Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Tip of the Cap to Kansas State Baseball

When I think of Mizzou vs. Kansas State, I think of the Tigers' LHP Rick Zagone.

Rick Zagone vs. the Wildcats
In 2007, the Tigers traveled to Manhattan, KS, in the middle of what some would say was Mizzou's best season under Tim Jamieson, a season that would climax with the Tigers hosting a Regional in Columbia.

That great Tiger team was smacked around 12-0 by the Wildcats on a frigid Friday night in the first game of the series.  MU's ace, Aaron Crow, gave up 5 runs in 5.1 innings and things went downhill fast from there.

The following day I almost feared to turn on the radio to listen to the Tigers' second game in Manhattan.  But I did tune in Tex Little and J.C. Field as I was out and about running errands that Saturday afternoon.  And by the 6th inning I let my wife go on into the mall while I stayed in the car, listening to Tex describe Rick Zagone's success at carving up the K-State hitters.
Zagone came within two outs of a no-hitter in a dominant, one-hit shutout that Missouri won 3-0. The sophomore lefthander walked four and recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts to keep his season record perfect at 6-0 in what coach Tim Jamieson called a “tremendous” performance.
. . .
“After yesterday, I wanted to show our guys that I would keep the number of runs down and make it easier of them,” Zagone said. “There were a few tough situations, but I just tried to stick with the game plan.” (Columbia Missourian, 4/8/07)
Zagone was named the Big 12 Pitcher of the Week and the NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week for his performance.

It was one of many Tiger victories over the Wildcats during the past 100+ years.  MU holds a 165-113-1 record against KSU.

Missouri first played Kansas State Agricultural College (as it was originally known) in 1907, losing 5-2.

Kansas State joined what was then the Missouri Valley Conference in 1913 and became a part of the newly formed Big 6 in 1928, along with Missouri.  According to their record books, the only conference championships the Wildcats have ever won were in 1907, 1928, 1930 and 1933.  They are 3-6 (.333) all-time in NCAA Regionals, all those appearances in the past three years.

During the 19 year stretch from 1948 through 1966 Missouri absolutely dominated Kansas State.  MU's record vs. KSU was 41-8, a .837 winning percentage, winning those games by a cumulative 348-161 score.

Toward the end of that era, Kansas State was the victim of one of MU's no-hitters, being shut down by Dennis Musgraves on April 25, 1964.

It wasn't until 2003, though, that things began to look up for the Wildcats.   That was the year they hired Brad Hill, who had been highly successful at Central Missouri State.  He has steadily built the program up, culminating in 3 straight NCAA Regional appearances in the past three years.  Missouri, though, has still had the best of Kansas State during those three years, with a 6-2 record.

It's kind of nice, though, to see the perpetual Mildcats getting more wild and crazy.

Robert J Lipscomb
One of the most entertaining things I ever saw at a K-State-Mizzou game was the time a few years ago that Robert J. Lipscomb, known as Kansas State's #1 fan made the trip to Columbia for a series.  The loud and enthusiastic fan had made several trips to Columbia for football games, but this was the first time I had seen him at Simmons Field.  While some fans in the stands looked at him like he was a nuisance, I just smiled.  Every baseball team needs at least one maniacal fan who doesn't care what people think of his enthusiasm.

Here's a Tip of the Cap to the Kansas State Wildcats and Big 8 Baseball. May we meet again. Diamonds are forever.

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