Friday, November 30, 2012

MizzouTube: Cribs & Confidence

Never Give Up, by Mizzou Baseball's Gavin Stark & Mizzou Softball's Corrin Genovese:

♦ Mizzou Cribs, by Ashley Arp:

Part I

Part II

Part III


Be sure to check out the Mizzou Baseball YouTube page

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Official 2013 Mizzou Baseball Schedule has been released

We've been piecing together the 2013 schedule over the past few months, but now the official calendar of contests has been announced.

The additions to our tentative schedule include:

  • Arkansas State comes to Taylor Stadium on Tuesday March 19th and Wednesday the 20th.  Arkansas State was a regular on the Mizzou Baseball schedule during the 90's.  The last time the two teams met was in 2001.

  • Nebraska-Omaha makes a return visit to Columbia on Tuesday, March 26th.  The Tigers and Mavericks met in 2012, UN-O's inaugural year in Division 1.
There are no double-headers scheduled for 2013, although the springtime CoMo weather tends to force a twin bill or two as the season progresses.

Sometime in the coming weeks we will take a closer look at the schedule, including our usual smart-enough-to-look-stupid calculation of the Intended Strength of Schedule.

In all, Mizzou's schedule will feature 30 home dates, including 15 home games against SEC competition. Season tickets will go on sale Dec. 3 and cost $60 for adults and $30 for youth, making it one of the best ticket deals in the SEC...

SxSE: Tennessee Volunteers Baseball, 1897-2012

After a century of ups and downs and mostly squandered potential, the Volunteers have have struggled with mediocrity over the past several years.  They would, at this point, not even be considered an NCAA Regional team, but an SEC Tournament team at best.  Hope is on the horizon, though, as the Vols have hired one of the top coaches in college baseball, Dave Serrano, who they hope can not just rebuild the program but take it to a level of consistent success Vols fans have never known.  Over the past 10 years the Volunteers have averaged a W-L record of 34-26.

Tennessee has been playing intercollegiate baseball since 1897.

Volunteer Baseball has an interesting record of avoiding undue momentum.

Until 1903, UT followed the coach-of-the-year program, with underwhelming results.

In 1903 Frank Moffett took over the program through 1910, except for a hiatus in 1906. Moffett started off slow, but built up some momentum, achieving a 16-3 (.842) record in 1909, followed by a mere .771 in 1907 and .611 in 1908. Whereupon he left and ended up coaching for the Knoxville team in the Appalachian League, except for a 1-year stint back at UT in 1918, where he compiled a .800 winning percentage. Before leaving again.

Z.G. Clevenger started off slow in 1911, but by 1916 he compiled a 13-5, .722 record. But his success in his other job, the UT football coach, led him to abandon Volunteers Baseball. He eventually returned to UT as the Athletic Director, but not before spending 1921-1923 as the A.D. at Mizzou.

From 1917 through 1962 the team was fairly mediocre.

S.W. Anderson produced one of the worst season records, a .196 winning percent in 1948. He also was responsible for an .870 year and an SEC Championship and College World Series appearance three years later in 1951. A year later he was replaced.

Bill Wright coached some pretty good teams to some pretty good records from 1963 to 1981, resulting in a couple of 1st place finishes in the SEC East and a bunch of 2nd place finishes.

John Whited continued the tradition of 2nd place finishes for his first 3 years, until he finished 5th and then 10th twice and was replaced by Mark Connor, who continued the tradition of 9th and 10th place finishes.

And then came Rod Delmonico, who coached from 1990 to 2007 and posted some SEC Championships and a three trips to the College World Series (1995, 2001 and 2005). In between those great years were several 4th and 5th place finishes. Check out
He was replaced in 2008 by Todd Raleigh, who spent four years fine tuning that tradition into a 5th or 6th place broken record.

Finally they decided to get serious and hired Dave Serrano beginning with the 2012 season, who had taken UC-Irvine and Cal State-Fullerton to the College World Series. Everyone has confidence Serrano can build the program into a contender and see bring some success to the Volunteers. And if they stay the course set for the past 115 years, they'll do something to nip that momentum in the bud before it takes them too far.

Notable Tennessee Volunteer Ballplayers

Tennessee Volunteers Baseball in 2012

The 2012 Volunteers finished 24-31, 8-22 in the SEC.  They failed to qualify for the SEC Tournament and did not go to the NCAA Regionals.

Two-part Interview w/Tennessee & USA Baseball Coach Dave Serrano ( VIDEO - Part I / Part II)

Baseball Vols Wrap Up Season (Times Free Press)
Midway through the SEC baseball season, Tennessee was one game under .500 in league play and right in the middle of the standings.

The Volunteers had wins over then-unbeaten Kentucky, national powers South Carolina and Florida and a sweep of Alabama.

After a difficult sweep at Mississippi State that featured two extra-inning losses, though, the bottom fell out, and UT won just once more in SEC play and lost 16 of their final 18 games after a season-ending sweep from Arkansas in Knoxville this weekend.

"I don't know if I have ever felt this empty honestly," said first-year coach Dave Serrano, who's taken Cal State Fullerton and California-Irvine to the College World Series in his coaching career. "That can sound spoiled, but I have been spoiled in my career, I've been spoiled to be around a lot of great coaches, a lot of great teams. This is the first time that the end of the schedule meant the end of the season.
. . .
The season figured to be a struggle for the Vols, but the solid early start created some momentum and hope that UT might overachieve or at least accomplish its goal. UT loses six seniors, three of whom were every-day players, and two-way junior Drew Steckenrider has enough talent to go in the Major League draft in early June. With Serrano's winning track record, there's hope in the future.

"They're the best coaching staff in the country," Maddox said. "We've just got to trust them and everybody's got to buy into it and we'll be good. I think everyone enjoyed playing for them this year, and they've done so much for this program that I'm excited about next year."

Serrano and his staff have been successful on the recruiting trail. The Vols signed 13 players for next season in the fall and could add more. Adding more talent to the roster's is essential for competing in the SEC and completing the rebuilding job.

"We didn't reach our goals," Serrano said. "I have to look at myself in the mirror every day. I know we committed to this team, and I feel that this team committed to us. Whenever there is change, sometimes there are things that go on and people don't buy into it.

"I think these guys bought into it, but we were short in some areas and when I had to make some tough decisions in regards to personnel, it didn't help our situation. But I wouldn't change it. I don't second-guess myself because it's about doing the things that are right for this baseball program and this university."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rash Decisions

The Maneater is once again showing they can be one of the best media outlets for Mizzou Baseball coverage, with the first real news and background on highly touted freshman Alec Rash, as well as some great insight into the Mizzou Baseball recruiting process:

The journey of a 'Midwest guy': Alec Rash's path to Missouri (The Maneater)
Alec Rash has always been an athlete. He excelled in three sports in high school at Adel Desoto Minburn High in Iowa and Pelham High in Alabama. Scouting reports about him fawn over his athleticism.

Mike Rash said that as a child, Alec Rash thought he was going to go to Iowa State to play basketball. He only played high school football the fall of his senior year, but his size and athletic ability made him a valuable asset at wide receiver. Video of him playing basketball shows a dynamic swingman catching alley-oops and blocking shots.
But, as Mike Rash puts it, “baseball kind of picked him.” Alec Rash’s prodigious arm strength was apparent early on. Mitch Krumwiede, his baseball coach at ADM who was also Alec Rash’s physical education teacher in sixth grade, said he saw it when the class would play dodgeball.

“The kid had an arm that was head and shoulders above everybody else,” Krumwiede said. “It wasn’t even close.” ...

SxSE: Coach Dave Serrano's Tennessee Volunteers

Recruiting footprint:  Dave Serrano has just completed his first year at Tennessee, but based on his first couple of recruiting classes, he tends to recruit from Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, California, Kansas, plus random recruits from WA, VA, TX, OH. KY, WA, FL.

Dave Serrano Provides Repair for Tennessee Baseball in More Ways Than Wins (Bleacher Report, 4/23/12)
Williams bounced back from his chat with Serrano looking sharp, retiring the next three batters he faced, two by strikeout. Following the diamond Vols' March 7 win over Ball State, Serrano explained his visit with Williams.

