Saturday, March 31, 2012

HI NOTES: From the Cheap Seats

WORD ON THE TWEET
@Hunter_Mense: Tremendous effort from the Tigers today... I get goosebumps watchin stuff like that!

@B_Turner18: Unbelievable game today. Great win with everyone battling. #winaseries #hewasout #MIZ

@MUTigerBaseball: Everyone is asking if he missed the plate. The ump called him out, so I assume he missed the plate.
FORUMS & BLOGS

From TexAgs.com:

  • W: Memo to SawDog ---> the safety squeeze can be your friend; don't have to suicide squeeze every time. Everyone in the black & gold dugout knew there was a high probability of Bratsen bunting; it was not a coincidence that Mizzou called for a pitch away. Of course this is the dilema Bratsen presents to the offense. His average is down around .230 and he rarely gets a conventional hit . . .the problem today was the lack of "element of surprise." As in there was none. Mizzou has a smart coaching staff. The tigers were ready for that.
  • OleArmyBQ68: Big XII Umpires Want to give us a fond farewell
  • LuketheDrifter: We'll continue to get screwed in the SEC (everyone does...) but at least we'll be making a lot more money and will be a part of a marquee conference. Screwed by the SEC >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>screwed by the Big 12.
  • gts96: Are you dumbasses forgetting we are playing another team moving to the SEC with us ?
  • OleArmyBQ68: I know mizzou is gone also, but which team is a more important loss to the big xii? A loss that impacts the potential livlihood of a big xii ump?
  • musket: Someone take a picture of the hand swipe across the plate and send it to the Big 12 office for proof that this clown missed the call.

♦ from Tigerboard:

  • MizzouAstro: Lost in the end of game excitement was how awesome Holovach was AGAIN today. Dude is a stud.
  • MizzouAstro: Emens with a huge appearance today. Thats what seniors are for. Though I have NO idea who will start tomorrow. Cline or Platts I have to think.
  • MizzouAstro: The runner was there about 2 full seconds before the ball. the umpire ruled that he never touched the plate, but it REALLY looked like he did. The aTm announcers were complaining that there was a dirt slide mark across the plate.

Friday, March 30, 2012

HI NOTES: SEC Preview, USA Reunion, Ian's Class

GAME DAY

Places to be this weekend (ESPN.com)
Missouri at Texas A&M

What's at stake: SEC supremacy.

Yes, these two will continue their battles in SEC country next year. Mizzou seems to be creeping back into relevance, but still aren't quite up to the level that coach Tim Jamieson would like. A&M certainly shook off any doubts by going to the Malibu shores and sweeping a good Pepperdine team last weekend...
Pair of Aggies set to greet their Team USA coach at Olsen Field (AggieSports.com)
Missouri head baseball coach Tim Jamieson arguably has the best scouting report an opposing coach could put together on Texas A&M All-Americans Tyler Naquin and Michael Wacha.

He also knows from having coached them this summer on the USA Collegiate National Team that all the extra knowledge probably won't help him a lick when his Tigers face them and the sixth-ranked Aggies (20-5) in their three-game Big 12 series this weekend.

"They are both such good players that if they are on their game it doesn't make any difference what I know ahead of time," Jamieson said. "Tyler doesn't have a weakness at the plate. I hope we just catch him on a bad weekend. And Michael is the same way if he's on. Even if you know what is coming, it won't make any difference."

MU IN THE MAJORS

Ian Kinsler's star-studded high school team (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)
For most high schools, producing one professional athlete is quite a feat. After all, the percentages of players from high school to college to pros shrink significantly along the way.

But Canyon del Oro High School, located in the Tucson, Ariz. suburb Oro Valley, had a remarkable stretch in the late 1990s. At one point, the baseball team had five future big leaguers -- Ian Kinsler, Scott Hairston, Brian Anderson and Shelley and Chris Duncan.

The Star-Telegram caught up with Kinsler about his star-studded high school team that was coached by Kent Winslow. . .

Game Day: MU @ Texas A&M

♦ Texas A&M is 20-5 on the year so far (2-1 Big 12).  The Aggies' losses to date:
  • 2-7 to Holy Cross on Saturday, 2/28
    • Aggie reliever Kyle Martin gave up 4 runs in the 10th inning
  • 5-6 to Cal State-Fullerton on Saturday, 3/10
    • Aggie reliever Daniel Mengden gave up 1 run in the 11th
  • 3-4 to Cal State-Fullerton on Sunday, 3/11
    • Aggie reliever Kyle Martin gave up the winning run in the 9th)
  • 2-5 to Texas Pan-American on Wednesday, 3/14
    • Aggie defense committed 3 errors in the 3rd, allowing 3 runs)
  • 12-15 to Kansas State on Friday, 3/16
    • Aggie starter Michael Wacha gave up 8 earned runs on 11 hits in 5.1 IP; reliever Daniel Mengden gave up 4 runs in the 8th)
In their wins, they have swept 3-game series against Illinois-Chicago and Michigan State, and took 2 of 3 from Holy Cross and Kansas State.

The Texas A&M Aggies are ranked in all the national polls:

MU vs. A&M Stats




MU aTm
Batting Average
.274
.315
ERA
4.11
2.74
RPI
.536
.638
RPI rank
89th
7th
Strength of Schedule
82nd
70th

College Station, TX Weather
Weather.com
FRI 83 / Sunny
SAT 85 / Isolated T-storms
SUN 84 / Partly cloudy
Aggies flex with Malibu sweep (espn.com, 3/27)
The wildly talented Aggies have had some odd moments this year that made you ask if there was a fly in the ointment, including losses to Holy Cross, Texas-Pan American, a wild 15-12 loss to Kansas State and a home series loss to Cal State Fullerton.

This weekend's trip to Pepperdine was anticipated to be one of their bigger road tests of the year. Michael Wacha rebounded from his poor showing versus KSU, holding the Waves to two hits in a complete-game, 4-0 win on Friday night. After that the Aggies were never really threatened in the Saturday doubleheader. It was the type of solid work we were expecting from these guys all along.
Wacha Named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week (aggieathletics.com)
Texas A&M junior pitcher Michael Wacha was nearly perfect during Friday's 4-0 complete-game shutout win at Pepperdine as the Texarkana, Texas, native took a perfect game into the eighth inning. Despite losing his bid at perfection, the right-hander finished the contest with a two-hitter to run his record on the season to a perfect 4-0.

