my whole life,” Crow said when he signed with Kansas City in 2009 as the No. 12 overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft. “It was a dream of mine to play here. I can’t wait to get it started.”
. . .
Crow makes the roster after a lackluster 2010 season in the minors. The former Big 12 pitcher of the year for the Missouri Tigers was 7-7 with a 5.66 ERA in 22 starts for the Double-A Northwest Arkansas Naturals last season. He then was demoted to the Royals High-A Wilmington Blue Rocks, where he was 2-3 with a 5.93 ERA in seven starts.

However, Crow may have found a home in the bullpen.

Armed with a fastball in the mid-90s and a strong slider, Crow boasted a 2.03 ERA in nine relief appearances this spring. He struck out 11 batters in 13.1 innings and limited hitters to a .216 average. He pitched a perfect seventh inning in Tuesday’s win against the White Sox.

Still, the Royals may look to make Crow a starter in the future.

“I would never abandon the thought of making him a starter somewhere down the road because his stuff is pretty dynamic,” Royals manager Ned Yost told MLB.com. “We’ll start with him in the ‘pen, have some success and go from there.”

Crow joined the Royals organization in 2009 after opting to not sign with the Washington Nationals the year before, despite being the No. 9 pick in the draft.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Gameday: Texas State Bobcats

■ The Texas State Bobcats have been having a great year . . . on the weekends. 15-2 on the weekends (losses to Missouri State and Lamar) and 1-4 mid-week. To be fair, their mid-week schedule has been pretty tough: a 1-1 split with Baylor, plus losses to Rice, Texas and TCU. they have not played more than 1 mid-week game per week as yet in 2011, and this week is no different, with MU being their only game.
As of Tuesday, 3/29, Texas State is ranked 14th in RPI and 13th in ISR with the 33rd-ranked Strength of Schedule, according to BoydsWorld.com
Lamar hands State first SLC loss (San Marcos Record, March 27)
Texas State was dealt its first conference defeat of the season on Saturday afternoon as the Lamar came back from one-run deficit in the seventh inning to take a 7-6 victory over the Bobcats at Vincent-Beck Stadium.

Texas State, which began the Southland Conference season with seven consecutive wins, fell to 7-1 in conference play and 6-6 overall, while the Cardinals improved to 17-9 overall and 6-2 in the SLC.
State upends Houston twice (San Marcos Record)
“So what? Next pitch,” aren’t just four words printed on a white sheet of paper posted in Texas State’s dugout.

It’s a way of life for the Bobcats.

Texas State didn’t worry when it was down 11 runs with six outs remaining against the University of Houston. The Bobcats fought.

Then, with one swing of Casey Kalenkosky’s bat, Texas State helped everyone forget about a dismal performance by its pitching staff. Kalenkosky’s three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth propelled the Bobcats to a 17-15 victory Saturday afternoon.
Texas State (collegebaseballtoday.com)
Bobcats score 13 runs in the 8th and 9th innings combined to pull off what Ralph Wiggum would call “unpossible!”

Houston led TSU by a comfy 15-4 margin going into the bottom of the 8th inning. Seven hits and eight runs later, the Bobcats had pulled to within 15-12 (thanks to a three-run bomb by Casey Kalenkosky). Then, after a scoreless Cougar 9th frame, the Bobcats kept the race track hot, scoring five more runs in the bottom of the 9th to hand Houston a crushing defeat. Oh, and before I forget, Kalenkosky provided another three-run dinger to put the game on ice in jog-off fashion.
Bobcats score thrilling sweep at Houston (San Marcos Local News, March 14)
The Bobcats won three thrillers, one by dominant starting pitching and the next two by walk-off homers. The Bobcats won 2-1 last Friday, 17-15 on Saturday and 11-10 on Sunday.

Texas State starter Carson Smith shut down Houston in the opener, striking out 10 in seven innings. Tyler Sibley hit a two-run inside-the-park homer to account for both Texas State runs.

The proceedings on Saturday were a bit less restrained, as the two teams combined for 45 hits. More important, the Bobcats turned a hopeless situation into victory, trailing 15-4 when they went to bat in the eighth and rallying to win the game.

State rolls Baylor in Waco (San Marcos Daily Record, March 2)
Good hitting, strong pitching and stingy defense.

Texas State displayed all three of the winning fundamentals Tuesday night in a 13-2 win over No. 16 Baylor at Baylor Ballpark.

The Bobcats racked up 16 hits, limited the Bears to only two runs on six hits and played solid defense in the infield, scoring their fourth consecutive win and first against a ranked foe this season.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mizzou Baseball in the MAJORS: Aaron Crow, Kansas City Royals

Royals' 25-man roster takes shape (mlb.com)
Pitchers Aaron Crow, Jeremy Jeffress and Kanekoa Texeira went from borderline to the bullpen. . . . Crow, a No. 1 Draft pick in 2009, has been especially impressive with his fastball and slider. "I would never abandon the thought of making him a starter somewhere down the road because his stuff is pretty dynamic," Yost said. "We'll start with him in the 'pen, have some success and go from there."
■ Get your tickets now: July 7-10 @ Kauffman Stadium - Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals. Your chance to see Max Scherzer and Aaron Crow on the same field again, just before the All-Star break.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors

■ Right-hander Doug Mathis, who was reassigned last week [by the Cleveland Indians], was granted his release when he asked for it.

MU-UI @ Busch called off

From @MUTigersBaseball on Twitter:
Today's game at Busch vs. @IlliniBaseball has been postponed due to inclement weather. No immediate make-up date scheduled. #bragginrights

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: vs. Illini @ Busch

■ Rankings (3/28)
■ Illinois was to have played a 3-game set this past weekend against Indiana State, but the final 2 games were cancelled due to the weather.

Reserve delivers for baseball team (illinihq.com)
Pat Sheehan didn't necessarily have to come back for one final season of college baseball.

After seeing action in four games last season as a walk-on newcomer at Illinois, the fifth-year senior didn't figure to get off the bench much again in 2011.

But the Springfield native simply couldn't bear to walk away, even if it meant putting in all that time and work with little reward in the form of playing time.

"The game of baseball brought me back," Sheehan said. "The competition, I live for it. I just can't get away from it."

Lindauer named Big 10 Co-Freshman of the Week (fightingillini.com)
University of Illinois freshman second baseman Thomas Lindauer was named Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week, the conference office announced Monday. Lindauer went 3-for-7 (.429) with two RBIs and three runs in a pair of starts at the end of the Illini's spring trip, lifting the Orange and Blue to victories in both games.

Parr family, big part of Illini family (illinoishomepage.net)
Illini junior short stop, Josh Parr, will be a key factor in the team's efforts this season. His younger brother will be too. Sophomore Justin Parr joins the Illini and his older brother after a season across town at Parkland College. There's still a Parr on Parkland's roster though. And in a year there will a third Parr on Illinois' roster. - VIDEO

Monday, March 28, 2011

OU finds a worthy opponent

Bats come alive for 7th ranked OU baseball team! (OU Insider)
The No. 7 Oklahoma baseball team got back to its winning ways with 22 base hits en route to a 21-3 over St. Gregory’s on Sunday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.

The win upped OU’s overall mark to 19-6 while the Cavaliers fell to 8-25.

Sunday’s game was scheduled to make up for the contest cancelled at Missouri on Saturday due to wintry weather conditions in Columbia, Mo. The Sooners split a doubleheader on Friday at Missouri, including a 2-1 loss in 11 innings.

“We played well, it was a hard day to score runs,” said OU Head Coach Sunny Golloway said about Friday’s doubleheader at Missouri in 30-degree temperatures. “We had some reasons for wanting to play today. Burch (Smith) needed to pitch ... he needed to get his pitch count up close to 100.