"That's why I went out to the mound, his body language after giving up a couple of hits bothered me," Serrano said. "I just wanted him to get back on his own side, no need to panic, no need to get down on himself. It's not like he was making bad pitches, in fact I took the blame for it, I went out there and told him it was my fault. It's true, I made some bad calls on pitches."
. . .
"I had a chat with coach, he reassured me that I was a good pitcher," said Vols pitcher Nick Blount following a Feb. 16 win over Seton Hall that saw Blount give up two early runs before settling to record five consecutive scoreless frames. "After giving up those early runs he really reassured me that I could hang in there, I just need to calm down and pitch for contact, coach reminded me of that. Then I went out there and did it."

What Serrano brings to the new-look 2012 Vols team that cannot be measured in wins or losses.

"I love his energy, I love the guy," Blount said following a win over Northern Illinois. "I'd run through a wall for that guy and this team, and I know I'm not the only one that thinks that. He has put that mentality in each of us. Now that we have him, I can't imagine what pitching or playing would be like without him."

Vols looking to Omaha under Serrano (, 11/14/2011)
Can Knoxville, Tennessee become the hotbed of college baseball in the SEC?

If new Tennessee head coach Dave Serrano has anything to do with that, it will happen under his watch. The Vols baseball program has had some tough times over the last couple of years. They finished the 2011 season with a 25-29 record and a 7-23 SEC record for a last place finish.
. . .
Serrano boasted “I took this Tennessee job with one goal in mind: bring this team to Omaha.”
Dave Serrano Exposed (

This is an interesting message board thread that sheds some light on what kind of coach Dave Serrano is. Given it's a message board, take the comments with a grain of biased salt, of course.
USC Jordan: Coach Serrano is very good with the media but I think in the long run he will be exposed for being just an OK coach. I know many on this board will disagree with me but let me point out a few things.

I believe Coach Serrano won at Irvine with many of Coach Savage’s players, when he went to the CWS. More importantly he won because there are just so many players in Southern California he had a lot to select from.

While at Fullerton he went to JUST one CWS. Those players that took him were George Horton and Coach Vanderhook recruits.

I will give Coach Serrano 4 years (not 2 or 3) and everyone will see his University of Tennessee team will be nowhere close to the top of the SEC. In fact I predict he will leave for another school due to the fact he will see the writing on the wall.

Baseballslife1: My son played for Coach and you are way off base. He has never come across as a guy that thinks he is the next coming. I believe he took over a last place program UT that hasn't won in years. I believe his UCI CWS team was made up of guys that he had brought into program(Gorgen,Orloff,Holiday,Pettis,Madigan,Morris,Bibona,Vaughn and more) that Savage never had anything to do with. I do believe many of "his guys" continued to win at UCI. He went to Fullerton and kept winning with yes maybe some of Horton's and Hooks guys and some of his own.

2Bulldogs: As a person on the inside for Dave Serrano's last full year at UCI, I cannot see any accuracy in the statements you made.
. . .
My son was one of those who came in during the fall of 2006 for his freshman year. Starting with Bergey and Coach Serrano and continuing with Coach Gillespie and Pat Shine, they helped make him into a fine student and then baseball player who became a four year starter and an excellent student (my son receives his Masters this June). To a parent, when a son or daughter is away at school, the value of a mentor is priceless, especially for the parent of a student-athlete. Coach Serrano was excellent and as a mentor and teacher beyond baseball.

Finally, as for what might happen at Tennessee four years from now...only time will tell. Knowing the man as I do, I'm betting on him and a return to the postseason. Be it always remembered, that 2007 class, from a program just six years revived from oblivion, went to the College World Series, and they were virtually ALL Dave Serrano kids (he started recruiting in the fall of 2004). It was Dave Serrano and his staff which developed ALL of those players and it was Dave Serrano and his coaches that finally led those kids on an emotional and remembered bus-ride up the hill (to Rosenblatt) when they first arrived in Omaha. By that time, Coach Savage was in his third year-plus at UCLA.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors 2012: Max Scherzer

Max Scherzer strikes out Albert Pujols
Former Missouri Tiger - now Detroit Tiger - Max Scherzer reached a new level of public awareness in 2012.  He persevered through an up-and-down season to take his team all the way to the World Series, he posted incredible - even historic - stats, and he dealt with unimaginable personal tragedy, all in the stretch of a single season.

♦ Max struck out 231 batters in 2012, good for 2nd in the MLB - outpaced only by his teammate Justin Verlander's 239.  And he accomplished this in spite of slumps and injuries. He led the Majors with his 11.08 Ks per 9 innings pitched.   Detroit Tiger Tales put Max Scherzer's strikeouts in perspective, back in August:
When Tigers right hander Max Scherzer struck out nine batters in today's 5-2 win over the Angels, it was the 11th time this year he had nine or more strikeouts in a game. How good is that? One clue is that Tigers ace Justin Verlander has done it only five times this year and nine times in his 2011 MVP campaign. Scherzer is no Verlander, of course, but he sure does rack up a lot of strikeouts. In fact, he leads the majors with 195 whiffs and is a hair ahead of Nationals fire baller Stephen Strasburg with 11.35 strikeouts per nine innings.

If Scherzer keeps up his pace for the remainder of the season, it would be the 13th highest strikeout rate for qualifying starters (162 or more innings) since 1901. It would also be the highest rate ever for a Tiger. Table 1 below shows that the amazing Randy Johnson is the king of high K rates with a remarkable 13.4 strikeouts per nine innings for Arizona in 2001. The Big Unit also had five other seasons with 11.6 or more strikeouts per nine innings.

Baseball In Depth piled on with Max Scherzer's unusual Season:
Max Scherzer is having an unusual season that would put him in exclusive territory. With another start, he would be one of only a handful of pitchers ever with at least 150 innings pitched in a season and an average of over 11 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched.

7 pitchers have combined for such seasons:
Dwight Gooden (1984)
Nolan Ryan (1987, 1989)
Hideo Nomo (1995)

Randy Johnson (1995, 1997-2002)
Pedro Martinez (1997, 1999-2000)
Curt Schilling (1997)
Kerry Wood (1998, 2001, 2003)
Max Scherzer (2012)

♦ In spite of those fantastic statistics, Detroit Tiger fans continute to struggle with The Max Scherzer Conundrum (Turn2Tribune)
Baseball’s version of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, it seems that we never
know which Max we will get on any given night, good Mad Max or bad Mad Max, but that isn’t actually true.

He’s the league leader in K/9 and one of only two pitchers in the American League whose K/9 is in the double digits. Scherzer posts a boastful 11.29 K/9 and a measly 3.04 BB/9 and can seemingly have a 15 strikeout night at the drop of a hat. So where does Scherzer get this reputation of being a volatile and highly inconsistent

It all stems from 24 poorly pitched innings. In the opening months of the 2012 baseball season. Scherzer posted a 7.77 era while allowing opposing players to hit for a .346 AVG, .438 OBP and .510 SLG. A truly terrible month to say the least, but that’s all it was, one month. In May Scherzer’s ERA dropped down to 4.04 in 35.2 innings, in June it dropped to 3.86 in 30.1 innings, in July to 3.62 in 32.1 innings, August to 2.25 in 32 innings, and in his only start in the month of September Scherzer pitched 8 scoreless innings...
♦ In June, the unimaginable happened.  Max's brother, Alex, known by many Mizzou Baseball fans, unexpectedly died.  The St. Louis Post Dispatch's Bernie Miklasz wrote a great piece about Alex and Max, Scherzer shows uncommon courage
Alex Scherzer had a love of statistics and was adept at analyzing advanced baseball metrics. Alex helped his big brother by identifying statistical patterns and tendencies that Max could put to use.

Alex never interfered with the guidance given by Max's coaches. More than anything, Alex just made Max aware of the value of analysis, and how the extra knowledge could be turned into an advantage. When Max had a bad start, Alex would find the positives. He'd come up with a report that had the numbers detailing what had gone right. And Max was appreciative to receive positive information that he could take forward.
. . .
Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh, Scherzer took the ball only two days after Alex's death, living up to the vow he'd given Tigers manager Jim Leyland. And there Max was, walking to the mound at PNC Park in the bottom of the first, to make the most challenging, difficult start of his career.

Max's parents, Brad and Jan, were in the ballpark to be with their oldest son. They wanted to be there for him. The family would get through this together. And Mr. and Mrs. Scherzer drew strength by watching Max pitch. And their support, with Max knowing his mom and dad were sitting in the stands, probably helped to lessen his burden.