The 6-foot-6 junior was nothing short of spectacular in the victory as he retired the first 21 batters he faced in order before the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the eighth reached on a throwing error that followed a strikeout. A weakly-hit infield single in the next at bat ended the no-hitter but Wacha escaped a two-on, no-out situation to keep the shutout intact. He finished the contest with eight strikeouts and no walks for the third complete game of his three-year A&M career.

This marks the second time this season an Aggie hurler has been honored for his achievements on the pitching mound as senior right-hander Ross Stripling was named Big 12 co-Pitcher of the Week on March 5
Big 12 baseball stock report (NewsOK.com)
Who's stock is rising and falling in the Big 12:

UP: Blake Holovach, LHP, Mizzou

Since moving from the bullpen into Mizzou's starting rotation, Holovach has won his first four starts, including Saturday's win over OSU, when he allowed one unearned run in 8 2/3 innings. As a starter, he owns a 0.61 ERA with 20 strikeouts and seven walks in 29 1/3 innings.

UP: Michael Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M

The Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, Wacha blanked was nearly perfect in a dominant outing at Pepperdine. He carried a perfect game into the eighth inning, before finishing with a 4-0 complete game win to improve to 4-0. The Friday-night ace in an impressive weekend rotation, Wacha is considered the Big 12's top pro prospect for the June MLB Draft.

Missouri baseball can't generate its own offense (Columbia Tribune)
The Missouri baseball team got a good look at what happens when an opposing pitcher doesn't give away anything for free.

It should be a good lesson for what the Tigers will face when they open a Big 12 series tomorrow at Texas A&M.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

HI NOTES:

GAME DAY

UCA Bears scratch up Tigers (Log Cabin Democrat)
Missouri got its lone extra-base hit in the second inning when Eric Garcia hit a solo home run. Green did not allow another run until the fifth whenConnor Mach had an RBI single. Meanwhile, the Bears answered Garcia’s home run with a solo shot from junior Ethan Harris, his team-high third of the season, in the third inning. They took the lead for good with a two-run fourth inning. Snider had an RBI double and later scored on a passed ball.

BIG 129

Jayhawks having a tough year (Lubbock Online)
Instead of coming out of the gate strong and being ready for the Big 12, the Jayhawks have stumbled out to a 10-14 record and an 0-3 mark in league play after being swept at Baylor over the weekend. A lack of clutch hitting and the inability to hold a lead late in games have frustrated Price and the Jayhawks, who were picked to finish last in the nine-team Big 12 in the preseason.

“Baylor took us apart. I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” said Price, whose team was outscored 27-8 by the Bears, “They took us apart in every phase of the game. They knocked our pitchers around, we didn’t play well defensively which is something we’ve excelled at. They executed and put the pressure on us.”

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

HI NOTES: Ups & Downs

MU IN THE MINORS

Red Sox lineup falling into place (KJOnline.com)
Other cuts made Tuesday included three players not on the 40-man roster -- pitchers Justin Germano and Doug Mathis, and outfielder Josh Kroeger. All three were minor league free agents and are expected to end up with Pawtucket.

GAME DAY

Missouri baseball team ends homestand with loss to Central Arkansas (Columbia Missourian)
Even though Missouri managed 11 hits in the game, senior third baseman Conner Mach had the Tigers' only other RBI with a single to drive in Brannon Champagne in the fifth. Champagne had reached base with a single to right to extended the junior center fielder's on-base streak to 16 games. Both hits came with two outs.

Tigers get over the hump in midweek game (Columbia Tribune)
"A lot of people just overlook midweek games — just think to get to the next contest in conference," junior outfielder Scott Sommerfeld said. "We know we've got the big test this weekend with" Texas "A&M, but we focus just mainly on taking it day by day. Central Arkansas, they proved it last year, they're a good ballclub."

The Tigers were 4-6 in midweek games last year — including a split against Central Arkansas — while compiling a regular-season record of 24-30. Because of the below-.500 overall record, Missouri needed to win the Big 12 Tournament title to be eligible for an NCAA regional. Losing three games might have been the difference in whether the Tigers were invited to the postseason.
Eight in the eighth pushes Missouri baseball team past Central Arkansas (Columbia Missourian)
Starting pitcher Jeff Cline didn't make it through the second inning. Freshman pitcher, Ryan Yuengel relieved Cline only to give up two runs in 2 1/3 innings. And Brandon Platts, the fourth Tigers pitcher of the game, walked two and gave a hit in his one inning of relief.

As for the bats, even the eight-run eighth wasn't really a product of solid hitting. The Tigers scored all those runs on only four hits. They were four batters hit by pitches, a walk, a wild pitch and two costly defensive plays by an imploding Central Arkansas team.

Missouri coach Jamieson said the Tigers were fortunate to escape with a win in an "ugly game."

Monday, March 26, 2012

Game Day: Central Arkansas Bears @ MU

UCA Home Game
Central Arkansas has a 10-10 record, BoydsWorld.com RPI ranked 196th. They have been swept by Creighton and McNeese State, but they swept SIU-Edwardsville and Lamar. This past weekend they took 2 of 3 from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. They are 1-4 in away games, having spent most of the season down home in Conway, Arkansas.

They are 1-1 in mid-week series (lost to ORU, beat Mississippi Valley State, rained out at Oklahoma State), so their mid-week starters have not gotten much of a testing.

The Bears' team batting average is .282, led by OF Forrestt Allday, who carries a .422 BA, .606 OB% and .563 Slug%.

Their team ERA sits at 3.57. Bryce Biggerstaff (1-1, 2.33 ERA) appears to be their sole mid-week starter to date. He gave up 3 earned runs in 5.2 innings in the loss to ORU, and 2 earned runs in 1.2 innings in what turned into a Johnny Wholestaff game for the Bears against Miss Valley St. Biggerstaff, though, pitched three innings in relief this past Sunday, which makes it impossible to predict who UCA will send to the mound against MU.

Mid-Week Weather
Weather.com
TUE 80 / 30% T-Storms
WED 78 / Partly Cloudy
Biggerstaff's Twitter account features this quote: Fundamentals are a crutch for the talentless.

Most of the Bears' wins have come when their offense pours it on. In 8 of their wins they have average 10 runs vs. their opponents 3.5 runs. the outlier is a double-header win against Lamar, 2-0 and 1-0.

In their 10 losses, they were outscored 31-62.

Central Arkansas Baseball Twitter List

Bear Chat with Forrestt Allday (The UCA Echo)
What’s the biggest difference between Alvin Community College in Texas and UCA?