“We needed to work on some things that we need to get better at fundamentally, offensively ... drag, push, sac, and get more guys in scoring position and give ourselves more opportunities to score because we have really struggled lately.”

Oklahoma offense blasts St. Gregory's at home (OKBlitz.com)
After scoring seven total runs in their three previous games, the Oklahoma Sooners’ offense got back on track Sunday with a 21-3 win over the St. Gregory’s Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers (8-25) struck first; with a two-RBI single to center field to score Jacob Douglass and Trevor Nelson to take a 2-0 lead.

However, the Oklahoma offense got going in the bottom of the third.

St. Gregory's University (wikipedia.org)
The University's sports teams are known as the Cavaliers and compete in the Sooner Athletic Conference of the NAIA. SGU fields men's teams in baseball, basketball and soccer, and women's teams in basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors & Majors

Report: Crow to debut in Kansas City (supermizzou.com)
Although the Royals' 25-man roster won't be official for another day or two, multiple online sources close to pitching prospect Aaron Crow are reporting the young right-hander has been informed he will begin the 2011 season in Kansas City.
Sunday Brewers spring training camp report (jsonline.com)
Right-handed relievers Justin James and Mike McClendon were optioned to Class AAA Nashville, leaving 35 players in camp.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Simmons Field e-mail

A few odds and ends from my e-mail in-box:

■ A note from a former Mizzou student and vocal heckler, telling me about the launch this past week of a new Mizzou Tigers message board. Check it out at http://www.shaggytruman.com. Beware: This is not yo' mama's message board.

■ A reply to a question came from former Section B fan (and only occasional umpire-heckler) Steve Tingler:
Jayce (Tingler) is still with the Rangers but moving more into player development and personnel. . . He has been promoted to Director of Instruction for the Dominican and AZ Leagues. Not quite sure what all that entails but he will be working with the players and the coaches.
■ The latest issue of the Informed Athlete Newsletter arrive in my e-mail in-box this weekend (subscribe HERE)
A coach cannot take away an athletic scholarship during the academic year except for very specific reasons, such as the athlete becoming ineligible or if the athlete voluntarily quits the team.

■ And finally, a Nigerian prince wants me to send him the contents of my underwear drawer for the support of victims of the Japanese earthquake.

Well, anyway, feel free to e-mail me at simmonsfield@hotmail.com

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors & Majors

Indians make roster reduction (indians.com)
The Cleveland Indians today announced the club has reduced the spring training roster by five (5) players.

Today, the Indians optioned LHP DAVID HUFF, RHP JEANMAR GOMEZ and OF EZEQUIEL CARRERA to AAA Columbus and re-assigned RHP ANTHONY REYES and RHP DOUG MATHIS to minor league camp.

Mizzou Baseball cancelled


The remainder of the series against OU has now been cancelled, per mutigers.com

Mizzou Baseball to play: TODAY?

From Hunter Mense on Twitter: The Tiges are gonna play in legit weather today! Snow and 26 degree windchill...this is why I love the MW.

No word yet on mutigers.com. Possible game time 2:00.

Snow is starting to fall in earnest in Columbia.

Mizzou Baseball Snow Day

■ From CrimsonandCreamMachine.com:
  • "I don't know when I've ever seen and ENTIRE team go into a slump at the same time"

Missouri opens Big 12 with split (Columbia Tribune)
On a day the Missouri baseball team played timidly, Schmidt’s mad dash around the bases set up Eric Garcia’s game-winning single in the bottom of the 11th inning as the Tigers defeated ninth-ranked Oklahoma 2-1 in the nightcap of a Big 12 doubleheader last night on Simmons Field.

Missouri baseball splits double header with Oklahoma (Columbia Missourian)
Matt Stites pitched six and two-thirds innings to start the second game, allowing one earned run and striking out five batters. Phil McCormick relieved Stites, pitching four and one-third innings allowing one hit.

CBD Quick Hits for March 25th (collegebaseballdaily.com)
•The Longhorns have won all four of their Big 12 games so far, and averaged 12 innings per contest, with only one victory, a 3-0 win over Kansas State, being decided by multiple runs. As for the Wildcats, Kansas State fell to 0-4 in league play, losing the last three in walk off fashion.

•The Big 12 played six games today, and all but one came down to the final inning. Three games were decided in extra innings, while Baylor used a walk off single in the ninth to beat Kansas State. Missouri left the bases loaded in the ninth in a 3-1 loss to Oklahoma before the second game of the doubleheader went long. The only game that wasn’t close was in Lubbock, where Nebraska built a 15 run lead over Texas Tech before winning 15-5.

Oklahoma Sooners baseball lose six of eight games after undefeated start (examiner.com)
It has not been positive so far. Oklahoma began Big 12 play on March 18 where they lost twice in the three-game series to Texas A&M and have to rebound on Sunday to avoid losing their second Big 12 series of the season, this time to Missouri.
. . .
“It was just a really tough, long day,” said Golloway. “I thought we pitched really well, but we can’t score runs right now. One run in 11 innings is not going to beat many teams and it wasn’t good enough today.”

Friday, March 25, 2011

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.

Listening to the game while sick at home reminded me of an Easter weekend game back in the mid-90s when MU and Okie State traded win-blown homeruns for a long 9 innings, the Tigers winning mostly because they got to hit last. The final score was something like 25-23. It killed me to not be there.

I remember, though, hearing over the radio, in the background behind Tex Little, the clear and loud voice of Larry Wyatt, stirring up the fans and the team.

On this Friday night, it was the other Okies at Simmons Field, but I could still hear Larry yelling over the radio. It's about time, if you ask me. The Superfan (he hates that title) has been a bit subdued so far this season. I'm glad he was there tonight to get his competitive juices flowing.

Sitting at home also afforded me the opportunity to listen to the duo of Tex Little and Hunter Mense describing the game. I chuckled when Tex referred to Kevin Seitzer coming up to bat and later announcing that OU head coach Larry Cochell was heading to the mound. I can almost hear Hunter forcing himself not to laugh whenever he corrects Tex, thus fulfilling the most important task of every color guy who has ever shared the booth with Tex.

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.

Oh, and the Tigers won the 2nd game, 2-1, over the Sooners who were #2 in the nation just a couple of weeks ago. Tiger Baseball fans will remember this weekend not just for the absurdity of yet another snowstorm this winter (excuse me, it's SPRING!), but for the way this team battled the weather, battled their fears and battled the Sooners for 20 innings and came away with a win that will surely be a pivotal point of the 2011 season.

There's no game Saturday, due to the impending 30-inch blizzard. But the Tigers and "Broken Schooners" (Larry's pet name for OU) will be back at it on Sunday, in a game scheduled to be broadcast on the Mizzou Sports Network. Chris Gervino and Gene McArtor will have the call of the game on TV.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors & Majors

Indians 8, Royals 7 (espn.com)
Acta was not overjoyed that veteran Doug Mathis, a non-roster invitee, walked four in two scoreless innings.

"When (relievers) come in, the game is usually on the line and whether (walks) come around or not, you can't pitch like that," Acta said.

Mathis is battling four other right-handers for three bullpen spots. Justin Germano, Frank Herrmann and rookie Vinnie Pestano appear leading the race. Jess Todd has a 1.35 ERA and is in the mix with less than a week to go.
Max Scherzer: Why the young Detroit Tigers hurler will become a 2011 All-Star (bleacherreport.com)
He's also extremely intelligent (a 35 on his ACT?!? He should have pitched for Harvard, not Missouri) and uses statistical analysis to his advantage.

Based on the theory that he can't control the percentage of fly balls that are hit for home runs, he started attacking the bottom of the strike zone to limit the number of fly balls that are hit off of him.

His starts this spring have shown he's inducing more ground balls and this statistical approach shows he's a smart pitcher who's always trying to improve himself.
Rangers get three on most popular jersey list (nbcdfw.net)
At No. 7 was AL MVP Josh Hamilton while 2B Ian Kinsler made the list at No. 17.