We can't imagine what he was feeling, or thinking. We can't imagine how much he was hurting inside. But Max showed up for his team, took that ball and put his entire heart into the assignment...
♦ Max and the Tigers battled through the ups and downs to march their way through the playoffs and into the World Series.  At one point, Pin Striped Bible outlined the keys to Solving Max Scherzer, only to witness would be one of Max's greatest games of the season, shutting down the Yankees to win the American League title.
And then there is Scherzer, who would be an ace on most staffs. If his eyes look like they belong on two different faces, then think of it this way: One eye was on the Yankees. The other one was fixed on this stat line:

2 1/3 IP, 6 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 1 K

That was Scherzer's line when the Rangers eliminated his Tigers in Game 6 of last year's American League Championship Series.

2 1/3 IP, 6 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 1 K

"That stung the whole offseason," Scherzer said "I worked my butt off. Every single day, that's what I thought about, was Game 6 of last year's ALCS."

On Thursday, he only allowed two hits and one run. He probably would have pitched past the sixth inning if he had not had recent shoulder trouble, and if the Yankees had the courtesy to put the ball in play once in a while. Scherzer faced 22 batters. He struck out 10 of them, and left after throwing 98 pitches.

It was strange to see the Yankees look so hopeless. They are many things, but rarely hopeless. Yet Scherzer did not just think he would pitch this well. He knew. They all knew.

"I felt like I was going to have command of three pitches," he said. "The way that my changeup, and the way that my slider's been lately, I knew if I was going to be able to execute that, I knew I was going to pitch well." (Sports Illustrated)
The Tigers were over-matched and out-played by the San Francisco Giants int he World Series, but it was still great to see Max pitching in the World Series.

There's always next year.

♦ For an incredible collection of photos, animated gifs, quoted tweets and other random acts of blogging related to Max Scherzer, check out the Max Scherzer tagged posts on tumblr.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball: Game Day

Sports Park at Mizzou

Getting to Taylor Stadium

  1. Take the Stadium Blvd. Exit off I-70, head south on Stadium Blvd. for about 4 miles to Providence Road. Turn right (south) on Providence. Less than 1 block later, turn right on Carrie Francke Drive (directly across from the football stadium and basketball arena). At the first 4-way intersection, turn right to go to the parking lots nearest Taylor Stadium.  Turn left for Reactor Field parking.  Go straight if you changed your mind and want to go play a round of golf.
  2. Take the Providence Road Exit off I-70, head south on Providence Road about 3 miles. Less than 1 block past the Stadium Blvd intersection, turn right on Carrie Francke Drive (directly across from the football stadium).  At the first 4-way intersection, turn right to go tot he parking lots nearest Taylor Stadium.  Turn left for Reactor Field parking.  If there's an event staff person waving you away from turning right, pretend you don't notice him and drive on up the hill and tell his boss at the top of the hill that he guy at the bottom said it was OK.

  3. Take the Stadium Blvd Exit off Highway 63; head west on Stadium Blvd about 2.5 miles. Turn left (south) at Providence Road. Less than 1 block later,  turn right on Carrie Francke Drive (directly across from the football stadium).  At the first 4-way intersection, turn right to go to the parking lots nearest Taylor Stadium.  Turn left for Reactor Field parking.  Go straight if you'd rather watch softball.
Parking at Taylor Stadium

The parking lot closest to the ballpark, at the top of the hill, is NOT OPEN to athletic event parking between 8 AM and 5 PM. Your car will very likely be towed if you do not follow this restriction. After 5:00, baseball fans may use that lot.

The paved lot just to the south of that lot (still at the top of the hill) IS OPEN to athletic event parking at ALL HOURS.  However, for many baseball games, that lot is reserved for staff, umpires and others with special passes.

A gravel lot at the top of the hill, running along the south of the Walton Soccer/Track Stadium, is also open to baseball parking.  Unless it's full.

Parking will not be allowed on the side of the road leading down the hill.

There are parking lots at the bottom of the hill, south of the ballpark, that are also available for athletic event parking.  A golf cart, driven by a crazed Event Staff employee, will be available to give weary fans a lift up the Summit.

Also, there is a walkway over Providence Road, connecting the Faurot Field football parking area with Simmons Field. When other events do not conflict, parking may be available there.

Where SHOULD I park?

As any college baseball fan knows, foul balls are drawn by a mysterious scientific force to the windows of cars parked in stadium parking lots. Therefore, if you park in one of the lots at the top of the hill, the safest spot is farthest away from the ballpark, or behind some Jayhawk's van.  My favorite spot to park is in the gravel lot just south of the soccer/track stadium.

Tailgating at Taylor Stadium

Tailgating at baseball games usually takes place in the parking lots.  There are no electrical hookups.  While it's technically a dry campus, no one is going to deny you the right to have alcohol at your tailgate party in the parking lot.  Unless you cross that undefined line toward being too rowdy; then they'll enforce the rule.


Except for the one Regional we hosted in 2007, there has never been a regular season game when fans couldn't walk up to the ticket booth at game time and purchase however many tickets for decent seats they could possibly want.  Seating capacity is about 3,500 and there are 243 season tickets, held by 80 accounts (2012 numbers).

I will pause now while our friends from other SEC schools take time to laugh.

The price in 2013 for single game walk-up tickets was $5 per ticket, with a discount price of $3 for children under 12 and for senior citizens.

Renewal notices for season tickets have already gone out, due by December 21st.
Season tickets for Mizzou baseball can be purchased through the Mizzou Athletics Ticket Office by calling 1-800-CAT-PAWS or logging onto At just $60 for adults and $30, fans can see every game at Mizzou for just $2 per game (adults) and $1 per game (youth) this season, making it one of the best ticket packages in the SEC. (

Official Tickets page

Seating at Taylor Stadium

The lower section at Taylor Stadium contains bucket-style seat-back chairs.  This is where all the season ticket holders' reserved seats are located.  Those seats are not marked as reserved, so be ready to move if a season ticket holder tells you you're in his seat.

The upper section is all bleacher seating, as is the right field line extended section.  In theory, this is where general admission ticket holders are supposed to sit.  In reality, sit where you want.  If you don't ask the Event Staff to show you to your seat, they'll never know.

Concessions at Taylor Stadium

You aren't allowed to bring in your own food or drink to the game, but there are concessions.  The concession stand (for large crowds there are two concession stands) sell pretty standard ballpark fare:  hot dogs, brats, cheeseburgers, nachos, pop corn, etc.  Nothing too exciting or unusual, but what they have is good.

I recommend the Heater Dog, which features blue cheese slaw and hot sauce on a hot dog.

Taylor Stadium Rules
  • No alcohol is sold or allowed inside Taylor Stadium.  And unlike some SEC ballparks, there's no Left field Lounge or similar area to legally imbibe within sight of the playing field.  We come to the ballpark for the baseball.

  • Foul balls and home run balls:  The rule on caught or retrieved balls seems to change each season, and even changes during the season.  For the past few years the rule has been that all baseballs should be returned to the Event Staff.  They will come and get it from you.  But every year that rule is applied selectively depending on which Event Staff person is involved and who has the ball int heir hands.

    And then there was the ball hawk who began snagging stray baseballs during the 2012 season and got his story in the paper, which prompted this response from the assistant director of game operations:
    “We try to get back as many foul balls as we can, but we don’t go and yank them out of people’s hands,” Doolittle said. “If we lose a handful, a dozen a game, it’s not the end of the world for us.”
  • Heckling:  There are the usual NCAA warnings before the game about showing disrespect to opposing players.  But no one's going to shut you down unless you become so rude or obscene that someone within earshot complains to the Event Staff.

    I highly recommend heckling according to the 10 Commandment of Heckling, by Christ Snead.

  • No umbrellas allowed, no matter how nasty the weather.

  • No smoking inside the gates of Taylor Stadium.  This one is enforced.

  • More detailed list of stadium rules HERE
If you want to know the nitty gritty details about Tickets, Directions, Parking, and Listening to the Game, check out our FAQ.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

SxSE: Rocky Top

Lindsey Nelson Stadium:
  • Opened: 1993
  • Capacity: 3,800
  • Named after: Lindsey Nelson, Volunteer alum and New York Mets play-by-play announcer

from Project Phantom
Why "Volunteers"?