UCA is way bigger, but baseball in general, the practce time rules are different.

What attracted you to UCA?

I liked the team that was set in place. Coach [Allen] Gum was huge. I liked Gum and believe he can turn around this program.

What is your favorite pitch to get at the plate?

Fastball either high or right down the middle.

What is your least favorite pitch to get at the plate?

Probably a changeup.

Bears sweep Baseball Weekly honors (UCASports.com, 3/12)
The University of Central Arkansas Bears swept the Southland Conference Pitcher and Hitter of the Week honors on Monday for the first time since joining the league.

Junior left fielder Ethan Harris was named the hitter of the week and junior pitcher Caleb McClanahan was the SLC Pitcher of the Week, while McClanahan was also named the SLC Player of the Week by College Sports Madness.

Harris, from White Hall, hit .467 for the week and helped the Bears to a three-game sweep of the Lamar Cardinals on the opening weekend of conference play. Harris had a pair of home runs and 9 RBI for the week, and had UCA’s game-winning single in Friday’s 12-inning, 1-0 victory over the Cardinals.

McClanahan, a right-hander from Wynne, was dominant in that same game, starting and going 10 scoreless innings. He left with the score tied 0-0 after allowing just four hits and striking out a career-high 12 with only one walk. Lamar batters hit .118 against him.

McClanahan led a UCA staff that pitched three shutouts against Lamar, the first time in school history that was accomplished in a league series. UCA pitchers struck out 32 and walked just 4 in 28 innings last weekend.

UCA is currently in sole possession of first place in the SLC at 3-0. The Bears are second in the conference in hitting (.286) and pitching (2.73 ERA) and lead the league in fielding (.975). The Bears return to conference play this weekend at McNeese State.

Big 12 Newcomer of the Week (big12sports.com)
Blake Holovach, Missouri, Jr., LHP, 6-5, 195, Overland Park, Kan./Coffeyville CC

Holovach earned his fourth win of the season, and his fourth in as many starts, as he threw 8.2 innings against Oklahoma State on Saturday, guiding Mizzou to a 4-1 victory. The southpaw allowed just one run, five hits and struck out four. Since the run Holovach surrendered was unearned, the junior has now gone 17.2 innings without giving up an earned run. He walked just one batter in the outing and did not give up an extra-base hit. Holovach has a 4-0 mark and a 1.97 ERA on the season, limiting opponents to a .217 batting average.

Emens throws gem to boost MU baseball to victory (Columbia Tribune)
Senior catcher Ben Turner had one piece of advice for Emens.

"Ben told me before the game to pitch until they drag me off the mound," Emens said after the Tigers' 4-2 victory yesterday on Simmons Field. "I took that approach."

Emens allowed one unearned run on three hits while striking out three in 51/3 innings as Missouri (14-8, 2-1) won its Big 12 opening series. Dusty Ross was charged with an unearned run in relief, John Miles pitched 11/3 shutout innings to get the win, and Jake Walsh earned his Big 12-leading eighth save.

TAKE TWO: MU first baseman earns his 15 minutes of fame (Columbia Tribune)
"We were all going crazy. I was on the phone with my mom," Stark said. "The first thing she asked was if my teeth were OK."

Roommate Turner was not among the crowd.

"I went to bed," the senior said. "He said, 'Dude, I'm going to be on "SportsCenter." ' I was like, 'I'm going to bed, dude.' "

Junior outfielder Brannon Champagne got his own dig in.

"I said, 'Way to make "SportsCenter." Way to make the Top 10. But you didn't have to jump.' It was awesome, though," he said.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

HI NOTES: MU vs. OSU, Max vs. NYY

GAME DAY


♦ Word on the Tweet:
@Big12Conference: #Big12 BSB: @MUTigerBaseball wins series over @OSUBaseball with a 4-2 win today in Columbia.

@NateBrinkley: @Big12Conference @mutigerbaseball @osubaseball irrelevant game irrelevant teams

@gWhart_26: What do I do for spring break Bowl 200s Go for 65 mile bike rides Watch @MUTigerBaseball Awesome stuff

@cmgwalden: @MUTigerBaseball showing up as number 5 on @SportsCenter Top Ten! I love it! Gavin Stark gets the out and flips the fence into OSU's bench!
MU IN THE MAJORS
Max Scherzer could give Tigers another pitching ace (Detroit Free Press)
Max Scherzer retired the first 16 Yankees he faced Saturday.

"He was really impressive," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said.
. . .
Scherzer's line: seven innings, three hits, two runs, no walks, eight strikeouts, 81 pitches.

"He was dominant, throwing everything for a strike," said third baseman Don Kelly. "He's got the stuff. He was getting ahead of guys, which is huge."
. . .
Leyland said: "I've seen this before from him. When he gets in a good slot and good release point and repeats it, that's what can happen. If I can get that all year -- that kind of consistency in his delivery -- I'd be one happy camper."
Max Scherzer baffles Yankees despite Tigers' loss (Detroit News)
It was an outstanding outing all the same — one that pretty much told Scherzer that he's ready for the regular season to begin.

"I'm getting ready to say that," he said. "But the biggest thing I'm hanging my hat on is that in the last two starts, I haven't walked anybody.

"I'm getting ahead of the hitters. Now it's a matter of getting stretched out."

Manager Jim Leyland likes his starters to be able to throw 100 pitches in their first start of the season, if needed. Scherzer was up to 81 on Saturday — with fastballs topping out at 95 mph.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

HI NOTES: Double Header, Stark's Highlight

Gavin Stark makes leaping grab
Mizzou Network
THE CATCH

Stark makes leaping grab (Mizzou Network VIDEO)
This highlight clip has reportedly been submitted to ESPN for inclusion in their Sports Center highlights

From Twitter:
@ShawnDizzle77: we got the video of gavin starks catch uploaded to sportscenter so tune in tonight!!

@JoeTrezz: Gavin Stark just made a sprawling catch on a pop up near the Cowboy dugout, reaching over the fence, flipping and falling over the rail

@MUTigerBaseball: Gavin Stark diving catch into the Oklahoma State dugout is definitely #SCTop10 worthy.

@Big Grizz3: Possible sportscenter top ten shout out to #mizzoubaseball, get ready to be introduced to @GavinStark30 america

@GoJL16: Early word is that @GavinStark30's catch for @MUTigerBaseball has made the cut for top 10 on SC #insideinformation

It should be noted that lost in the attention given to Gavin Stark's leaping catch is the fantastic play made in right field earlier in that same inning by Blake Brown, who made a leaping, sliding catch.