Topping the list is, not surprisingly, Derek Jeter. Former Rangers Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, both now with the Yankees, also made the list.

MU-OU Schedule change

Given the presence of such perfect baseball weather today, the powers-that-be have decided to play TWO games today. Game 1 at 4:00 PM.
The Mizzou baseball team has changed the schedule for this weekend's Big
12-opening series with Oklahoma due to inclement weather forecasted for
Saturday. The Tigers and Sooners will now play two games tonight (March 25),
beginning at 4:00 p.m. Should the Tigers and Sooners be able to play two games
tonight, there will be no game on Saturday. Sunday's series finale is still
slated to be played at 1 p.m. (mutigers.com)

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: OU

Baseball team seeks to end recent slide against Missouri (OUDaily.com)
This weekend will be a crucial series for the Sooners as they look to get over .500 in conference play.

Missouri is 11-11 and has yet to play in-conference this season. The Tigers have yet to play a top-25 team this season.

OU senior righty Michael Rocha will start the series Friday. In five starts this season, he has five wins with a 0.93 ERA. In his last start against Texas A&M, Rocha struck out 13 in a shutout victory.

OU and OSU's Big 12-opening sries losses cause for concern but not panic (NewsOK.com)
OU returned the bulk of its CWS squad, so the talent is there. But what about the focus and the drive? The biggest challenge for Sooners coach Sunny Golloway may be combating complacency.

“We are not a good baseball team right now,” Golloway said after the series-clinching loss to the Aggies. “We have a lot of work to do. The good thing is we have time to practice to get better.

“It comes down to if we can get the players’ attention.”

MU Baseball team hits another setback (Columbia Tribune)
Though painful, yesterday’s loss was an anomaly. The Tigers had been playing a much sounder game over the past few weeks, having won seven of their last nine, including a six-game win streak (7.2 runs per game) that got them back to the .500 mark.

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: Oklahoma Sooners

■ Rankings (3/24):
RPI (Boydsworld.com): MU 172nd; OU 34th
ISR (Boydsworld.com): MU 166th; OU 37th
Strength of Schedule (Boydsworld.com): MU 190th; OU 185th

■ The Sooners started their season going 16-0, but they ride into Taylor Stadium having lost 5 of their last 6 games

Going into their series with Arkansas-Little Rock on March 11, the Sooners team stats:
.383 BA, 189 H, 152 R, 17 HR, 2.76 ERA
Coming into the series with Mizzou, just 2 weeks later, the stats:
.337 BA, 241 H, 173 R, 19 HR, 3.32 ERA

That's a drop of 3.2 hits per game, 6 less runs per game, only 2 HRs in 6 games rather than more than 1 HR per game previously

Sooners' current team stats

Oklahoma tumbles, Texas A&M rises (sbnation.com)
The Collegiate Baseball Newspaper ranked the Oklahoma Sooners 10th in their college baseball rankings a week after placing them second
. . .
They're 8-2 since then, although they haven't yet played a conference game; their 11-9 overall record has them ninth in the conference. Missouri begins their conference schedule against Oklahoma on March 25 at Taylor Stadium. After that they'll play three games against Texas, currently tops in the Big 12 with a 3-0 record.
Sooner baseball drops conference-opening series to Texas A&M (The Oklahoma Daily)
After a pitcher’s duel and a blowout, Sunday’s rubber game between the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners and the No. 11 Texas A&M Aggies was a close one.

However, the Aggies edged the Sooners, 5-2, to drop their conference-opening series and lose for the fifth time in their last six games.

Although the Sooners were previously leading the Big 12 in a number of offensive categories, they scored just 10 runs in the last six games.

Calvin Drinnen, pitcher Arkansas-Little Rock Two-hits Oklahoma in a 7-0 upset (collegebaseballtoday.com, March 14)

You knew the streak would come to an end sometime. It’s a little surprising that OU would lose to Little Rock. It’s shocking that a Sunday pitcher for the Trojans would hold THIS offense to two stinkin’ hits. Wow. Drinnen struck out six, walked three and threw a complete game. It was UA-LR’s first win over a No. 1 team since beating No. 1 Oklahoma in 1987.
Undefeated Oklahoma focuses on big picture, ultimate prize (ninacasper563.livejournal.com)
Oklahoma baseball coach Sunny Golloway has a three-part mantra he preaches to his players: be mentally tough, live in the moment and get better every day. Three weeks into the season, the Sooners are following those guidelines perfectly.
. . .

CollegeBaseballToday.com, March 6th:
As Oklahoma SID Craig Moran wrote in the game story headline, the Sooners made history today. With the 5-3 win over No. 14 Cal, the Big Red improved to 13-0 for the first time ever to start a season. Yes, that includes the Enos Semore and the Larry Cochell years in Norman too. Bravo boys. Bravo.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 Mizzou Baseball Recruits

Here is an updated list of Mizzou Recruits for the incoming class of 2011-12

Kyle Barbeck, LHP; 6-1; 191 lb; L/L Northeast Texas Community College ('11); Ole Miss ('09,'10); Blue Springs HS (MO) - Former prep teammate of Nick Tepesch

Jake Busiek LHP; 6-2 180 R-L Lafayette Eureka MO

Justin Byrd, C; 6-1;' 205 lb; R-R Arapahoe High School, Denver, CO; California-Berkeley (09-10) Green River Community College (2011)

Jeff Cline, RHP; 6-3 195 R-R Maple Woods CC

Brett Graves RHP; 6-1 170 R-R Francis Howell St. Charles MO

D'Andre Heggie 3B; 6-0 195 R-R Blue Springs South Blue Springs MO

Tyler House RHP; 6-5 205 lb L-L; Rich Central HS, Olympia Fields IL

Jake Ivory C/OF; 6-1 160 R-R Francis Howell HS St Louis MO

John Miles RHP; 6-3 210 R-R; Rock Bridge HS, Columbia MO

Nick Moore IF; 6-0 170 R-R; Benet Academy HS, Lisle, IL

Brandon Platts RHP; 6-4 210 R-R Mason City Mason City IA

Patrick Quintanilla, C; 6-2 180 R-R Southlake Carroll HS (Dallas-FW area)

• Jeff Soptic,
RHP; 6-6 220 R-R Johnson County Community College

Gavin Stark, 1B; 6-4 220 L/L Fort Scott Community College

Brett Thomas, RHP/SS; 6-2 190 R-R Oak Ridge HS, Oak Ridge, MO


There may be others who have signed or verbally committed to Missouri. If you have information about MU Recruits, send me an e-mail at simmonsfield@hotmail.com

Highlight of the Bears' Season

Bears overpower Missouri, 9-3, in baseball (The Log Cabin Democrat)
The win was the first ever for the Bears (10-12) over a Big 12 opponent and also UCA’s first road victory of the season.
Missouri baseball team failed to overcome first inning errors (Columbia Missourian)
The Tigers struggled to get anything started at the plate, and as the innings passed, the tension built. This is Central Arkansas, they thought. This shouldn't be that hard.
Schmidt produces in second spot for Tigers (Columbia Tribune Tiger Extra)
“You learn how to do it and learn how to change your approach a little bit: Move guys over instead of driving them in,” Schmidt said of hitting second. “I’m more of a move-guys-over guy, and I really enjoy it.”

His new approach is helping Missouri get off to some fast starts. The Tigers are outscoring opponents by 20 runs over the first three innings, including a 20-10 advantage in the first inning.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Big 12 Telecast Schedule

■ Big12Sports.com has a listing of the Big 12 Baseball telecast schedule. There are 4 MU games on the schedule, including one of the MU-OU games this weekend. Availability will vary, of course, depending on your location.