Tennessee acquired the name "The Volunteer State" during the War of 1812. At the request of
President James Madison, Gen. Andrew Jackson, who later became President himself, mustered 1,500 from his home state to fight at the Battle of New Orleans.

The name became even more prominent in the Mexican War when Gov. Aaron V. Brown issued a call for 2,800 men to battle Santa Ana and some 30,000 Tennesseans volunteered. Tennessee's color guard still wears dragoon uniforms of that era at all athletic events.

The term "Volunteer State," as noted through these two events, recognizes the long-standing tradition of Tennesseans to go above and beyond the call of duty when their country calls. The name "Volunteers" is often shortened to "Vols" in describing Tennessee's athletic teams.(

Is Volunteers Baseball headed into a new golden age?
  • From RockyTopTalk, June 2007, following the firing of longtime head coach Rod Delmonico:
    Delmonico will be remembered for directing the Volunteers to College World Series appearances in 1995, 2001 and 2005. But his legacy also will include feast-or-famine seasons that thinned support for the baseball program, which missed the NCAA tournament seven of the past 10 years.
    . . .
    Most Vol baseball fans have had an opinion on Delmonico for some time now. Personally I've never been a big fan of the guy. I've felt sorry for players I think he misused (like R.A. Dickey, whose arm is now held together with duct tape), but mostly I've never felt like Tennessee baseball -- even in the good years -- was fun. And if you can't look forward to enjoying a day at the ballpark, something's wrong. 
  • From, April 2012
    But in less than a year on campus, Dave Serrano is now doing something that might ease the offseason pain just a bit. A Tennessee Baseball program that was completely irrelevant on campus during the entire reign of Todd Raleigh now finds itself in the midst of a meaningful SEC campaign. . . . What does appear to be a guarantee is that Serrano has this program going the right way in a hurry. The Vols have gone from irrelevant to competitive in less than a year, led by young talent like Drew Steckenrider, Will Maddox, Zack Godley, and Nick Blount. This Tennessee team is scrappy, an always-lovable quality on the diamond.
♦ Conditioning Coach Brian Gearity Video on the University of Tennessee Baseball Experience

Best All-Time SEC Baseball Player (
While there are numerous notable Southeastern Conference college baseball standouts, the best all-time SEC baseball player is one who is still playing the game at the professional level. Todd Helton of Knoxville, Tennessee entered Major League Baseball play as a member of the Colorado Rockies since the 1997 season. But, before that he was the star first baseman (and pitcher) for the Tennessee Volunteers.
. . .
In 1995, Todd Helton was named the National Collegiate Player of the Year and before he would begin a career with the Colorado Rockies, he would leave Tennessee with a large collection of honors. These included the Dick Howser Player of the Year Award; The Collegiate Baseball’s Co-National Player of the Year; and, the Southeastern Conference’s Male Athlete of the Year Award (only second baseball player to ever win that). He was a first-team All-American two years in a row. Helton won numerous other awards – too many to recount all of them here.

Helton became a well-known and important member of the Tennessee team, as he helped lead the Volunteers to three straight NCAA Regional appearances, as well as a 3rd-place finish at the 1995 College World Series. Helton was named MVP of the SEC Baseball Tournament three years in a row.

The most successful and stable sport at Tennessee is women's basketball. Women's basketball coach Pat Summit has the most wins in NCAA history, and has won 8 national titles.  She announced her retirement in April, due to health issues.  Knoxville is the site of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

2013 Mizzou Recruit: RHP Silas Bohannan

LeviPayton on Twitter: It's official. Neosho's Silas Bohannan signed today to pitch at Mizzou. Bohannan is 6'4 and has topped at 98. #Tigers

6'4", 250 lb, R/R
North Central Missouri College (Trenton, MO)/Neosho, MO

2011 Pitching: 1-1; 0.90 ERA; 1 SV; 20 IP; 29 APP; 7 R, 2 ER, 17 SO, 8 BB
2011 Offense: .295 BA; 6 2B; 14 RBI; 1 HR

Bohannan signs with Mizzou (Kirksville Daily Express)
The 6-foot-4, 255-pound right handed pitcher, who split time at first base and designated hitter for Donnie Hillerman’s North Central Missouri College Pirates, signed a National Letter of Intent on Sunday to further his baseball career at the University of Missouri where he’ll put away the bat and pitch for Tim Jamieson’s Tigers.

Bohannan, who recently had his story featured in the Daily News, has turned heads this winter after getting his fastball into the upper-90’s, recently touching 98 m.p.h. during the NCMC alumni game. Also known as “Sibo,” Bohannan has since agreed with a draft advisor and quickly began gaining interest from multiple top Division-I baseball programs before quickly selecting the Tigers.
98 mph fastball gets Bohannan noticed (Greenfield Vedette)
But Bohannan trudged on with the same will and determination that consumed him in high school. He worked harder than ever during the offseason, and that hard work was magnified when he returned to the mound this fall and began to set the radar gun ablaze.

First, he reached 94. Then, at the NCMCC alumni game two weeks ago, Bohannan turned the buzz into a full-fledged frenzy. When his work was completed, Bohannan asked for the radar gun readings: 95, 96, 96, 96 … 98.
Catching Up With Silas Bohannon (
There’s been some draft buzz around you lately, how are you preparing for the draft?

It’s really exciting, but I still have to go out and work hard and make sure I get better everyday. I have made changes where I can now throw my change up and cutter for strikes. I’m no longer just a fastball pitcher.

If you could attend one event in history, what would it be and why? If you could take 3 people with you, who would they be and why?

I would attend Felix Hernandez’s perfect game with my dad, mom, and my grandpa. King Felix has been my favorite pitcher since he came up at such a young age and a perfect game is a rare feat.

Mizzou Baseball in the Minors: Kyle Gibson added to Twins 40-man roster

♦ Former Missouri Baseball pitcher Kyle Gibson was moved from the AAA Rochester roster to the Minnesota Twins' 40-man roster on Tuesday.
Outfielder Aaron Hicks and right-hander Kyle Gibson were among eight players added to the Minnesota Twins' 40-man roster on Tuesday. (

Tuesday was the deadline for teams to add players to the 40-man, protecting those eligible from the Dec. 6 Rule 5 draft. Beyond Gibson and Hicks, the Twins added six others: catcher Josmil Pinto, shortstop Daniel Santana, starting pitcher B.J. Hermsen and relievers Michael Tonkin, Caleb Thielbar and Tim Wood. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

Each Major League Baseball team maintains both a 25-man roster and a 40-man roster of players. Players on the 25-man roster are eligible to play in official major league games throughout the season. The 40-man roster includes the players on the 25-man roster plus as many as 15 players who are either on the team's 7- or 15-day disabled list (see below), who are on paternity leave for up to 3 days, or who are in the team's minor league system. From September 1 through the end of the regular season, any player on the 40-man roster (also referred to as the "expanded roster") is eligible to play in an official regular season game. Many young players make their Major League debuts in this way, as "September call-ups." (Wikipedia)
♦ Kyle Gibson discusses the long road to this point, including his decision to play baseball at Mizzou, in  Kyle Gibson: Ready to prove he has the right stuff (Minneapolis Star Tribune)
"I was really skinny and didn't really throw that hard," Gibson said. "I think senior year, I was throwing 86-91 [miles per hour], so it wasn't like I was a super prospect."

Gibson chose to attend Missouri, defying his father, who thought he should sign with the Phillies.

"I was so upset with him," Harold Gibson said. "We hardly talked for a week. I said, 'Do you know how many kids would kill to be in your position?' He said, 'Dad, I don't want to go to the minors. I want to go to the majors.'"

Gibson knew he wasn't physically ready for professional baseball. He got taller and filled out his slender frame at Missouri. By his junior year, he was listed as a potential top-10 draft pick.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Missouri Baseball in the Minors: AZ Fall League

♦ Former Mizzou Baseball pitcher Matt Stites is one of a Pair of Padres Relievers Sharp in Fall League (
Stites continued that success in the Fall League, posting a 3.21 ERA in 12 games with 15 strikeouts in 14 innings.

"He's just been very consistent from the day he put on a uniform," [Padres GM Randy] Smith said. "He's got three pitches for a short reliever, and he throws strikes. He's got good stuff and throws it over the plate. His fastball is good and the slider and changeup are also good. He just needs to use them a little more."

