Wednesday, February 29, 2012

March Madness: 19 games in 27 days @ Taylor Stadium

@JimShorts923 (James Abey, new Taylor Stadium PA Announcer):
Gettin Ready for @MUTigerBaseball I am ready for an insane March time for fun and baseball a whole bunch of it
March 2012 North Central U.S. Extended Forecast (Farmers Almanac)
  • 1st-3rd. Wet Northern, Central Plains.
  • 4th-7th. Stormy across Kansas, Nebraska, Dakotas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, then fair weather.
  • 8th-11th. Fair initially, then unsettled.
  • 12th-15th. Fair, windy.
  • 16th-19th. Stormy weather spreads east across Northern, Central Plains.
  • 20th-23rd. Mostly fair yet cold. Turning unsettled Northern, Central Rockies by the 23rd.
  • 24th-27th. Light rain Montana, Wyoming, Colorado. Windy, showery elsewhere. Then clearing.
  • 28th-31st. Stormy weather spreads in from west; heavy thunderstorms Kansas.

MARCH 2-4:  3 GAMES VS. BALL STATE
The Cardinals began their season going 1-4, including a 10-1 loss to the "powerhouse" University of South Carolina-Upstate Spartans, a game in which Ball State managed a total of 3 hits.  In their second weekend they were swept by Alabama-Birmingham.  Ball State's team batting average of  .191 makes Mizzou's .209 look pretty good.  (Well, not really).  Their team ERA, though, is a somewhat respectable 4.26.

MARCH 6:  1 GAME VS. NEBRASKA-OMAHA
UN-O is 1-7 so far in 2012 (through this past weekend)

2012 is the Mavericks' first season in the Division I ranks.  Their schedule includes 42 games on the road, and the few games they play in Omaha are not at their home stadium (they don't have one).  UN-O had built a solid Division II program that had a string of seven straight trips to the national tournament snapped after a 35-20 finish last year. The Mavs reached the Division II World Series in 2007.

Their roster is made up almost entirely of players who were originally recruited to play D-II Baseball.  But these were players who were attracted to a highly successful D-II program.  The Mavs do return the top four hitters, in terms of batting average, from last season, in shortstop Brady Hohl (.408, five homers, 35 RBIs, 15 stolen bases), second baseman Caleb Palensky (.366, four homers, 36 RBIs) and outfielders Mark Waldron (.364, 32 RBIs) and Connor McCrite (.359). Hohl (Alaska Baseball League All-Star) and Palensky (All-Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League) are among the Mavs who had standout seasons on the summer circuit.
MARCH 9-11:  4 GAMES VS. CHARLOTTE 
Charlotte began the season with a 5-2 record.  The 49ers were picked to repeat as conference champions by the Atlantic 10 Coaches Poll.  The team returns its entire starting rotation, consisting of a Collegiate Baseball News All-American (Andrew Smith) and three former freshmen All-Americans (Joe Yermal, Corey Roberts, and Tyler Barnette).
MARCH 13-14:  2 GAMES VS. NORTH DAKOTA
Yes, former Mizzou catcher J.C. Field is still an assistant coach with UND.  And yes, they are still going by the name of the Fighting Sioux, a controversy that has seen more ups and downs than J.C. Field's batting average.

The Fighting Lawsiouxts began their season a week later than everyone else by being swept 4-0 by Wichita State. In those game the Fighting Sioux were outscored 3-62.  No, that's not a typo.  Their team batting average after that weekend stands at .133, their ERA 16.20.  Amazingly, Wichita State only hit 2 home runs in the midst of that offensive onslaught.
They will have played St. Louis U and Kansas by the time they arrive at Taylor Stadium.
MARCH 16-18:  3 GAMES VS. HIGH POINT
While some may have looked at this weekend series series against High Point as a "low point" in the schedule, the Panthers slugged their way to a 6-2 record in the opening weeks of the season, averaging 8.875 runs per game.  That includes a 12-5 win over Charlotte.
MARCH 21:  1 GAME VS. INDIANA STATE
The Sycamores have some legitimate talent this season and entered the season as a team expected to take a step forward. Well, they’ve already taken a step back by getting swept at Southeastern Louisiana last weekend. (PerfectGame.org
The Sycamores were picked to finish 4th in the Missouri Valley Conference.  They were swept 0-3 by Southeastern Louisiana in their opening weekend, then proceeded to sweep the field 4-0 in the Bulldog Classic this past weekend.
MARCH 23-25:  3 GAMES VS. OKLAHOMA STATE
It's starting to look like a down year for OSU.  The Cowboys began their season getting absolutely walloped by Cal Poly SLO . (Cal Poly appears to be a real contender in 2012).  But then they rattled off 5 straight wins against Dallas Baptist, St. Gregory's, and Bowling Green State.   25 of Frank Anderson's 35 Cowboys are newcomers to OSU.

MARCH 27-28:  2 GAMES VS. CENTRAL ARKANSAS
The Bears were picked to finish dead last (12th) in the Southland Conference this season.  They began the season by getting swept at home by the Creighton Bluejays, then followed that up by sweeping SIU-Edwardsville this past weekend. 
Totally unrelated trivia:  Did you know the Central Arkansas Women's Basketball team is known as the Sugar Bears?

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