Mizzou Baseball Game Day

Missouri Baseball team continues winning ways against Central Arkansas (kctv5.com)
“I was a little rusty,” Anderson said. “The first two pitches, I got up there and I tried to be someone I’m not. My location and my spotting up weren’t really there for me.”

Anderson’s outing didn’t go quite as well as planned. He was pulled after giving up six hits and three earned runs in only two innings. Luckily for Anderson, the Tigers’ bats were out in full force as they defeated the Central Arkansas Bears, 11-4. It was Mizzou’s seventh win in their last eight games. Senior Jonah Schmidt was the catalyst for the Tigers, scoring three runs off of three hits.

Baseball tops Central Arkansas (KOMU - video included)
The Tigers got on the board in the second inning as the first five batters in the frame reached base safely, due in large part to three straight walks by UCA starter Dustin Ward. That made way for Scott Sommerfeld, who laced a bases-loaded single up the middle, driving in two runs and putting the Tigers on top, 2-1. Jesse Santo then singled to drive in another run while Jonah Schmidt and Conner Mach also drove in runs with singles in the inning. Santo also scored on a wild pitch to round out the six-run frame for the Tigers.

Early scoring binge bolsters Missouri Baesball team against Central Arkansas (columbiamissourian.com)
"Scoring first allows your pitcher to relax a little bit, but you need to continue to score," Jamieson said. "That's what we did tonight."

Missouri didn't technically score first. Central Arkansas picked up one in the first inning. But the runs came often enough to make it seem that way. The Tigers added another run in the fifth and four more in the sixth.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors & Majors

Rangers Minor League Notes (scout.com -- subscription only)
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans earned a victory on Saturday behind six total scoreless innings from Joe Wieland and Nick Tepesch. The offense was powered by Josh Richmond's two-homer day. Lone Star Dugout has notes and observations from the High-A contest.
Former Tigers face uphill battle on road to MLB (The Maneater)
Doug Mathis hopes to cement his place in the Majors this year.
"I’ve been kind of up and down the last few years, so I want to just stick this year and kind of be a regular big league player,” he said.
. . .
Justin James, who was signed by the Brewers this offseason, is also in a very similar situation. He has spent the past seven seasons in the minor leagues after being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2003, and like Mathis, is trying to make the big league roster.

“It’d be great to make the team out of spring training, but I just want to be on a mound pitching somewhere and just see where I can go from there,” James said.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Mizzou Baseball:

Tiger baseball seeing improvements before Big 12 play (The Maneater)
“I think we’re just coming together,” McCormick said. “At first it seemed like two different squads between the pitchers and the hitters, but I think we’ve conglomerated into a much better team. I think we’re starting to hit a roll, and I’m pretty excited about it.”

They’ll need to keep rolling to have success in the Big 12 season, which kicks off Friday night with a home game against Oklahoma. Before the season, the Big 12 Preseason Coaches’ Poll predicted the Tigers to finish dead last in the conference, and Missouri’s players and coaches have taken notice.

Big 12 impact freshmen (collegebaseballdaily.com)
P Rob Zastryzny – Missouri: While Zastryzny isn’t on any league leader lists, his is a name that most people should learn to pronounce (ZAZ-tris-knee). A former teammate of OU’s Jordan John at Calallen High School . . .

Mizzou Baseball Recruits

Mohawks' Platts is first team all central region selection (globegazette.com)
Brandon Platts has been selected to the Rawlings/Perfect Game preseason central region all-American first team.

The Mason City senior right-handed pitcher who has signed to play at the University of Missouri is one of 25 pitchers named to the central region first team.

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: Central Arkansas Bears

■ Finally, Missouri is ranked higher in the RPI and ISRs than their next opponent (just barely). Says something about the improvement in the Tigers over the past 2-3 weeks. Also says something about the Central Arkansas Bears.
■ The Tigers were briefly above .500 on Sunday, for the first time in 2011. After the Chippewas won the final game of the series, MU returned to sea level, with a 10-10 record. With 20 games played, the regular season is already more than one third complete.

■ Word is Eric Anderson will get his first pitching start of 2011 on Tuesday against Central Arkansas.

Cardinal offense explodes in 15-5 win over UCA (KDFM.com)
Junior outfielder Kevin Roebuck drove in a career-high seven runs on Sunday at Bear Stadium as Lamar University was able to knock off Central Arkansas 15-5 in Southland Conference baseball action.


High scoring game gets away from Creighton baseball (gocreighton.com)
In a high scoring game in Conway, the Creighton baseball team again couldn't manage to pull one out, losing 8-7 on back to back doubles in the bottom of the ninth inning. Creighton falls to 9-3 on the season while UCA improves to 8-5.
. . .
After a scoreless top half of the inning for the Jays, Central Arkansas was back on the scoring streak again, adding two runs in the bottom of the second. A leadoff single by Zack Dickson, followed by a sacrifice bunt and a fielding error put runners on second and third with one out. A two out double by Houston knocked in two more runs (his fourth RBI of the day). Koenigstein then forced a ground ball to third base to end the inning.

■ Jason Van Skike tossed a no-hitter for Indiana State on Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader at Central Arkansas. It was the Sycamores' first no-hitter since 1988. It wasn't the prettiest no-no, as Van Skike struggled with his control while allowing eight walks and hitting a batter while the Bears stranded runners on second and third each of the last two innings. (espn.com, March 9, 2011)
After long road, Missouri's Lusardi playing for Tigers (KCTV5)
On Feb. 20, in the ninth inning of a game his team was trailing 11-3, a red-shirt sophomore came to the plate for Missouri as a pinch hitter. He struck out on five pitches and the game ended a few batters later.

This at-bat might seem insignificant, but to that red-shirt sophomore, Jeff Lusardi, it culminated a long trip to college baseball playing time that was finally beginning nearly three years after graduating high school.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Here's the scoop

While the Trib hides their occasional baseball stories behind a pay wall, The Missourian and the Maneater have stepped up to tell the stories of the season. Here's two from the Missourian. Yes, 2 MU Baseball features in 1 weekend.

Missouri baseball focuses on mental games as team wins second straight series (Columbia Missourian)
"You're used to using a certain type of bat ever since you were little, one with the same kind of pop," Ampleman said. "Balls that were going out last year aren't going out. They're not even close. To be mentally strong and figure out what you need to do to get on base... that's been huge for us."
. . .

"It's important to come out to the ballpark every day and do something that makes you happy," Ampleman said. "Something as little as playing catch with your best friend on the team or hitting off a tee for ten minutes before practice. Something that no matter what else is going on behind you, it makes you proud."
Sophomore splitting time between roles for Missouri baseball team (Columbia Missourian)
But Anderson will get his shot at redemption Tuesday when he gets his first start pitching against Central Arkansas.

"This is the most excited I've ever been for a start," Anderson said. "All the hard work that's been done up to this point, I finally get to let loose and get after it a little bit."

Mizzou baseball wins 3 of 4-game series series against Central Michigan (KBIA Sports Extra)
No Mizzou player had more than one hit in the second Sunday game up against Chippewa pitchers Zach Cooper and Dietrich Enns. Ryan Ampleman scored on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning, the sole pockmark on Cooper’s record, who started his fourth game of the year.

Meanwhile, Mizzou played five of its worst arms statistically.


Trrip Note: Several good photographs with that last link

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Rain reschedules MU-CMU


Game 2 of the scheduled double header has been postponed due to rain. The two teams will play a double header tomorrow on Sunday, with Game 1 scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM. The Tigers beat the CMU Chippewas 14-7 in Saturday's Game 1.

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes: Former & Future Tigers

Will Aaron Crow start the season in KC?

Analyzing the roster with 13 days remaining until opening day (royalsblog.kansascity.com)
Aaron Crow: Another solid spring: 2.25 ERA in eight innings

Will one of these recruits have what it takes to be "the next Aaron Crow" at Mizzou?