Stites has what Smith calls a "plus-plus fastball," a pitch that typically sits between 93 and 95 mph. He touched 99 mph during the regular season.
♦ Another Mizzou Baseball pitching alum was watched closely in the AFL: Gibson's health passes key test in Fall League (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said Gibson will be back in big-league camp next spring, just as the righthander was in 2011 before injuring his elbow that year at Class AAA Rochester.

"I'm pleased that he's healthy," Ryan said. "That was the whole objective, to get him back on the mound and get him some work. We're pleased to get him up around 70-80 innings [cumulative, for the year]."
Click HERE to read our end-of-season Missouri Baseball in the Minors comprehensive review, including updated complete Arizona Fall League Stats for Stites, Gibson, and Tyler Clark..

SxSE: Knoxville, Tennessee

Leaving Columbia, SC, we start heading back west to Knoxville, TN.  (Isn't it odd how many of the SEC towns are 'Villes?).

♦ Knoxville is the 6th closest SEC town to Columbia, 609 miles away (505 air miles).  Tennessee is in the SEC East Division.

♦ There is an active Knoxville Chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association

Fun facts about Knoxville, TN:
  • 2010 population: 178,874 (metropolitan area 655,400)

  • The Cherokee people called the Knoxville area kuwanda'talun'yi, which means "Mulberry Place."

  • The citizens of Knoxville were bitterly divided over the questions of slavery and secession leading up to the Civil War.
  • In 1948, Mountain Dew was first marketed in Knoxville, originally intended as a mixer for whiskey. (

  • In its May 2003 "20 Most Rock & Roll towns in the U.S." feature, Blender Magazine ranked Knoxville the 17th best music scene in the United States. In the ’90s, noted alternative-music critic Ann Powers, author of Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America, referred to Knoxville as "Austin without the hype". (
Al Gore
Tennessee alum
♦ There are 10 Chik-fil-a locations in Knoxville.  13 if you count all the suburbs.

♦ Knoxville is the site of the War Dog Memorial, commemorating all the dogs that served in World War II.'s SEC Bucket List: Knoxville
#47 Ye Olde Steakhouse: The Ye Olde Steak House is one of Knoxville’s oldest and most popular fixtures, located five miles south of the downtown Henley Street Bridge since 1968. The family restaurant began with Bunt and Helen King and has stayed in the family for nearly fifty years now. Bunt passed away in 1987, and his wife Helen passed away in 2003 but their children and their grandchildren still operate the restaurant today.

The Steak House has won multiple awards in its 43 years of business including being recognized as one of the top 100 things about Tennessee Football, Best Kept Secrets of the Smokies, the Atlanta Journal named it ‘one of the three best places to dine after football games’, and in 1992, The Montgomery Alabama Journal named Ye Olde Steak House the #1 Restaurant in the Southeastern Conference. For fourteen consecutive years the Knoxville Metro Pulse has named Ye Olde Steak House the #1 steakhouse in Knoxville.

Monday, November 19, 2012

You Make the Call: Tiger Newcomer of the Year

Which of the Tiger newcomers do you think will have the greatest impact on the team over the next 1-4 years?

At the left is the latest "You Make the Call" poll, where you get to... well... make the call.

You may vote for more than one player.

Vote early. Vote often. If you can figure out how to get around the restrictions against stuffing the ballot box.

Who's on First: St. Louis Newcomers

There are 11 players on the Fall Roster from the St. Louis area.  Last week we took a look at the veterans; this week we take a quick look at the newcomers:

Peter Fairbanks
♦ Freshman RHP Peter Fairbanks, Webster Groves HS, St. Louis, MO

  • 2012 Offensive Stats: .393 (24-for-61), 17 R, 24 H, 13 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 21 RBI
  • Pete is the son of former Tiger Shane Fairbanks ('80-'83)

Griff Goodrich
♦ Freshman RHP Griffin Goodrich, Kirkwood HS, MO

  • 2012 Pitching Stats:  4-1, 1.41 ERA, 8 GP, 7 GS, 4 CG, 39.7 IP, 16 R, 8 ER, 31 H, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 13 BB, 53 K 

Gerrion Grim (with former Mizzou student)
♦ Freshman RHP/DH Gerrion Grim, Fort Zumwalt South HS, St. Charles, MO

  • 2012 Pitching Stats:  3-5, 2.90 ERA, 13 GP, 11 GS, 5 CG, 72.3 IP, 2 SV, 41 R, 30 R, 61 H, 14 2B, 2 3B, 0 HR, 46 BB, 94 K
  • 2012 Offensive Stats: .423 (41-for-97), .529 OB%, .680 SLG, 26 R, 3 2B, 5 3B, 4 HR, 33 RBI, 22 BB, 18 K, 3/4 SB

Eric Kroupa
♦ Freshman C Eric Kroupa, Parkway South HS, Manchester, MO

  • 2012 Offensive Stats: .461 (35-for-76), .564 OB%, .592 SLG, 26 R, 25 RBI, 10 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 20 RBI, 14 BB, 11 K
  • Kroupa will have to get past Patrick Quintanilla and JuCo transfer Dylan Kelly, among others, to earn innings as a catcher.

Sean Ullrich
♦ Freshman OF Sean Ullrich, Marquette HS, Ballwin, MO

  • 2012 Stats: .378 (31-for-82), .505 OB%, .573 SLG, 18 R, 8 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 20 RBI, 18 BB, 8 K, 14/16 SB
  • There are many candidates for time in the outfield, and Ullrich will have to show he has the speed and the offense to earn his time in the mix.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball: Simmons Field Weather

Yes, Missouri is now the northernmost and coldest location in SEC Baseball.

Taylor Stadium @ Simmons Field has a unique quality somewhat like entering the Bermuda Triangle of Weather.  Everyone who has been to many games there will tell you the same thing.  Whatever the temperature is in Columbia - in fact, whatever the temperature is in Taylor Stadium parking lot - when you walk up the steps to the grandstand and enter the interior of the ballpark, you can feel the temperature drop 5-10 degrees.

From our perspective, the potential for cold and harsh weather in March and April isn't grounds for excuse making.  It's an opportunity for home field advantage.  If we wanted to use the cold weather as an excuse, we'd have moved to the B1G Ten, like Nebraska.

Those of us who have been coming to Mizzou Baseball games for a long time take a perverse pleasure and pride in the conditions we have endured for the sake of the game.  Some of my most cherished memories at Simmons Field are related to the weather.
  • Before the new Taylor Stadium was built up around Simmons Field, the winds roaring up The Summit out of Reactor Field could be quite fierce.  I'm not exaggerating when I say I have had to hold on tight to the bleacher seats in order to keep from getting blown into the next few rows (and if you've seen me, you'll know I come equipped with plenty of natural ballast). I was on hand for the wild game in April of 1996 at Simmons Field that finished with Mizzou defeating the Cowboys 24-23, the lead see-sawing back forth as the gale force winds took many balls over the fences.

  • I once watched the better part of a game from beneath the grand stand bleachers with MU catcher Jon Williams' dad, seeking what protection we could from the light rain that continued through much of the contest.

  • I recall showing up for a freezing Saturday double header against Oklahoma in the late 90's armed with a tarp and bungee cords.  I built myself a little tent in the upper corner of the grandstand and watched the games through a small opening.

  • From 2003 through 2005 the annual March home stand was scheduled to begin with a 3-game set against the Youngstown State Penguins.  Every year, the aptly named Penguins would bring snow and sleet and frigid temperatures to Columbia with them, delaying, postponing and cancelling games.  Finally the Tigers stopped inviting them.  The photos above are from one of those MU-YSU snow-delays.