THE GAME

Missouri baseball splits doubleheader with Oklahoma State (Columbia Missourian)
Missouri starter Rob Zastryzny pitched 8 innings and threw 12 strikeouts, both a career high. It was the first time a Tiger starter threw double digit strikeouts since Kyle Gibson threw 10 in 2009.
Oklahoma State Splits Doubleheader With Missouri (newson6.com)
The second game was dominated by Missouri pitching, with starter Blake Holovach (4-0) pitching 8.2 innings, giving up just one earned run on five hits in the win. Chase Stevens (3-2) struggled early, walking in the first run of the game and getting pulled after just .2 of an inning.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Game Day: Cowboys & Tigers

♦ Sample Tweet from Oklahoma State Cowboys Twitter list:
@twale32: Real disturbing pic at the Missouri roadhouse http://pic.twitter.com/VpSc10TJ
Ben Turner
It's go time for young Cowboys (NewsOK.com)
Frank Anderson always knew the early portion of this season would involve much on-the-job training.
And already, 17 Cowboys have made their career debut.
Time to see what's been learned.
. . .
Beyond Heaney, the Cowboys must be better at moving runners and producing clutch hits, coming through with runners in scoring position.
Interestingly, OSU veterans, who were counted on to hold things together while the newcomers got adjusted, have yet to find their hitting stroke. Catcher Jared Womack is hitting just .241, while third baseman Mark Ginther is batting .313, yet has just eight runs batted in.

Tigers can't afford a bobble (Columbia Tribune)
"We need to win the series against Oklahoma State because we're at home," Missouri Coach Tim Jamieson said. "It's something we should do if we want to compete in the league."

Junior designated hitter Dane Opel has been a key piece of Missouri's success this season. The left-handed hitter has a team-leading .356 average and is among the team leaders with five home runs and 16 RBI. With Opel surrounded by Conner Mach, Blake Brown and Eric Garcia in the middle of the lineup, the Tigers are hitting .273 as a team — just a few points lower than the Cowboys' .278. Missouri is scoring 6.5 runs per contest, while Oklahoma State is scoring 5.8.

Game Day: Oklahoma State @ Mizzou

Oklahoma State Starting Infield
♦ Note the somewhat different game times:

  • Friday 6:00 PM
  • Saturday 6:00 PM
  • Sunday 1:00 PM

MU Track & Field's Missouri Relay will be taking place at Walton Stadium next door to Taylor Stadium this weekend as well, which could make parking interesting.

  • Friday 11:30 AM - approx 7:00 PM 
  • Saturday 10:00 AM to 4:45 PM 

  Predicted spotty rain showers Friday and Saturday could cause delays that will further complicate schedules.

Mizzou Baseball Offers Ticket Specials This Weekend (mutigers.com)
The Mizzou baseball program, which has won 10 of its last 11 games and is fresh off of its longest winning streak since 2008, will offer special ticket promotions to this weekend's Big 12-opening series with Oklahoma State is hopes of packing Taylor Stadium for all three scheduled games.

First, tickets for the entire series will cost just $1 for all three scheduled contests, starting with Friday's 6 p.m. tilt with the Cowboys. The Saturday contest (6 p.m.) and the series finale on Sunday (1 p.m.) will also feature $1 tickets. Also on Sunday, the baseball program will begin its `Tiger Little League Sunday' promotion in which any little leaguer dressed in uniform will get his/her entire family into the game for just $1. Starting with this Sunday, the `Tiger Little League' promotion will run at every Sunday Mizzou baseball game.

MU vs. OSU Stats



MU OSU
Batting Average
.273
.278
ERA
4.42
3.07
RPI
.530
.491
RPI rank
95th
164th
Strength of Schedule
165th
176th

Weekend Weather
Weather.com
FRI 64 / 40% Rain
SAT 71 / 30% Rain
SUN 76 / Sunny
♦ Oklahoma State's Heaney named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week (Stillwater News Press)
Oklahoma State’s left-hander Andrew Heaney was named the Big 12 Conference Pitcher of the Week for games played March 12-18, the league office announced Monday.

Heaney threw a complete game shutout against Houston on Friday. He improved to 4-1. The junior allowed three hits and struck out eight. He did not issue a walk and threw just 91 pitches.

The NCAA leader in strikeouts, Heaney faced just three batters over the minimum in the contest as he retired the Cougars in order in six innings.
OSU baseball riding winning streak entering Houston series (Daily O'Collegian, 3/15)
The team was plagued with inconsistent defensive performances, at times giving up the game in the final innings, but recent play has shown the coaches that sustained improvement might not be far away.

“I like what I’m seeing late in the games,” Anderson said. “This team struggled a lot in California, but they have been playing better ever since.”

In its first five games, the Cowboys gave up 21 earned runs and were outscored 40-21.

“We didn’t have a lot of luck early in the season,” Anderson said. “But we have a good team. I’ve said that from the start and we can compete in this league.”

Through their recent offensive and defensive efforts, the Cowboys have shown the ability to overcome its early season obstacles.

In its past five games, the OSU bullpen has improved, giving up 12 earned runs in 21 innings of work.

Starting pitchers Andrew Heaney and Chase Stevens have been among the team leaders in those winning efforts. Each pitcher has three wins and at least 40 strikeouts through three games.

Heaney’s ERA of 1.20 and Stevens’ ERA of 1.32 has allowed the Cowboys to win games when runs have been hard to come by.
Oklahoma State's Hunter Bailey trying to bounce back (Stillwater News Press)
Hunter Bailey thought he knew almost everything there was to know about playing shortstop. But after an ankle injury and surgery in the offseason, the Oklahoma State senior has taken a new approach to the position.

“It makes me pay attention a lot more,” Bailey said. “I’m still not able to move as well, so I need to know whose pitching and where the pitch is going to be that way I can be in position to make the play.”

It’s been a season of struggles for Bailey — most of which can be attributed to the ankle injury. But while Bailey may be hitting .243 with one home run and seven RBIs, it isn’t keeping him from being the emotional leader for the Cowboys.

“He’s still only about 75 percent after the surgery,” Oklahoma State coach Frank Anderson said. “He’s fought through a lot of pain for this team. Everybody knows he’s hurting, but they see him giving 110 percent and I guess it makes them want to contribute more.”