Francis Howell tops PBR preseason rankings (Prep Baseball Report)
After a disappointing end to 2010, Francis Howell is on a mission to redeem themselves and have one of the best senior classes in Missouri finish on top. Led by seniors Brett Graves (pictured right and committed to Mizzou), Jake Ivory (commited to Mizzou), Case Munson (JeffCo), and Brett Peel (Central MO State), Francis Howell should be in the mix for a Class 4 State title.
. . .
Top returning starters: Seniors: Brett Graves P/SS (Ranked #6 in the PBR Class fo 2011 rankings, 1st Team All State), Jake Ivory CF/P (Ranked #16 in the PBR Class fo 2011 rankings,1st Team All State)

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: In the Groove?

The Tigers seem to be finally getting their act together . . . just in time for the Big 12.

MU's Garcia finds groove (Columbia Tribune)
Going 2 for 24 to start the season — with both hits coming in the same game — Garcia was hitting the ball hard, but he had nothing to show for it. Except maybe a little frustration.
. . .
With his three-hit outing last night, Garcia has collected 11 hits in his last 23 at-bats, raising his average from .083 to .277 over the last seven games.

Missour baseball's Garcia has seen hits fall during home winning streak (Columbia Missourian)
"I love Garcia," said reliever Phil McCormick, who earned the save against Central Michigan. "He's always got a solid approach. What people don't realize is that he had like 10 walks and two strikeouts (on the road)."

Baseball runs in the family for Tigers' Champagne (The Maneater)
25 years ago, the name Brannon Champagne could be found on the roster of the Eugene Emeralds, then the minor league affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Decades before that, another Champagne – Brannon's father – was making noise within the Chicago Cubs organization.

For Missouri sophomore baseball standout Brannon Champagne, the call to America’s Pastime lies in the bloodline.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes: Defense & Offense

Baseball coach Jaska looks for defensive consistency after win (cm-life.com)
The Chippewas had three early errors and four throughout the game. The pitching performance by Sabol kept those errors from being costly, but Jaska said he wasn’t pleased with the amount of opportunities Madonna had.

“We can’t allow teams to have opportunities,” he said. “Sometimes, we put a bow around the ball and gift wrap it a little bit.”

CMU is on its largest winning streak of the early season. It sits at three and, over the weekend, it’ll have a chance to improve it to as many as seven with a four-game road trip against Missouri.

“We are starting to play more as a team,” Sabol said. “Guys are learning the ropes and, hopefully, we can run with this streak a little bit.”

Offensive numbers plummet around SEC, changes to aluminum bats resulting in power outage (therepublic.com)
As a result, across the 12-team Southeastern Conference, almost every offensive category has dropped compared to a year ago.

Some of the numbers:

— Homers have almost dropped in half, with 220 homers (through 197 games) last season compared to just 120 (through 204 games) this spring. Scoring is down as well over the same period — from 8.06 runs per game to just 6.68.

— Batting average has dropped from .313 to .304.

— ERA has dropped from 4.04 to 3.17.

— Conference teams have already combined for 25 shutouts. In 2010, there were only 33 shutouts the entire season.

Hot bats suddenly an issue (presstelegram.com)
In previous years, it wasn't unusual to see most teams average in the .300 range. Well, just look at the numbers for the Southern California 12, from the bottom up, after a month of play:

Pepperdine: .229 average, two home runs.

San Diego: .233, five.

San Diego State: .235, five.

Long Beach State: .244, one.

UCLA: .245, three.

CS Fullerton: .249, one.

USC: .248, three.

UC Santa Barbara: .264, four.

LMU: .283, three.

CS Northridge: .291, nine.

UC Riverside: .309, five.

UC Irvine: .334, four.

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: Central Michigan

■ Current Ratings & Rankings (3/17/2011)
Boyd's World RPI: Mizzou 227th; Central Michigan 91st
Boyd's World ISR: MU 196th; CMU 117th
Warren Nolan RPI: MU 226th; CMU 91st
Boyd's World Strength of Schedule: MU 205th; CMU 26th
• Neither team is ranked in national polls
■ Check out the CMU Baseball Insider weekly video highlights.


Howard picks up CMU's second straight weekly MAC honor (cmuchippewas.com)
Central Michigan sophomore left-hander Trent Howard was named Mid-American Conference West Division Pitcher of the Week on Tuesday, CMU's second-consecutive weekly pitching honor..

Howard threw a two-hit, 10-strikeout shutout against Indiana for a 3-0 CMU victory last week, never allowing a Hoosier to reach second base in the contest. Howard was dominant, facing just two over the minimum, taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning.

It's the second time this season the junior has taken a no-hit bid into at least the fifth inning. It is also the second-consecutive outing he's fanned at least 10 batters.

CMU returns to the diamond this weekend at Missouri for a four-game series, starting on Friday.

Central Michigan 2011 MAC Weekly Honors
Jordan Dean , Feb. 22 (Player)
Dietrich Enns , March 11 (Pitcher)
Trent Howard , March 15 (Pitcher)
CMU Baseball team wins, 2-1 (Midland Daily News)
Central Michigan rallied for three runs in the bottom of the sixth of its home opener Thursday to beat Madonna 3-1 in nonconference baseball.

Two CMU errors led to Madonna's lone run in the first inning, and the score remained 1-0 until the Chippewas' half of the sixth.
CMU Baseball rallies to beat Navy (themorningsun.com)
The Chippewas (7-9) led 4-1 entering the seventh inning, but Navy posted seven runs over its next two at bats to carry in an 8-4 lead into the ninth.

Instead of folding, CMU rallied for five in the top of the ninth as William Arnold had a three-run triple that tied the score at 8-8 and then Robbie Harman drove in Arnold on a sacrifice bunt. Sam Russell started the scoring rally in the inning when he hit a 1-out double that scored Matt Faiman.
Howard pitches two-hitter in CMU win over Indiana (themorningsun.com)
The Central Michigan baseball team improved to 6-8 on the season thanks to a complete-game two-hit shutout from pitcher Trent Howard that carried the Chippewas to a 3-0 win over Indiana on Saturday as part of the Russ Matt Tournament.

The junior left hander struck out 10 Hoosiers on the day while not allowing a single walk.
Baseball enters Russ Matt on 3-game losing streak (cm-life.com)
After opening last weekend’s Bright House Invitational with a come-from-behind, extra innings win over Illinois, the Central Michigan baseball team dropped its final two games of the tournament and have lost three straight.

“We’ve been very competitive,” said head coach Steve Jaksa. “Unfortunately we haven’t been rewarded with a win these last few games, but that’s baseball.”
. . .
Junior starting pitcher Trent Howard pitched well, striking out 11 in seven-plus innings of work but was outdueled by Columbia senior Geoff Whitaker, who kept the Chippewas off-balance and allowed only one run on four hits.

“The final analysis was their guy pitched a little bit better than our guy,” Jaksa said.
CMU Baseball looking for 1 more win in 2011 (themorningsun.com)
Steve Jaksa couldn't have asked for much more from his Central Michigan baseball
team in 2010.

After all, the Chippewas went 36-22 overall and 20-7 in
the Mid-American Conference, winning the regular season conference title.

Still, Jaksa and the Chippewas would have liked just one more win, as
they lost 5-3 to Kent State in the MAC Tournament Championship, falling short of
their goal to make it into the NCAA Tournament.

Making the transition to Mizzou baseball (andrewwagaman.wordpress.com)
Jamieson had asked the reporters after the doubleheader, “You wanna know how many of these guys knew to turn the clocks ahead?” Then he formed a circle with his thumb and forefinger. “Zero.” It was Le Moyne, though, that never really showed up.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mizzou in the Minors & Majors

Jim Callis Chat (Baseball America, March 16)
Jeremy (Washington, DC): What do you make of Aaron Crow's spring? Was last year just an aberration?