  • Perhaps my favorite weather-related story is from April 7, 2001 (I remember the exact date of that Friday night game because it was on my wife's birthday; I was at the game while she had a girls' night out, a mutually beneficial arrangement we have followed on many April 7ths since then).  The Pepperdine Waves from sunny Malibu were in Columbia for a weekend series.  This was the team that included future major league pitchers Dan Haren and Noah Lowry.  The weather was cool at game time and got worse from that point on.  During the nine-inning game players and fans alike experienced rain, sleet and snow along with steadily dropping temperatures and steady winds.  The Beach Boys from Malibu had one of those jet-engine style blast heaters in their dugout, but they were still shivering and grumbling.  We fans, of course, had come dressed sensibly in a couple dozen layers of clothing, and we thoroughly enjoyed heckling the frozen Waves.  the Tigers won that game 9-5 and came back on Saturday to win 13-4.
Actually, the most extreme weather the Baseball Tigers have endured has been at places other than their home turf.  I can remember twice when a game has been interrupted by tornadoes touching down in very near proximity to the ballpark . . . in O'Fallon, MO (near St. Louis) and in Norman , Oklahoma this past season.  I'm told the heat in Arizona's new stadium at the 2012 Tucson Regional was more daunting than any adverse conditions at Taylor Stadium.  And for several consecutive years the Tigers began their season playing a tournaments in the minor league complexes in Arizona only to lose games to torrential rainfall in one of the driest states in the nation.

One of the most common comments I've heard about the difficulties Mizzou Baseball will face in the SEC is that they will be the only cold-weather school in a warm-weather conference.

Missouri certainly will be the northernmost school in the SEC.  The stats below demonstrate that the difference is not as large as it might seem, though, between Columbia, MO, and Lexington, Fayetteville, Knoxville and Nashville.

The information below demonstrates that while Columbia, MO is, on average, the coolest SEC location in the SEC during the college baseball season, there are other schools that are not much better off.  Then again, the next two coolest SEC towns are the site of perpetual SEC Baseball cellar dwellers Kentucky and Tennessee.

An alternate way of looking at these numbers, though, is that Mizzou recruits can be guaranteed to play a large number of their conference games at warm-weather sites.  And recruits from Mizzou's most fertile recruiting areas (Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, the Chicago area) may actually prefer to play in what they will see as moderate Missouri rather than down in teh Sun Belt.

Each school is listed below with their hometown and the Average HIGH, Average LOW and Average precipitation during the months of the college baseball season.  Also I've calculated an average of those Highs and Lows.  Obviously this is not a true average temperature during those four months, but serves us as a simple number for comparison.   Schools are listed from warmest to coolest.  Source:

Florida (Gainesville, FL)
February: 70 HI / 40 LO / 3.32"
March: 75 HI / 50 LO / 4.33"
April: 80 HI / 55 LO / 2.67"
May: 87 HI / 62 LO / 2.48"
Season: 78 HI / 52 LO
Texas A&M (College Station, TX)
February: 65 HI / 45 LO / 2.95"
March: 72 HI / 51 LO / 3.17"
April: 79 HI / 58 LO / 2.66"
May: 86 HI / 67 LO / 4.33"
Season: 75 HI / 55 LO
Louisiana State (Baton Rouge, LA)
February: 65 HI / 43 LO / 5.44"
March: 72 HI / 49 LO / 4.33"
April: 78 HI / 56 LO / 4.26"
May: 85 HI / 65 LO / 4.70"
Season: 75 HI / 53 LO
South Carolina (Columbia, SC)
February: 63 HI / 41 LO / .391"
March: 71 HI / 47 LO / 4.21"
April: 80 HI / 54 LO / 2.66"
May: 87 HI / 63 LO / 3.00"
Season: 75 HI / 51 LO
Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)
February: 59 HI / 36 LO / 5.06"
March: 66 HI / 43 LO / 6.49"
April: 74 HI / 49 LO / 4.96"
May: 81 HI / 58 LO /4.54"
Season: 70 HI / 46 LO
Georgia (Athens, GA)
February: 58 HI / 36 LO / 4.54"
March: 66 HI / 43 LO / 4.43"
April: 74 HI / 49 LO / 3.15"
May: 82 HI / 58 LO / 3.00"
Season: 70 HI / 46 LO
Mississippi State (Starkville, MS)
February: 58 HI / 34 LO / 5.91"
March: 66 HI / 41 LO / 4.85"
April: 74 HI / 50 LO / 4.94"
May: 82 HI / 59 LO / 4.58"
Season: 70 HI / 46 LO
Auburn (Auburn, AL)
February: 59 HI / 35 LO / 5.51"
March: 67 HI / 41 LO / 6.23"
April: 74 HI / 47 LO / 4.30"
May: 81 HI / 57 LO / 3.38"
Season: 70 HI / 45 LO
Ole Miss (Oxford, MS)
February: 56 HI / 33 LO / 5.54"
March: 65 HI / 40 LO / 4.99"
April: 74 HI / 48 LO / 5.40"
May: 81 HI / 59 LO / 6.00"
Season: 69 HI / 45 LO
Vanderbilt (Nashville, TN)
February: 52 HI / 32 LO / 4.08"
March: 61 HI / 39 LO / 4.11"
April: 71 HI / 48 LO / 4.00"
May: 78 HI / 57 LO / 5.50"
Season: 65 HI / 44 LO
Tennessee ( Knoxville, TN)
February: 52 HI / 30 LO / 4.80"
March: 61 HI / 36 LO / 4.54"
April: 70 HI / 44 LO / 4.31"
May: 78 HI / 53 LO / 4.80"
Season  : 65 HI / 41 LO
♦ Arkansas (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
February: 51 HI / 30 LO / 2.49"
March: 59 HI / 38 LO / 4.02"
April: 69 HI / 47 LO / 4.30"
May: 76 HI / 56 LO / 5.20"
Season: 64 HI / 43 LO<
Kentucky (Lexington, KY)
February: 46 HI / 28 LO / 3.51"
March: 55 HI / 36 LO / 4.07"
April: 66 HI / 45 LO / 3.60"
May: 74 HI / 54 LO / 5.26"
Season: 60 HI / 41 LO
Mizzou (Columbia, MO)
February: 44 HI / 25 LO / 2.34"
March: 55 HI / 34 LO / 2.91"
April: 66 HI / 44 LO / 4.49"
May: 75 HI / 54 LO / 4.98"
Season: 60 HI / 39 LO

Friday, November 16, 2012

NLI Signing Week: Word on the Tweet


Jordan Getzelman signs

Wolf Prints: #PrairieRidge baseball: Jordan Getzelman signed to play with Missouri.

Merriman: #OfficiallyaTiger #jakebrentz #proud #baseball

Kevin Coe: Regynold Johnson inked with Missouri. ACE member since 16. @PerfectGameUSA @whitesox

Thursday, November 15, 2012

2013 Schedule: 50 games and counting

Eastern Michigan, Jackson State, and Murray State are the latest additions we've found to Mizzou's 2013 schedule.

We've been piecing together the 2013 schedule. We've got 50 of the maximum 56 game schedule, as listed below.
♦ 2013 tentative schedule:
2/15-2/17 - @ Southern Mississippi
2/22-2/24 - @ Memphis
3/1/-3/3 - Northwestern @ MU
3/6-3/7 - Eastern Michigan @ MU (X2)
3/8-3/10 - San Francisco@ MU
3/12 - Jackson State @ MU
3/15-3/17 South Carolina @ MU
3/22-3/24 @ Tennessee
3/29-3/31 LSU@ MU
4/2  Missouri vs. Illinois @ Busch Stadium, StL
4/5-4/7 @ Georgia
4/9 @ Missouri State
4/12-4/14 @ Vanderbilt
4/17 Missouri State @ MU
4/19-4/21 Florida @ MU
4/23 - Murray State @ MU
4/26-4/28 Auburn @ MU
4/30 Southeast Missouri @ MU
5/3-5/5 @ Texas A&M
5/10-5/12 @ Alabama
5/16-5/18 Kentucky @ MU 
5/21-5/26 SEC Tournament

SxSE: South Carolina Gamecocks Baseball, 1895-2012

South Carolina has become not only a College World Series program, but a College World Series finals program over the past few years.  Ray Tanner has developed this program to the point where a trip to the College World Series is expected annually, and the only surprise would be if they don't make it to the finals.  Over the past 10 years the Gamecocks' average W-L record has been 47-20.

South Carolina played its first intercollegiate baseball game in 1895.  The team has about 24 different coaches from 1895 through 1969.  Billy Laval managed a .728 record during seven seasons from 1928-1934, during which he was also the school's football coach.  But otherwise the team was unexceptional prior to the 70's.

Former professional baseball star Bobby Richardson took over the reigns from 1970-1976 and led the Gamecocks through the beginning of an era of success that has continued to grows since Richardson's tenure.  He finished with a 221-92-1 record and took the team to the NCAA Tournament three times, and made it to the national championship game of the College World Sries in 1975, losing to Texas.

