♦ Mizzou Cribs, by Ashley Arp:
Be sure to check out the Mizzou Baseball YouTube page
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...
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."
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.” ...
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."
Can Knoxville, Tennessee become the hotbed of college baseball in the SEC?♦ Dave Serrano Exposed (rivals.com)
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.”
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.
|Max Scherzer strikes out Albert Pujols|
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.
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)
Baseball’s version of Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde, it seems that we never♦ 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
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...
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.♦ 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.
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...
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: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.
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)
|Sports Park at Mizzou|
Season tickets for Mizzou baseball can be purchased through the Mizzou Athletics Ticket Office by calling 1-800-CAT-PAWS or logging onto MUTigers.com. 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. (mutigers.com)
“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.”
|from Project Phantom|
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.(utsports.com)
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.
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.
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 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.♦ 98 mph fastball gets Bohannan noticed (Greenfield Vedette)
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.
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.♦ Catching Up With Silas Bohannon (neoshobaseball.com)
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.
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.
Outfielder Aaron Hicks and right-hander Kyle Gibson were among eight players added to the Minnesota Twins' 40-man roster on Tuesday. (1500ESPN.com)♦ 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)
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)
"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.
Stites continued that success in the Fall League, posting a 3.21 ERA in 12 games with 15 strikeouts in 14 innings.♦ Another Mizzou Baseball pitching alum was watched closely in the AFL: Gibson's health passes key test in Fall League (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
"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.
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.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..
"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]."
#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.
|Gerrion Grim (with former Mizzou student)|
February: 70 HI / 40 LO / 3.32"♦ Texas A&M (College Station, TX)
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
February: 65 HI / 45 LO / 2.95"♦ Louisiana State (Baton Rouge, LA)
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
February: 65 HI / 43 LO / 5.44"♦ South Carolina (Columbia, SC)
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
February: 63 HI / 41 LO / .391"♦ Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)
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
February: 59 HI / 36 LO / 5.06"♦ Georgia (Athens, GA)
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
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
February: 58 HI / 34 LO / 5.91"♦ Auburn (Auburn, AL)
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
February: 59 HI / 35 LO / 5.51"♦ Ole Miss (Oxford, MS)
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
February: 56 HI / 33 LO / 5.54"♦ Vanderbilt (Nashville, TN)
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
February: 52 HI / 32 LO / 4.08"♦ Tennessee ( Knoxville, TN)
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
February: 52 HI / 30 LO / 4.80"♦ Arkansas (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
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
February: 51 HI / 30 LO / 2.49"♦ Kentucky (Lexington, KY)
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<
February: 46 HI / 28 LO / 3.51"♦ Mizzou (Columbia, MO)
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
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
|Jordan Getzelman signs|
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
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.
|Devin Williams RHP|
photo from Perfect Game
|Jack Klages (in Mizzou gold)|
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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 (lifeofagamecock.com)
Chad Holbrook is a happy man these days.♦ Holbrook has history as top recruiter (The Times and Democrat)
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.
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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’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.
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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.
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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.
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.
“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.”
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.♦ Casey, Ray and hunches (StateUniversity.com)
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.
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.
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“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.