Missouri baseball team buried by Sycamores (Columbia Tribune)
To say that the mistakes snowballed yesterday on Simmons Field would be doing the cliché an injustice. What the Missouri baseball team created was an avalanche of errors.

A poor pitching performance eroded into a shoddy defensive effort which begat a lifeless offense. The Tigers were embarrassed by Indiana State 15-1 in their worst outing of the season.

"This should never happen — never, ever happen — at the Division I level," Missouri Coach Tim Jamieson said. "There's no excuse for it."

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A closer look at the 2013 SEC Baseball Schedule

SEC Releases 2013 Conference Spring Sport Schedules (SECdigitalnetwork.com)

Here's Mizzou's conference schedule for 2013.  Home Games Bold
3/15-3/17 South Carolina at Missouri
3/22-3/24 Missouri at Tennessee
3/29-3/31 LSU at Missouri
4/5-4/7 Missouri at Georgia
4/12-4/14 Missouri at Vanderbilt
4/19-4/21 Florida at Missouri
4/26-4/28 Auburn at Missouri
5/3-5/5 Missouri at Texas A&M
5/10-5/12 Missouri at Alabama
5/16-5/18 Kentucky at Missouri
  • MU's conference schedule begins in mid-March and continues every weekend all the way through to the end of the season.

  • The 10-week SEC schedule means that MU's non-conference schedule will be shorter.  The 2013 opening day will be February 15th, which leaves room for just 4 non-conference weekend series prior to the beginning of the SEC schedule.  In 2012, MU has played 5 weekend non-conference series, and will have another one in May, against Memphis.

  • The increase in conference games at the cost of non-conference can be both a positive and a negative

    • Negative:  The team will have a shorter window to play a lighter schedule early in the season in order to shake out the starting lineups and get the winter doldrums out of their bats and arms.  At the point MU was playing High Point in 2012, they will be hosting the 2009/2010 national champion South Carolina Gamecocks at Taylor Stadium.

    • Positive:  The extra two SEC series will serve to boost the Tigers' 2013 strength of schedule and RPI more than playing High Point and Memphis will in 2012.  This is likely the reason why the SEC likes to play 10 conference series.  Some in the conference have pushed for an 11-series conference schedule.

  • The MU Marketing people shouldn't have to work too hard to convince fans - both students and townies - to come on out to Taylor Stadium for the Tigers' home schedule against the SEC.


    • MU opens with a series against USC, a team that has won the past two College World Series, and will very likely be a strong contender for that same title in 2012.

    • LSU comes to town for the next home series, a team that is not at its historic peak, but carries a lot of name recognition, and pulling power.

    • Florida comes to Simmons Field next, and will likely be wearing the title of reigning national champion to go with its perennial contender status.

    • Auburn isn't as big a heavy-weight, but the team that spawned Bo Jackson, Frank Thomas, Gregg Olson and Tim Hudson should be an attractive draw.

    • Kentucky comes to town for the final weekend.  The Wildcats have been the historic doormat of the SEC, but in 2012, at this point, UK is 22-0, having already won their series against the Gamecocks.  they are an up-and-coming-possibly-already-arrived team in the SEC, and they will be the prefect final foe for 2013.

  • The two teams that are the toughest in the SEC, and are also the longest trip from Columbia, are both coming to Taylor Stadium in 2013.   Mizzou gets to take on South Carolina and Florida in front of a home crowd.

  • The Tigers play all six teams in the SEC East (USC, UGA, UF, UT, UK, VU), plus four of the 7 teams in the West.

  • The SEC is saying the format and plan of future SEC schedules (in all sports) will be re-evaluated between now and the release of the 2014 schedule, so the rules that governed the 2013 schedule may not stay the same for 2014.
FROM THE CHEAP SEATS
  • Let's just say that Ray [Tanner, USC Head Coach] is not at all happy about opening in Columbia, MO next season. (cockytalk.com)

  • Would've liked to see us play Missouri next year. (hognation.com)

  • Dang, Mizzou gets SC, Florida, and LSU all at home! (hognation.com)

  • They are going to pack literally dozens of fans into their stadium!! (hognation.com)

  • . . . playing at Faurot Field before May isn't the most comfortable of experiences. Cold and Windy! (tigerdroppings.com)

HI NOTES: 2013 SEC Schedule, Busch game details, 15-1

SEC BASEBALL

SEC Releases 2013 Conference Spring Sport Schedules (SECdigitalnetwork.com)
Home Games Bold
3/15-3/17 South Carolina at Missouri
3/22-3/24 Missouri at Tennessee
3/29-3/31 LSU at Missouri
4/5-4/7 Missouri at Georgia
4/12-4/14 Missouri at Vanderbilt
4/19-4/21 Florida at Missouri
4/26-4/28 Auburn at Missouri
5/3-5/5 Missouri at Texas A&M
5/10-5/12 Missouri at Alabama
5/16-5/18 Kentucky at Missouri

  • 2 of the 3 teams the farthest distance from MU (South Carolina and Florida) are coming to Taylor Stadium.

  • 6 of the games are against SEC East teams, which MU will play each year:  Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt.  The way the schedule is now set up, MU will play 4 SEC West teams each season.  In 2013 those will LSU, Auburn, Alabama, Texas A&M.  MU will not play either Ole Miss or Mississippi State, nor Arkansas, in 2013, but presumably will do so in 2014.  Apparently MU's reported permanent cross-division rival of Arkansas only applies in football.

  • The non-conference portion of MU's schedule will be set up by the Mizzou Baseball office and will likely not be announced until some time this fall.

SEC Baseball Q&A: Dave Neal (secdigitalnetwork.com)
Dave Neal, the longtime voice of the Southeastern Conference, is in his second season calling SEC baseball games as part of the ESPNU Thursday Night SEC Baseball Game of the Week, which begins this Thursday, when Florida and South Carolina square off at 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday in Columbia in a rematch of last season’s College World Series Championship Series.

Neal sat down with the SEC Digital Network on Wednesday to offer his thoughts on SEC baseball.
. . .
What do you think the addition of Missouri and Texas A&M does for baseball in the SEC?

Dave Neal: “It certainly improves the reputation of a league that is already solid one through 12. Now, you can say that it’s solid one through 14 and that’s pretty good. Texas A&M is a loaded baseball club. They have taken baseball seriously for years and I think they fit right into the fold of SEC baseball. I think Missouri is going to have to learn to play in some of these hostile environments. It’s not often that you go and play in front of 6,000 fans every weekend, but that could be the case in the SEC. Both of these teams are a great addition to what is already a talented league. And teams in the SEC had better be ready because these aren’t two cupcakes that are being added.”