June Raines took over and led the team from 1977 through 1996, compiling a 763-380-2.  Raines took the team to 11 NCAA Tournaments and 4 College World Series.

Ray Tanner took over in 1997 and has built on the program built by Richardson and Raines.  During his tenure the Gamecocks have been in the NCAA Tournament in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. They have been to the College World Series in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011 and 2012. They were runners-up in 2002 and 2012, and won the national championship two years in a row, in 2010 and 2011.

Notable South Carolina Ballplayers
2012 South Carolina Baseball

The 2012 Gamecocks compiles a 49-20 record, 18-11 in the SEC.  The hosted and won a Regional and Super Regional, and went all the way to the College World Series finals, where they lost to Arizona in 2 straight games.

No 3-peat but future looks bright for Gamecock baseball (The Times and Democrat)
Monday’s 4-1 loss to Arizona may have denied South Carolina a three-peat, but its run to the national championship series demonstrated that the future is exceptionally bright. USC will have three-quarters of the infield back with second baseman Chase Vergason, third baseman LB Dantzler and shortstop Joey Pankake returning in 2013. Infielders Erik Payne and Connor Bright could earn expanded roles in 2013, as well. Kyle Martin was designated Christian Walker’s successor at first base early in the campaign as he displayed outstanding hitting skills. The Gamecocks also appear set behind the plate with catcher Grayson Greiner. Tanner English is expected to move to center field, his more natural position, to replace Evan Marzilli, while TJ Costen figures to have a more prominent role next season in the outfield. Right field will likely be the biggest question mark when fall practice starts. Sean Sullivan, a rising senior who came up with several clutch hits this season, could compete for that job.
Team overcomes early obstacles, high expectations (Daily Gamecock)
The champions are the ones who are immortalized. For them, songs are written and parades are held. But what about the ones who come afterward? Those who have to follow in the footsteps of the great ones? Carrying the burden of the bulls-eye may be the most difficult feat in all of sports. More often than not, the squad that must step out from a previous team's shadow fails to live up to inflated expectations. There are Gamecock fans that know all about this. They watched USC's football team in 1984 go 10-2, which was the best season in school history at that point. The 1985 squad proceeded to go 5-6. History is a hard act to follow. That's what makes the 2012 South Carolina baseball team so impressive. Expectations for Gamecock baseball were never higher. Two consecutive national titles, 16 consecutive wins at the NCAA tournament, 11 in a row at the College World Series. Trips to Omaha were no longer asked for; they were demanded.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NLI Signing Week Begins Today


Here is the list of the expected verbal commitments we've compiled to date.  There may be other recruits we've missed who will sign.
Devin Williams RHP
photo from Perfect Game

Cole Bartlett, RHP/SS (Hagerstown HS, IN)

Jake Brentz, 1B/OF (Parkway South, StL)

Jared Fosdick, LHP (Hazelwood West, StL)

Jordan Getzelman, OF (Prairie Ridge HS, IL)

Ryan Howard, SS/RHP (Francis Howell Central HS, StL)

Regynold Johnson, Jr, RHP/C (Marian Catholic, Chicago Heights, IL)

Jake Ring, CF/LHP (Grant HS, Fox Lake, IL)

Jack Klages, C (Vianney HS, StL)

Devin Williams, RHP/OF (Hazelwood West, StL)


Dan Pietroburgo: Exciting day for @MUTigerBaseball! Today we officially welcome our first #SEC signing class! '13 class going to do big things in CoMo! #MIZ

Devin Williams (Nov. 12): in 2 days I'll officially be a Missouri Tiger ! hard work and gifts from the man above have gotten me here .. #trulyblessed

Jack Klages: Officially a Missouri Tiger!!!

Ryan Howard: Will be officially a mizzou tiger Thursday! Signing my national letter of intent to play baseball there! #pumped

Stl Pirates: Devin Williams ranked 39th and Jake Brentz at 64 in Baseball America's top 100 prospect list. Congrats! Now the real work starts. EPP!

Vianney Baseball: Congrats to Vianney Baseball players on signing today. Matt Brown with Arkansas and Jack Klages with Missouri.
Jack Klages (in Mizzou gold)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

100 Days Until Mizzou Baseball 2013 Season Begins

100 days from now the Missouri Tigers will begin their 2013 season in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, playing the Southern Mississippi U Golden Eagles.

2014 Mizzou Recruit: 2B/SS Shane Benes

Shane Benes, 2B/SS
6'2", 190 lb, R/R
Westminster Christian Academy (StL)

♦ Junior middle infielder Shane Benes commits to Mizzou for the class of 2014

♦ From  The son of former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Andy Benes, the younger Benes had a breakout season as a sophomore in helping the Wildcats win their second straight Missouri Class 3 title. In addition to his outstanding defense, he batted .364 with 12 doubles, three triples, two home runs, 49 RBI, 31 runs, .444 OBP and .582 slugging percentage.

Future Games Preview: Shane Benes a MIF from Westminster Academy Prep Baseball Report)
On a team that is loaded and won consecutive Class Three state championships, Shane Benes emerged as a team leader and driving force in accomplishing the championship level play at Westminster Christian HS.

Last season, Benes cracked the starting line up as a sophomore, with a .364 batting average, twelve doubles, three triples, two home runs and forty-nine RBIS. Benes’ RBI total was good enough for second best in the St. Louis Metro area, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see him in the top spot next season, as he will hit in the heart of the strong Westminster offense.
In the field, Benes can play any infield position, though he is primarily a middle infielder. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder will see time at second base, shortstop, and third base at the Midwest Futures Games.
. . .
Shane Benes flexed his muscles with two home runs in game one of the Midwest Future Games, and drove in four over the course of the weekend, finishing with three hits and four RBIs. Defensively Benes is a smooth fielding shortstop with good footwork and a accurate arm, who is versatile enough to play second or third.

SxSE: Coach Ray Tanner's Chad Holbrook's South Carolina Gamecocks

Ray Tanner has been the head baseball coach at USC since 1997, making him the longest tenured coach in the SEC.  Or he was, until Tim Jamieson arrived, who has been at Missouri since 1995.  And before he left the job to take the job of Athletic Director at South Carolina.

He turned the head coaching job over to his chief assistant, Chad Holbrook.

The Guy After the Guy (Gamecock Central)
There won't be a change from how the Gamecocks have approached the game. It was Holbrook's style since he arrived that changed USC into its present incarnation - aggressive at the plate, relying more on speed and bunting than in years past, plus powerful pitching. He recruited the bulk of the team, if not all of it, and it will be fully his team that takes the field in 2013.

But now comes the hard part. As good as Holbrook has been and as positive a situation as it is to walk into, Holbrook now becomes "The Guy."

As in, "The Guy who has to follow THE GUY."
. . .
Holbrook will lose some games. Eventually, there will come a year when USC doesn't make it to Omaha. The fans will have to decide the line for what's acceptable (to them) and what becomes, "Well, RAY never would have … "

Holbrook knows all of it. He also knows that he faces double the pressure, because not only did the guy ahead of him do something that had never been done at USC before in any sport - i.e., be a consistent national power - but the same guy is still around. And is Holbrook's boss, which isn't unfamiliar, but now he's also the boss of the entire athletic department.

The X's and O's of the job seem to have already been answered. Holbrook's stamp is on the program. What he has to try and replicate is Tanner's uncanny knack of making the right moves, as unexpected as they may seem to be. The intuition Tanner showed often bordered on the supernatural and if he didn't become AD, I would have suggested that he go start picking winners down at the track.

Chad Holbrook takes over South Carolina baseball program after Ray Tanner becomes athletic director (Post and Courier)
Ray Tanner, interested in becoming an athletic director, frequently engaged former South Carolina AD Eric Hyman in chats about multi-task administration. Chad Holbrook, one of the top recruiters in college baseball and a big part of the Gamecocks’ back-to-back national titles, was groomed to take over for Tanner as head coach.
. . .
Holbrook was Tanner’s top assistant coach the last four seasons. In the same capacity at North Carolina, Holbrook helped the Tar Heels reach the College World Series three years in a row, 2006-2008.