Jim Callis: I don't pay much attention to spring stats, but I do think last year was an aberration. Even when he struggled last year, scouts said his stuff was still quite good. With all the pitching depth the Royals have in the minors, maybe Crow winds up in their bullpen, but I still believe he'll be a good big leaguer.
Mathis battling for roster spot (cbssports.com)
Cleveland RP Doug Mathis impressed manager Manny Acta after his performance on Monday against Chicago. Mathis, who signed with the Indians in January, threw two scoreless innings in a game where the wind messed with every pitcher except Mathis. Acta said it was a miracle Mathis didn't give up a run in a game that ended with the score tied at 16. "Doug's value is that he's been a starter and can pitch out of the bullpen," Acta said. "He's battling for one of those spots where guys can throw multiple innings."
Tigers in the professional ranks, Part 2 (mutigers.com)

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes

■ "It's a long season and you gotta trust." (Annie Savoy, Bull Durham)

■ "Doing legal research is like tinkering with new pitches. Always searching for that perfect pitch (or case); never quite finding it. In the end you just roll with what you already have and find a way to get hitters out." (Garrett Broushuis, former Tiger pitcher; @broshuis on twitter)

■ From @ShawnDizzle77 on Twitter:
• The Tiger bullpen has an ERA of 1.72 over the last seven games as it has given up just five earned runs in 26.2 innings of work.

• #Mizzou baseball leads the Big 12 Conference in stolen bases this season with 39. Mizzou was 22-23 in that department last weekend.
2011 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship tickets on sale now

■ A couple of MU Recruits are featured in Missouri high school baseball season set to kick off this weekend (prepbaseballreport.com)
The Missouri high school baseball season kicks off this weekend with a slew of games state wide, highlighted by the 2011 Troy Baseball Classic Tournament. Opening the tournament on Saturday March 19th, Francis Howell, led by the number 6 ranked player in the PBR Class of 2011 Brett Graves and number 16 ranked Class of 2011 player Jake Ivory, square off against Duchesne at 9:00am at Troy HS.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bracketology

Rangers pursue bracketology bragging rights (mlb.com)
Ian Kinsler . . . grew up in Tucson as a University of Arizona fan but played college baseball at the University of Missouri. The Wildcats and the Tigers are both in the West region and could end up facing each other in the Elite Eight.

That could throw Kinsler into a rooting quandary.

"If they meet, I'll root for UA because they're better," Kinsler said. "I'm on the bandwagon. Is that bad?"

Apparently so.

"I didn't go there," Kinsler said. "Maybe I should retract my statement. I'm going to go with Missouri. They're the underdog."

By the way, why didn't Kinsler go to Arizona?

"They didn't recruit me," Kinsler said. "Shows how smart they are."

Trrip Note: As usual I've filled out my bracket based on what I think would happen if that bracket was played by the college baseball teams rather than basketball.

Final Four: North Carolina, Texas, Vanderbilt, St. John's

Winner: Vanderbilt over Texas.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors & Majors

Nicholas learning behind the plate (lonestardugout.com)
Catcher Brett Nicholas is best known for his intriguing offensive skills, but he is also in the process of learning to become an everyday catcher. Lone Star Dugout caught up with the 22-year-old after Thursday's spring training workout. (Scout.com subscription only)
Kyle Gibson, Joe Benson among 14 cuts by Twins (mlb.com)
Among the notable players in the Twins' first round of cuts were 2009 first-round pick and last year's Minor League Pitcher of the Year Kyle Gibson and 2010 Twins Minor League Player of the Year Joe Benson.

Although manager Ron Gardenhire had indicated that he would like to see Gibson, 23, as one of the pitchers competing for the fifth spot in the rotation with Scott Baker and Kevin Slowey, the move to send Gibson to Minor League camp didn't come as a surprise since it was pretty clear all spring that Gibson will be starting the year at Triple-A Rochester. And Gardenhire hinted on Sunday that Gibson would be one of the players in the first round of cuts, so he could start getting stretched out for the start of the season.

■ And lastly, a comment on Tigers in the professional ranks (mutigers.com).
The Mizzou baseball team is busy with its 2011 regular season, but it is also busy tracking the careers of several former players that have seen a lot of success at the major league and minor league levels. Over the next few days, MUTigers.com will look at the former Tigers that are seeing success at both the major league and minor league levels. First, we will start with a look at the Tigers on major league rosters as on Monday, March 14.
The author goes on to report on not only Max Scherzer, Ian Kinsler, Justin James and Doug Mathis - all whom spent time in the Major Leagues in 2010 - but also includes Aaron Crow, Kyle Gibson and Andrew Johnston.

Those last three are in the major league spring training camp for their respective organizations. But Crow and Gibson are almost certainly going to begin the 2011 season in the minor leagues - Gibson at AAA and Crow at either A or Double-A. Gibson has a good shot at being with the Minnesota Twins by the end of the season, but Crow is unlikely to be in Kansas City this season.

Andrew Johnston, however, does seem to be making a case for inclusion in the Colorado Rockies' bullpen. He'll likely be one of the last pitchers to either be included in the active roster or to be sent back to AAA.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Quotes & Notes

■ Tickets for the second Battle at Busch baseball game between Illinois and Missouri, scheduled for March 29, went on sale Friday morning. Tickets for the game, which starts at 6:30 p.m., are all general admission for $10. They can be purchased at the St. Louis Cardinals Battle at Busch page. Missouri won the first game last April, 7-4. Illinois will serve as the home team at this year's game.

Missouri baseball finds confidence against Lemoyne (themaneater.com)
“I started loosening up in the fifth inning after I talked to Phil (McCormick)," Stites said. "He got me going a little bit and I was like, ‘OK, these guys can’t beat me.’ I just felt great out there.”

The trend of great pitching carried into game two of the twin bill as starter Jeff Scardino and reliever Jeff Emens combined to pitch all nine innings with Scardino sacrificing the only two earned runs. Blake Brown led the Tigers offensively with two RBIs to help Missouri enter Sunday’s finale on a winning streak.
Jamieson snags 550th victory as Tigers sweep Lemoyne (themaneater.com)
As the accolades continue to pile up, Jamieson’s focus remains consistent: this year, this team.

“When we get to the end and I’m done, (the record will) mean something to me,” Jamieson said. “Right now, (I’m) just trying to figure out a way to win tomorrow.”

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mizzou Baseball: Battery Life

Catcher Ben Turner emerging as stabilizing presence for Missouri baseball (ColumbiaMissourian.com)
Entering Sunday's game, the Missouri catcher led the baseball team with a .375 batting average and a .516 on-base percentage. Then, in the Tigers' 10-1 victory over Le Moyne on Sunday, he had three hits, two runs and a walk in four at-bats. In the classroom, he has maintained a 3.5 GPA while majoring in biological engineering.

Scouting report: Rob Zastryzny (KBIASportsExtra.com)
Zastrynzy will go through some growing pains in 2011 as his offspeed pitches are still works in progress, but his fastball is ready for the collegiate level. It’s too early to put him in the same realm as Max Scherzer/Aaron Crow/Kyle Gibson/Nick Tepesch—of course, all four of those pitchers were right-handed power pitchers—but Zastryzny certainly appears to have a chance to put together a fine career at Missouri.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Mizzou Baseball: Whatever works

The gloves are coming off early in the pressbox.

Missouri: Play smart and aggresive? (collegebaseballblog.com)
Throw out the baseball textbook with this team. Throw out the rules that say you should not have your third hitter bunting in the first inning. Those rules do not apply to this club. Missouri should be playing that type of exaggerated small ball. A team without many power hitters – or even gap hitters – has to put the pressure on the defense before the pitcher puts pressure on its hitters. A team with only 20 extra base hits in its first 13 games – and only five in its previous six – is forced into that strategy. However, there is something to be said for consistency.

