Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 9 Mizzou Baseball Stories of 2012

9. Tigers on Deck

The 2012 season saw the creation of a new student fan group for Mizzou Baseball, Tigers on Deck.  Their goal is to develop a student section at Taylor Stadium and promote an SEC-type game day atmosphere. Theyy're already working on big plans to get the student body excited about the 2013 season.
8. Recruiting brings huge results for the Tigers.
Mizzou hung onto most of their 2012 recruiting class, losing just two draftees to the pro ranks.   But the hung on to 2nd round draft pick Alec Rash, who chose the Missouri Tigers over the Philadelphia Phillies.  They followed that up with a great 2014 signing class in November's early signing period.
7. Offensive milestones
Dane Opel led the Big 12 in home runs for part of the season; Blake Brown had the longest hitting streak in the Big 12 in 2012, with 21 consecutive games;  Brannon Champagne matched a Mizzou record by reaching base in 32 consecutive games; BEn Turner caught 93% of Mizzou's innings in 2012.
6. Jake Walsh comeback 
Jake Walsh's walk-on song was Eminem's Cinderella Man, a tribute to his rags-to-riches comeback.  In 2011 he was the ace pitcher on the Mizzou Club Team, and in 2012 he roared back to be one of the most reliable pitchers in the Tiger bullpen, posting the team's 3rd best ERA at 3.44, leading the pitching staff in appearances.
5. Gavin Stark's ESPN tumble
First baseman Gavin Stark made a play that landed him not only in the visiting Oklahoma State Cowboys' dugout, but also on the ESPN Top Ten plays.

4. 1.91 ERA

The Mizzou Bullpen's ERA in 22 games from from April 21 through May 27 was 1.91,  giving up just 19 earned runs in 89.1 innings.  The relief corp shined in 2012, led by senior Jeff Emens (now graduate assistant coach Emens).
3. Missouri Baseball returns to NCAA Regionals 
The good news:  Missouri notched its 8th NCAA Regionals appearance in the past 10 years.  The bad news: The Tigers went 1-2 for the weekend and were done.  The good news:  The Arizona Wildcats' buzz saw that chewed up and spit out the Tigers turned out to be the same juggernaut that tore through the entire post-season and claimed the College World Series title. 
2. Good-bye Big 12, Hello SEC
Missouri made their farewell tour through the Big 12, finishing in 6th place in the depleted 9/12 of a conference.  Along they way they also played a pair of their future SEC rivals, winning an early season series at Auburn and fropping a late-season pair to Arkansas.
1. Mizzou wins the Big 12 Tournament Championship
On their way out of the Big 12, Tim Jamieson's Tigers rode their late-season momentum to a hard-fought tournament victory at Bricktown, including a satisfying final run-rule thumping of the Jayhawks along the way.

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