His latest recruiting success was a cast of newcomers who contributed heavily to South Carolina’s 2012 return to Omaha, Neb. The group includes Joey Pankake, Grayson Greiner, Jordan Montgomery, Evan Beal, LB Dantzler, Tanner English, Chase Vergason, Conner Bright, Kyle Martin and TJ Costen.

Chad Holbrook's USC Bio (
Holbrook came to the Gamecock program in July of 2008 after serving 15 seasons as a member of the University of North Carolina coaching staff. Holbrook was recently honored as the 2011 ABCA/Baseball America Assistant Coach of the Year.

A tremendous evaluator of talent, Holbrook recently was named the No. 10 best recruiter in all of college sports by ESPNU & ESPN The Magazine in the publication's 2011 January edition. The list was put together in conjunction with three-dozen experts who were asked the question: Who are the top 20 recruiters in college sports? Holbrook is the only baseball coach on the list.

Q&A on Gamecock Baseball with Chad Holbrook (
With the new bats we try to keep the ball out of the air as much as we can. We've hit way too many fly balls. In the past you could get away with it with the older bats but now you can't. Those fly balls just aren't getting out of the park. So we have to focus a little more on staying on top of the ball, hitting line drives and ground balls and putting pressure on the defense. If we do those things our batting average will go up and we'll be a bit tougher to defend. At times we've been pretty easy to defend with hitting balls in the air.
South Carolina Baseball: Max Schrock, Ryan Ripken and Kwinton Smith don't sign; will enroll at USC (
Chad Holbrook is a happy man these days.

He's about to be named the head baseball coach of a two-time national championship team and got good news Friday when several signees skipped signing MLB contracts and will enroll in school.

Max Schrock, Ryan Ripken and Kwinton Smith all decided not to sign contracts with the MLB teams that drafted them and will enroll at South Carolina in the fall.
. . .
This is another step in the right direction for the Gamecocks as they are about to embark under new leadership at the helm of Chad Holbrook. These three players, along with many others, will be challenged to continue the winning ways of Carolina baseball.
Holbrook has history as top recruiter (The Times and Democrat)
Holbrook’s offensive prowess has made an immediate impact on the South Carolina baseball program in his first four seasons. His guidance was instrumental in helping the Gamecocks to back-to-back national championships in 2010 and 2011 at the College World Series as well as a national runner-up finish in 2012.
. . .
Holbrook played a key role in 2011 MLB supplemental draft selection Jackie Bradley Jr.’s Gamecock career. In 2010 Bradley was a 2010 All-SEC selection and College World Series Most Outstanding Player. That season, Holbrook helped to oversee an offense that peaked in the postseason with a .309 batting average in 12 postseason contests. Evan Marzilli was the team’s top postseason hitter with a .419 average (18-for-43) with Walker right behind him at .389 (21-for-54) and Bradley hitting .348 with four HR and 17 RBI. Carolina finished the season with a .300 team batting average as well as a .392 on-base percentage. The squad’s 734 hits were second highest in the conference with the team also tallying 298 walks, 14th highest in the country.
. . .
As recruiting coordinator for the North Carolina program, Holbrook put together consecutive top 10 recruiting classes seasons that helped the Tar Heels in making three consecutive College World Series appearances. From 2006-2008, North Carolina led the nation in wins with 54 in 2006, 57 in 2007 and 54 in 2008. PG Cross Checker ranked his last UNC recruiting class No. 3 in the nation. Holbrook’s 2007 class ranked fourth in the nation by Baseball America with his 2006 class selected eighth in the country. Baseball America also ranked his 2004 class 11th in the nation with the publication naming the Tar Heels recruiting class of 2003 as the No. 1 group in the country. That 2003 class also tied for first in Collegiate Baseball’s recruiting rankings with South Carolina.

♦ Recruiting footprint:  Based on recent recruiting classes, Tanner and his coaches have tended to recruit heavily from South Carolina, and also Florida, Virginia, Georgia, North Carolina, and random recruits from NJ, NV, RI and PA.

This will likely not change much, since Chad Holbrook has been the chief recruiter for the Gamecocks for some time.

Two-minute drill with new South Carolina Gamecocks head baseball coach Chad Holbrook (Post and Courier)
How do you differ with Ray Tanner strategically?

“We are going to work really hard at some things with our hitters where maybe we didn’t do quite as good a job as we could have this last year. We want them to use the whole field and have a great two-strike approach, but Coach Tanner believes in those things as well. As far as managing the game, I like to hit-and-run and like to put pressure on the defense, but Coach Tanner does too.

And bunting?

“People say I brought the short game to Columbia. Well, the year before I got here I think Coach Tanner’s team led the SEC in sacrifice bunts.”

What will be your main focus, recruiting-wise?

“I just know we better have a strong pitching staff. If the other team doesn’t score, you don’t need as many runs to win.”

@cholbrook2, Chad Holbrook on Twitter

The way Ray Tanner did it:

Gamecocks flavor of the new times? (
The thread that binds them is motivation. Tanner preaches confidence, tenacity and resilience. Sound like any of those LSU teams that won two CWS crowns in the bottom of the ninth? 
“He (Bertman) was a tremendous influence on me,'' Tanner said. “Number one, Coach Bertman was a great motivator. He spent as much time (in 1996) motivating me as a coach as he did telling a guy how to throw a slider or how to hit. 
“There is adversity. It's a game of failure. A lot of things go wrong in baseball. The numbers are against you, really. You have to respect that. If you can get 27 outs, you still got a crack. That's the mentality we have when we get down. It doesn't always work out, but if you have that mind-set, you chances are better.'' 
Indeed, when the Gamecocks are down late, it's like a light comes on. They lost their pitching rotation from last year. They lost Jackie Bradley Jr. for a while. And here they are. 
“These guys have been able to survive,'' Tanner said. “One of the things we have in our program is ‘Win anyway.' There may be a negative comment or some adversity. That's when we say ‘Win anyway.'' It's 42 degrees and the wind's blowing out. Win anyway. 
“Never let a game go away. I've been criticized for pitching Matt Price in a certain situation, maybe the seventh. The mentality is, we're going to try and win it here. The ninth might not be when you win it.''
Tanner plays head games against Vandy (Gamecock Central)
The lineup came out, causing head-scratching and frantic checks to see if it was indeed accurate. It was.

Colby Holmes, junior right-hander who has never had a collegiate at-bat, was batting seventh at designated hitter for No. 7 South Carolina's first SEC tournament game on Wednesday.

As it turned out, the only bat Holmes picked up and swung was for his cuts in the on-deck circle. Once his actual turn at the plate came up, he went back to the dugout in favor of Kyle Martin.

It was a bit of a psychological effect for the Commodores. By placing a DH who obviously wasn't going to actually hit, coach Ray Tanner controlled a bit of the strategy that Vanderbilt could throw at him. He made it a situational spot - if the Gamecocks needed a bunt, they could put in their best bunter off the bench. If they had a chance to score with a long fly ball, they could go with a slugger. They could go right or left.

Vanderbilt did the same, putting pitcher Drew VerHagen in the starting DH spot before lifting him for Chris Harvey. The Commodores also did it in their opening game on Tuesday.

"I saw coach (Tim) Corbin (Tuesday) night, and I hadn't seen that before," Tanner said. "I had seen that some on the West Coast and said, 'You know what, that's a good play.' I took that out of coach Corbin's book."

The move paid off.

Martin beat out an infield nubber for a single in the second inning and moved to second when Chase Vergason was hit by a pitch. He scored when Tanner English laced a two-run single to left.
Casey, Ray and hunches (
The great Connie Mack once said of legendary New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel that he had never seen a man “who juggled his lineup so much and who played so many hunches so successfully.”

If the winningest manager in big league history was still stalking dugouts today in his trademark straw hat, he could say the same words about South Carolina coach Ray Tanner.
. . .
“I don’t think anybody could have managed our club like Casey did,” Don Larsen once said about his old manager, who also happened to be the same guy who gave Larsen, on a hunch, the ball in Game 5 of the 1956 World Series after he had blown a 6-0 lead in Game 2, being rewarded with the only perfect game in postseason history that day.

“He made what some people call stupid moves, but about eight or nine out of ten of them worked.”

For Tanner, it’s been more like ten out of ten have worked over these past few weeks. His hot streak has been a refreshing one, if for nothing more because it proves that it’s still possible in this day and age to win the old-school way rather than the nouveau riche “Moneyball” way.