A philosophy this exaggerated can work and absolutely can lead to success, but it needs to be the team’s only identity. Missouri has attempted 29 stolen bases – persistent considering they have only been successful on 18 of them – but that is what the team needs to do to win. They need to continually put pressure on the opposition. They need to keep running and they have.

Missouri baseball wins double header with pitchers in dugout (ColumbiaMissourian.com)
Afterward, some of the pitchers approached Jamieson and asked him if they could continue hanging out there.

"Sure, why not?" Jamieson, who had also noticed the lighter mood, told them. "As long as you don't screw around."

They screwed around just enough to dissolve the stifling feeling of pressure that Jamieson said had been present.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: Double chance for redemption

Mistakes and errors result in home loss for Missouri baseball (ColumbiaMissourian.com)
Even after the crazy series of events in the eighth inning, perhaps the most surprising things to come out of the night were Champagne’s plate appearance statistics. In five plate appearances, Champagne recorded one single and was hit the other four times.

Champagne said taking the hits, two to his upper body and two to his lower body, didn’t really hurt. But he was just as surprised as everyone else when he was hit four times.
@TheHunter32(Hunter Mense) on Twitter:
Rumor has it that Brad Pitt will be at the @MUTigerBaseball game tonight at 6:00. Thanks for the support Brad! #Mizzou #MIZ
■ And a shout out to JJ Stankevitz (I looked it up to make sure I spelt it right), a really good writer, whose baseball stories can be seen this season at KBIA Sports Extra. I got to meet him in the parking lot before the game and immediately made a big impression by mistaking him for another baseball writer. I'm good at doing that. I once spoke to Brock Bond in the parking lot and called him Garrett Broshuis. You can call me whatever you like when you see me in the parking lot, just call me in time for the first pitch.

Mizzou Baseball's Long Season

Mizzou's Season is getting long already (collegebaseballtoday.com)
This is not a vintage Tim Jamieson team. The fiery leader of the Tigers is having a tough time so far, with this loss tonight being their eighth in 12 games. Mizzou was held to just five hits on the night. But the good news is that they’ll have LeMoyne and Central Michigan visiting before facing off with Oklahoma in the opening weekend of Big 12 play.
Mizzou baseball looks to rebound (kctv5.com)
If Mizzou splits the series with Le Moyne, head coach Tim Jamieson would eclipse the 550 win milestone as Tiger skipper. He is currently second in school history, behind the legendary Gene McArtor, who ended his career with 733 victories.
McCormick racking up innings for Missouri baseball (themaneater.com)
“When Phil comes in we know what he’s going to do,” sophomore catcher Ben Turner said. “He’s going to throw strikes; he’s going to get us ground balls; he’s going to get us out of jams because he’s done it for two or three years.”

And to go along with his durability and unique delivery, McCormick has the poise and tenacity necessary in order to succeed on the mound in the Big 12.
■ Check out a great gallery of 2011 Mizzou Baseball photos at FourSeamsImages.com. Copying and Usage is limited to paying media outlets.

■ Do you hear that sound? Sort of like hoofbeats and the rattle of a covered wagon just beyond the next couple of hills? Guess who's coming 'round the mountain in just two weeks?
Oklahoma Sooners
• Record 14-0
• Ranked #2
• Team Batting Avg .383
• Team ERA 2.76
Link to their stats (for the brave of heart)

Streakin': Oklahoma (baseballamerica.com)
Oklahoma did beat up on some overmatched opposition early, sweeping a four-game set against William & Mary, two midweek games against Arkansas-Pine Bluff and a three-game series from Oakland. The Sooners then aced their first legitimate test of the season this past weekend on the West Coast, cruising to a pair of wins against San Diego State plus single victories over San Diego and California.

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: Lemoyne Dolphins

■ Rankings and Ratings
Boyd's World ISR: Mizzou 175th; Lemoyne 146th
Boyd's World RPI: Mizzou 202nd; Lemoyne 149th
Boyd's World Strength of Schedule: Mizzou 100th; Lemoyne 2nd
Warren Nolan RPI: Mizzou 199th; Lemoyne 141st

Lemoyne Baseball to reclassify to Division II beginning 2011-2012 (lemoynedolphins.com)
Le Moyne College has announced its intention to reclassify its baseball program from Division I to Division II, effective August 1, 2011. The College will follow the defined NCAA reclassification process, with the intent to compete alongside its 15 other programs as a member of the Division II Northeast-10 Conference.
Salukis blow lead to Lemoyne in home opener (dailyegyptian.com)
The Salukis scored early, but the Dolphins scored often, in SIU’s 10-9 loss to Le Moyne on Wednesday.

SIU (4-7) hosted the Le Moyne Dolphins (2-9) at Abe Martin Field for the first home game of the season.

The Salukis had problems at the plate with 13 strikeouts and also struggled on the mound as Le Moyne scored eight runs in the first six innings.

Why does a university located in Syracuse, NY, call their athletic teams the Dolphons?

The dolphin is the symbol and mascot of Le Moyne College. The use of the sign of the dolphin became common among Christians of the second century A.D. It was popularly considered to be friendly toward man and represented both love and tenderness. Noted for its grace and swiftness, the dolphin also symbolizes the desire for knowledge.

A figure of the dolphin appears on the seal of the bishop of the ancient See of Syracuse (the official seat, center of authority, jurisdiction or office of a bishop) in Sicily, as well as the seal of the Bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse. Rev. Walter A. Foery, the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Syracuse, made one of his priorities the establishment of a Catholic college. On April 14, 1945, Bishop Foery purchased the 103-acre Gifford Farm and promptly sold it to the Jesuits for $50,000. The Gifford Farm is now home to the College and Foery Hall is so named in honor of Bishop Foery

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Deep Roots

They should learn from the weeds—

Pushing through the pavement cracks, smart, tough.

Keeping at it, staying green.
(from Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo Poems by Linda Sue Park “Botany Lesson”)

■ Updated: Mizzou Jersey Numbers
Until I did the update, I hadn't noticed that Zach Hardoin surrendered his #38 to his pitching coach, Matt Hobbs. He's now wearing #19, worn by Hobbs' former teammate Logan Dale, as well as by Jack Stroud, a baseball legend.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: Gonzaga again

Correction: Tuesday's MU-Gonzaga game WAS broadcast live on KTGR's FM station, 100.5

Comment from the KTGR Program Director:
I would like to correct your post about The Zimmer Radio Group and our MU Baseball coverage. The MU vs Gonzaga game was carried on 100.5 KTGR FM last night.

I would be more than happy to explain how our broadcast deal works with Missouri Sports Properties, The Athletic Department and us. Please feel free to call me 573 875 1099 ext.1272

Thanks for your passion for Mizzou Baseball and todays game is just minutes away on KTGR

Sincerely Yours,

COSMO
Program Director KTGR
Hardoin puts bulldogs on a leash (themaneater.com)
The senior lefty was nearly unhittable, easing through the Bulldogs’ lineup as well as a constant, biting rain. Hardoin tossed 6.2 innings, allowing only two hits and one earned run. He held a no-hitter going into the sixth inning, before finally conceding a bunt single to Gonzaga centerfielder Chris Sturdivant. For a Missouri team that had given up an average of 8.1 runs over its first ten games, this kind of performance was a welcome relief.
Pitching staff leads Missouri baseball to 5-2 win over Gonzaga (columbiamissourian.com)
“These past couple weeks I’ve been suffering from a little tendinitis,” Hardoin said. “I’ve been training pretty hard, and tonight I felt pretty good — and our team needed a big win, and it was great to go out there and give us a chance to do that.”