BUSCH TICKETS

♦ The Tigers play the Illini at Busch Stadium on April 11th at 6:30 PM. Tickets are just $15 and include $5 in Cards Cash to spend throughout the stadium! Details and ticket purchase at stl.cardinals.mlb

GAME DAY

Mizzou blown out by Indiana State, 15-1: Rain holds off but Mizzou may wish it hadn’t (KBIA Sports Extra)
Two days before its first Big 12 game of the year Missouri was blown out by Indiana State 15-1 on Wednesday. The Tigers fell behind early to the Sycamores and never recovered.

Missouri baseball team trounced by Indiana State (Columbia Missourian)
"We responded poorly as the game went on," Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. "I think they were ready to play. One mistake led to another which led to another, and that's disturbing."

With Eric Anderson injured, freshman pitcher Brett Graves was in contention for the open Sunday starting spot, however, he failed to impress his coaches, giving up five runs in one and two-third innings in his start Wednesday.

"If I had to guess, we probably would use a variety of different people," Jamieson said of the open Sunday spot. "We'll have to have a starting pitcher but not with the thought of him going particularly long."

MU BASEBALL RECRUITS

MHS Bulldogs make 3 debuts (Mexico Ledger)
To the surprise of absolutely no one, Missouri recruit Hunter Haynes got the starting call for the Bulldogs at Green Field against NCMC rival Marshall.

The senior retired the side in order to open the contest, then helped his own cause with an opposite-field solo home run in the bottom of the first, only to give way to three relievers after five innings in a 5-4 Mexico varsity setback.

“He had a pretty solid first outing. I heard there were maybe five major league scouts on hand, but Hunter’s used to situations like that,” MHS coach Keith Louder said. “He fell behind in the count a little more often than usual, but I’ll take his numbers any time.”

A Tip of the Cap to Oklahoma State Baseball

Robin Ventura
The first game I ever attended at Simmons Field was on a Friday night, April 14, 1988.  The Tigers were facing Oklahoma State.   The Cowboys' head coach, Gary Ward, faced off against Mizzou's Gene McArtor.   The Tigers, led by shortstop, Dave Silvestri, lost that game 13-3, in no small part due to the offensive and defensive skills of the OSU third baseman, Robin Ventura.  I like to froze my butt off that night, as many people do their first time out to an MU ballgame at Simmons Field, where the temperature is always 10 degrees cooler inside the stadium than out in the parking lot.

Gary Ward left OSU shortly after I began following MU Baseball in earnest, and therefore most of my memories of the Cowboys feature the mercurial Tom Holliday.  He was always the most fun college baseball coach to heckle, if only because he despised hecklers so very much:  "They can rag on me all they want. If they think it's OK to rag on 20-year-old kids, that shows very small character."

Current OSU skipper Frank Anderson is much more boring than either Ward or Holliday, distinguished only by his penchant for frequent slow walks onto the field to argue with the umpires.

Oklahoma State was a late-comer to the Big 8.  After a brief stint (1925-28) in the original Missouri Valley that became the Big 6, Oklahoma A&M, as it was then known, joined the Big 7 in 1958, making the conference the Big 8.

The Missouri-Oklahoma State baseball rivalry has always been a hard-fought one.  No matter which team is up or down in any particular season, the MU-OSU series is always a good one.

In Missouri's College World Series Championship season of 1954, the Tigers made an early season swing south to Arkansas and then over to Stillwater, OK, to play a 2-game series with the Cowboys.  In the first game, the "Cowpokes" handed the Tigers one of their few losses of the season, 5-3.  The following day the Tigers returned the favor, beating the Cowboys 12-6, in spite of setting a Mizzou record of 8 errors that still stands today.

That second game against the Cowboys in '54 featured the first mound appearance of a young basketball player turned pitcher by the name of Norm Stewart.  In Norm's own words, he "was a flop".  "He walked four batters and committed two of those record errors himself.  The following is from Stewart's biography, Stormin' Back:
When I got back to Columbia, I told Coach Simmons, “I’m going to quit baseball. I don’t think I can help the team any.”

“Well, let’s do this,” he said. “Your performance against A&M was the worst I had ever seen. You were horrible. But we’re going to play Fort Leonard Wood soon. I’m going to start you. If you don’t do any better than your last outing, you won’t have to turn in your gear. I’ll pick it up for you.”
Stewart went on to a successful year and career as a pitcher (and basketball player) at Mizzou, including throwing a no-hitter in 1956.  Against Arkansas.

The longest game Mizzou ever played was a 16-inning marathon against OSU on May 8, 1971.

I never got see the Cowboys' most famous record-breaking player, Pete Incaviglia.  The records show that in one 4-game series between OSU and MU in 1985, Incaviglia went 5-for-13, hitting 9 RBIs and 3 home runs - one of them a grand slam.

I was on hand for the wild game in April of 1996 at Simmons Field that finished with Mizzou defeating the Cowboys 24-23, part of a 3-game sweep of OSU, something the Tigers had not accomplished since 1971.

Gary Ward, the Cowboys' coach, was colorful as always after the final loss of that series:  "I'm not into alibis or excuses,'' Ward said. ``You get your ass kicked, you lick the blood off your lips and pack your bags, get on the bus and go play the next one."

1996 was the final year of the Big 8, and Missouri tied Oklahoma State for the regular season championship, claiming the #1 spot due to having won the head-to-head contests during the regular season.  The championship was extra sweet, having finished dead last in the conference the year before.

OSU had the last laugh, though, beating the Tigers in the championship game of the final Big 8 Tournament.

Cowboy Baseball Hall of Fame: Gary Ward (okstate.com)
Gary Ward was Oklahoma State's head baseball coach from 1978 through 1996 and guided the Cowboys to an unprecedented 16 straight conference titles, 17 NCAA regional appearances and 10 trips to the College World Series. Seven of OSU's World Series appearances (1981-87) were in consecutive years, an NCAA record. The Cowboys also appeared in the NCAA championship game three times under Ward.

He compiled a record of 953-313-1 in 19 seasons in Stillwater, before retiring prior to the 1997 campaign. Ward came out of retirement and was the head coach for two seasons at his alma mater New Mexico State in 2001 and 2002, leading the Aggies to the Sun Belt Tournament championship and an NCAA appearance in 2002. Ward's career record of 1,022-361-1 (.739) is 13th best all-time in win percentage and 24th in the NCAA record books in wins.