Is Bat Warming the new "Bat Rolling"? (collegebaseballdaily.com)
The last two years the story around college baseball was about the composite bats and how certain schools were rolling the bats to get more power out of the bat. On Sunday, when the South Carolina Gamecocks visited Clemson, South Carolina’s Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a homer in the first inning. Clemson catcher Spencer Kieboom picked up the bat as Bradley Jr. was rounding the bases where he recognized that the bat was hot to touch. Clemson head coach Jack Leggett came out to question the bat with home plate umpire Randy Harvey, who is a veteran in the industry. After a brief discussion, Bradley Jr. and the Gamecocks were allowed to continue to use the bat.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors & Majors

Facing Greek God of Walks was an eye-opener for Kyle Gibson (espn.com)
"It's something that was kind of instilled in me at (the University of) Missouri, I guess. The pitching coach there (Tony Vitello), he always told us, 'Go out there and compete, and if something doesn't go your way, don't let the other team know that that's not what you meant to happen.' I kind of took that to heart and said I don't want anyone to know if I'm doing good or doing bad. If they show up in the fourth inning, it should look like I've been throwing a no-hitter."

The consensus within the organization is that Gibson will pitch for the Twins in 2011. That's almost a foregone conclusion, barring unforeseen circumstances.

Guys I love, guys I hate (espn.com)
When I read "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" I was bored for the first 100 pages. What the hell was everyone so excited about? Second half of the book, I couldn't put it down. Started slow, ended strong: Max Scherzer is the pitcher with the dragon tattoo.

Quotable (Cleveland.com)
The one pitcher who seemed immune to the conditions was right-hander Doug Mathis. He threw two scoreless innings and Acta said it was a "miracle' that he didn't give up a run.

Mathis is in camp with the Indians as a spring training invitee.

"Doug's value is that he's been a starter and can pitch out of the bullpen," said Acta. "He's battling for one of those spots where guys can throw multiple innings."
MLB.com's Jordan Bastian on Twitter:
RHP Doug Mathis has an out clause in his contract in case he doesn't make Opening Day roster. He's competing for bullpen job with Indians.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: Gonzaga Bulldogs

STOP THE PRESSES!!!! The game has now been re-re-scheduled to be played and/or flooded out at 6PM! Again!
MUTigerBaseball: RT @ShawnDizzle77: And @MUTigerBaseball has now been moved back to the originally scheduled 6 p.m. start time. Sorry for the runaround! - Tuesday, March 08, 2011
■ Today's game has been moved from 6PM to 5PM. Like that'll make a difference.

■ Once again the weather outside is frightful. It's raining in CoMo at mid-day, and the forecasters say the chance of rain will just keep increasing through the afternoon and evening.

Baseball wins four straight (theslipperstillfits.com)
After starting the season 0-5 (losses to Or. St (2), Fresno St., Texas A&M (2)) the Gonzaga baseball team turned things around and have won four straight with this weekend's sweep of Pacific, making them 4-5. Since their most recent loss, they've outscored opponents 23-12. Royce Bolinger is hitting a stunning .391 with five RBIs, while Eric Lane and Billy Moon are also above the .300 mark.

Even though the plate performances have been solid, what's really saved the Bulldogs as of late has been the pitching. The collective ERA is 3.07, with starters Ryan Carpenter (1-0, 3.38, 26k in 18.2 ip) and Tyler Olson (1-1, .075, 12k in 12 ip) going deep into games. Moon has been fantastic out of the pen with a perfect 0.00 ERA and surrendering just two hits in 5.2 innings of work; he's also started every game in the field, so look for him to be a versatile contributor as the season wears on.

New bats should mean fewer homers in college baseball (spokesman.com)
It is something Gonzaga is looking forward to as well, though Machtolf’s Gonzaga team will play a schedule rated third toughest by Baseball America magazine. It also doesn’t feature a home game until UC Irvine comes to Spokane the last week of March.

It will all be new to many of the Zags, a lot of whom were not part of last year’s 20-36 team.

“To be honest with you, we’ve got a lot of new faces,” Machtolf said. “I think we have the talent, but there is going to be an adjustment period to Division I pitching.”

The newcomer that excites Machtolf the most is freshman Marco Gonzales, from Fort Collins, Colo. The 6-foot-1 lefty, a three-time all-state selection, is in the starting rotation and will play some first base for the Zags.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Weekend Woes

Power outage, sloppy play cost Mizzou Baseball in series lost to UIC(kbiasportsextra.com)
The 3-7 start for Mizzou isn’t unprecedented, as the 2009 team had the same record in its first 10 games and still made the NCAA tournament. But that team featured good-to-star-quality players such as Kyle Gibson, Greg Folgia, Aaron Senne, Kyle Mach and others. That’s not to say this Mizzou team doesn’t have players of that caliber, but if it does, those players haven’t really emerged yet
Tigers drop final game of weekend (powermizzou.com)
After escaping without any more damage, Heaslip got into a groove. He gave up only three more hits after that inning and the Tigers didn't get a runner past second base the rest of the game.

"It happens with a lot of pitchers," said senior Jonah Schmidt, who was the only Tiger with multiple hits. "Once they get out of a couple jams they build a little confidence and stuff starts getting a little better and they trust it more. You've really got to take advantage of all the opportunities you get in the early innings."
Tigers strike back against Flames (themaneater.com)
But as bad as the Flames’ pitching was, the Tigers’ Rob Zastryzny was just as good. The highly touted freshman lefty from Corpus Christi, Texas, threw 5.1 innings of 4-hit baseball, giving up only 2 earned runs and striking out 4. Zastryzny lowered his ERA to an impressive 3.38 through 3 starts this season, and seems to be improving with every appearance.
">Missouri baseball falls to UIC in game one (themaneater.com)
One word sums up Missouri’s home opener against Illinois-Chicago best: sloppy.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: Saturday split

Zastryzny leads Missouri to double-header split (collegebaseballdaily.com)
Start learning to pronounce his name.

Then, once you have that down, learn how to spell it.

Don’t complain about the wind in Taylor Stadium; it’s just a byproduct of Rob Zastryzny sprinting his way to notoriety in Columbia, MO. In the Missouri freshman’s third start of the year, he allowed two runs over 5 1/3 innings, on par with his season’s numbers coming in – 10.2 innings pitched and four earned runs allowed.
MU Baseball splits double header against Illinois-Chicago (columbiamissourian.com)
In each of Saturday's two games, Missouri center fielder and leadoff hitter Brannon Champagne went 2-for-3 and had two walks.
■ From the Cheap Seats:
• "I was impressed with Dillon Evert at 2B. Made a couple of dazzling plays in addition to his productive offensive day. Zastryzny was as good as advertised." (Tigerboard.com)

• "Offense wasn't the problem today. Obviously it was 11 runs allowed, 6 errors, 7 walks, 1 HBP...and partridge in a pear tree." (Tigerboard.com)

• "I think the SIX errors contributed to our loss!! I believe the inconsistent line up contributes to SIX errors and another terrible season." (Tigerboard.com)
And Mizzou basketball fans weren't the only ones frustrated with play-by-play unavailability on Saturday:
• "Come on KTGR! It's bad enough I can't go to the games, but now I can't even listen..." (Tigerboard.com)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mizzou Baseball Game Day: Let's try this again

■ Friday's game ws rained out, and the Saturday double headerr has been moved earlier, to Noon and 3:00 PM starting times.

Fresh approach for MU's Brown (Columbia Tribune)
After working with the Missouri coaching staff, Brown is getting his front foot down sooner, which helps him recognize the pitch earlier.

Entering the Tigers’ home opener tonight against Illinois-Chicago, Brown is leading Missouri (2-5) with a .444 average (8 for 18) and five RBI. He’s come through in clutch situations, going 5 for 7 with runners in scoring position.