Gary Ward helped Oklahoma State recapture its role among the most respected and well-known programs in the nation.

108 of his players at OSU went on to sign professional contracts and nine were named first team All-America, while countless others received second and third team plaudits during his coaching tenure.

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

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

HI NOTES: 2013 SEC Baseball Schedule, Summer Ball, MU in the Majors

SEC

♦ The SEC conference will release its spring sport schedules for tennis, baseball and softball tomorrow.

Yes, tomorrow.

Not a couple of weeks before the beginning of the 2013 season.

Tomorrow.  (SECDigitalNetwork.com)

SEC Preparing to Release New Schedules, but Not Football or Basketball (TeamSpeedKills.com)
The SEC baseball schedule will stay how it is with 30 games over 10 weekends, so teams will miss playing three conference mates instead of one with the two extra teams. Templeton says he wants to try to talk the coaches into accepting an 11-week conference slate, but he notes that it would be a tough sell.

MU IN SUMMER BALL

Mallards sign pair from the University of Missouri (mallardsbaseball.com)
The Madison Mallards have announced the signing of junior left-handed pitcher Kyle Barbeck and sophomore infielder Michael McGraw from the University of Missouri.
MU IN THE MAJORS

Soria's injury means Crow will return to Royals' bullpen (Topeka Capital Journal)
“I called Aaron into the office today and told him, now that Jack will be gone for some time, it makes our team stronger with him in the pen,” Royals manager Ned Yost said during his morning media briefing. “We’re going to put Aaron back in the pen.”

Crow is entering his second season with the Royals. He worked as a set-up man much of last season and was Kansas City’s lone All-Star representative, finishing the season with an ERA of 2.76.
Scherzer showcases improved efficiency (mlb.com)
Scherzer needed just 50 pitches to get through the first four innings scoreless while still striking out four, including back-to-back strikeouts on Hunter Pence and Jim Thome with 97-mph fastballs. All three runs he allowed came in the fifth, yet he had only one at-bat that lasted longer than four pitches.

Game Day: Indiana State Sycamores @ MU

The Indiana State Sycamores began 2012 being swept 3-0 by Southeastern Louisiana on the opening weekend of the season. Since then, ISU has rolled along, winning 16 of 17 games. Their wins have come against Western Illinois, Maryland Eastern Shore, Alabama A&M, Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Illinois, Indiana, Tennessee Martin, SIU Edwardsville, Kansas, Houston Baptist and Notre Dame. The only game they've played against a team from a top tier conference is their win against Kansas.

The Sycamores do have a .339 batting average and a 3.13 ERA.   Their season-to-date stats show, though, that both their hitting and pitching are strong in early innings but decrease significantly in the later innings.

BoydsWorld.com ranks them 92nd in RPI. Missouri is 98th.

Good news for Mizzou, though, is that the Sycamores played in a 4-game tournament this weekend, so their starting pitching is somewhat depleted. They have not used a 5th starter as of yet this season.

Sycamores Get Lucky at Irish Classic (Indiana Statesman.com)
The Indiana State baseball team won the 2012 Irish Classic in San Antonio, Texas over the weekend.
The Sycamores dominated their opponents as they won every game. The victories continue to grow for the baseball team who are currently on an 11- game winning streak. The Sycamores are 15-4 for the season.

The Indiana State Sycamores baseball team defeated the Kansas Jayhawks, 2-1, in game one of the Irish Classic in San Antonio, Texas Thursday afternoon.
. . .
The Indiana State Sycamores baseball team defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in extra innings, 6-4, Saturday afternoon and again, 6-1, Sunday to win the 2012 Irish Classic tournament.
The Indiana State Sycamore Mascot:
  • They were originally known as the Fighting Teachers
  • Sycamores was a student-selected mascot
  • Instead of having a dancing tree mascot, they used an Indian mascot named Chief Quabachi from 1969 through 1989
  • Since 1995 they have used a strange blue creature known as Sycamore Sam.
  • Their colors are listed as "Sycamore Blue" and White.  Possibly due to the Sycamore tree being primarily green and brown.


Missouri Baseball on Facebook:  Several great 2012 Photos have been uploaded.
John Miles


♦ The St. Louis Post-Dispatch notices Mizzou Baseball! And gets it wrong: College notes: Edwardsville's Opel keeps hitting at Mizzou (stlhighschoolsports.com)
A junior outfielder, Opel is batting a team-best .380 with four home runs and 15 RBI, helping trigger a 12-5 start to the season. Opel bats clean-up for MU.

Recently, Opel became the first player in Missouri history to hit two home runs in a game [Trrip Note: Actually, the first since 2010], turning the trick Feb. 19 in a 6-4 win at Auburn. His extra-base power shows in an .800 slugging percentage, which is tops in the Big 12. Opel also ranks among the conference leaders in home runs, total bases and batting average.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

HI NOTES: Looking back at High Point, Looking ahead at Big 12 in '12

GAME DAY


Mizzou breaks win streak with 13-7 loss to High Point (KBIA Extra)
There are some great photos at this link, including a great shot of Eric Garcia's helmet-hair.

BIG 129 BASEBALL

Mizzou heads into their final Big 129 Conference season this coming weekend.  Here's a look at how the Big 129 teams are shaping up so far in 2012.

BoydsWorld.com RPI rankings and records (3/19/12)
  • 13th, .624, 16-5, Texas A&M
  • 20th, .616, 14-7, Baylor
  • 37th, .579, 10-8, Texas
  • 71st, .550, 12-8, Texas Tech
  • 98th, .529, 12-6, Missouri
  • 139th, .504, 11-9, Oklahoma
  • 157th, .497, 11-9, Oklahoma State
  • 175th, .488, 12-8, Kansas State
  • 181st, .482, 9-10, Kansas
♦ The Big 129 season actually opened this past weekend for a few of the teams
  • Baylor swept Texas Tech, 9-4, 4-3, 8-1
  • Texas swept Oklahoma, 7-6, 9-5, 9-4
  • Texas A&M took 2 of 3 vs. Kansas State, 12-15, 9-2, 7-2
Big 12 baseball: Questions remain for Sooners, Cowboys (NewsOK.com)
For the very definition of madness, look no further than Oklahoma State.

The Cowboys stand 11-7, with wildly differing home/road splits.

OSU is 10-1 at Reynolds Stadium, 1-6 everywhere else.

Among the losses – a dropped popup just steps in front of home plate, with two outs in the ninth inning at TCU, that would have secured the Cowboys a series win on the road, but instead became another loss.
Wildcats beat Aggies 15-12 in Big 12 baseball opener (aggiesports.com)
Kansas State hitters won round one of the Big 12 opening series with eighth-ranked Texas A&M, rocking Aggie ace Michael Wacha then A&M's bullpen for a surprising Friday night result of 15-12 at Olsen Field.

KSU has scored the most runs in the Big 12 and did nothing to harm its reputation, scoring seven runs in the second inning against Wacha after hitting him hard and getting nothing for it in the first.

"Give Kansas State hitters credit," A&M head coach Rob Childress said. "Those guys had a great approach and were tough to put away. Obviously our bullpen proved that behind Michael as well. There were not many zeros on the board for Kansas State tonight."
. . .
A&M could've scored more in the inning, but the Wildcats caught the Aggies in a double steal. Reynolds broke for second and Allemand for home, but KSU got Allemand in a rundown and tagged him to end the inning.

The Aggies' recent string of poor play in the field then returned to haunt them in the seventh when two errors led to two Wildcat runs. KSU hit just one ball out of the infield that inning on a Dan Klein single. Klein went 3 for 4.
Baylor bares it all (CollegeBaseballToday.com)
Coach Steve Smith: “It’s cyclical. Everybody’s going to go through their ups-and-downs this season. We’ve done a really good job against some good left-handed arms and we have a lot of left-handed hitters in our lineup every day. So we have done a good job against their left-handed pitchers.”
Baylor baseball has led university's other teams to success (lubbockonline.com)
“We’ve won some we weren’t supposed to, and we’ve lost some we shouldn’t have. That’s the nature of the game,” Smith said. “We’ve done about how I hoped we would. It’s hard to say what my expectations are. I just want us to go out and play hard every day. That’s what I expect, and the guys have done that.”
. . .
Offensively, the Bears have been solid for most of the season. The Bears are hitting .280 as a team, led by the hard-hitting combination of first baseman Max Muncy and catcher Josh Ludy. Muncy is hitting .313 with a pair of home runs and 14 RBIs, while Ludy is hitting .303 with 13 driven in. Smith added that veteran speedster outfielder Logan Vick, who slumped early, is starting to find a groove, hitting .286 going into the weekend.

“We’re phenomenally good at drawing walks,” Smith said. “We’ve done a good job of that. Muncy’s been good though people are pitching him carefully, and he’s done a good job of not getting himself out too much. Ludy’s done a good job behind him and Vick is starting to come around. It’s a solid group.”
Texas sweeps OU in Big 12 baseball series (NewsOK.com)
Texas completed a three-game baseball sweep of the Sooners on Sunday afternoon, whipping the nation's No. 17-ranked team 9-4 before 1,184 fans at Mitchell Park in Norman. The oft-powerful Longhorns entered the Big 12 series under .500 for the season and ranked last among conference teams with a .221 batting average.

But they returned to Austin on Sunday night with a 10-8 record after hammering OU pitchers at a .360 clip.
. . .
Oklahoma (11-9) has lost five straight. The Sooners are scoring runs — they had 28 during the previous five games — but they've given up much more. OU allowed 43 total runs in losses to Oregon State, Dallas Baptist and then the three-game set vs. Texas.

Kansas baseball players perform well on field (kansan.com)
Most Consistent: Robert Kahana, freshman from Ewa Beach, Hawaii

Kahana is Kansas’ “swing man” this season. He’ll start games on weekdays or when needed, but he will mostly come out of the bullpen on weekends and eat up innings. He has thrived in the role, possessing a 1-0 record and a 1.76 ERA. In 15.1 innings of work, he has allowed three runs on eight hits and six walks while striking out three. Coach Ritch Price said he would be a leader of the pitching staff by the end of his career.

Best game: Michael Suiter, freshman from Kailua, Hawaii

On March 7 against North Dakota, Suiter scored three runs and also drove in three in a 12-9 loss. Most impressive about the freshman’s outing was that he reached base three times by walking. It’s good to see a freshman with patience and composure at the plate. He also hit a three-run homer to pull the Jayhawks within one run after trailing by as many as five runs early.

♦ And speaking of the Big Texas Conference: From salaries, perks and bonuses, UT's head coaching contracts are, literally, big deals (statesman.com)
Garrido, as of this September, likely will become the fourth millionaire coach at Texas. The NCAA record-holder for career wins — who makes $935,000 before any additional monies generated by summer camps or incentive bonuses — should earn more than $1 million next year thanks to an amended, five-year contract extension he signed in 2008.

Garrido's on-field bonuses also increased dramatically in his amended contract. Before, he made $10,000 for making the NCAA regional field. Now, that payout is $75,000. A winning run through the College World Series would generate $165,000.

Yet if Garrido is fired this year, UT would owe him only $300,000.

Monday, March 19, 2012

WORD ON THE TWEET

Posted by @AshleyArp92

HI NOTES: High Point, Former Tigers

SUNDAY

High Point Baseball Beats Missouri, 13-7, in Weekend Finale (greensborosports.com)
The High Point University baseball team beat Missouri 13-7 on Sunday in the final game of the weekend series. Senior Sal Pezzino was 4-5 with a home run and junior Jacob Newberry won his third consecutive start.

“After a frustrating day at the plate yesterday the team came out focused today,” said head coach Craig Cozart. “The team was relentless offensively. Our ability to answer every time they scored prevented them from ever getting back in the game. Newberry gave us an outstanding season. We learned a lot about ourselves as a team this weekend and applied it in today’s game.”

SATURDAY

Missouri baseball extends win streak to 10 with shutout (Columbia Missourian)
The competition between the Missouri and High Point baseball teams started way before the first pitch of the game on Saturday.

During the one hour, 40 minute rain delay, the relief pitchers from the two teams set up pyramids made of cups outside their respective dugouts and took turns rolling baseballs across home plate, attempting to topple the other team's tower.

When Missouri pitcher Michael McGraw struck High Point's pyramid after several players missed, the celebration rivaled the team's excitement after its walk-off win the night before.

PHOTO GALLERY: Missouri improves winning streak to 10 in second win over High Point (Columbia Missourian)

Holovach shines as Tigers claim 10th straight win (The Maneater)
“I’ll tell you what, (having relief experience) did help in that rain delay today, waiting around,” he said.

Given how he threw Saturday, Missouri would probably be completely fine with having every one of Holovach’s starts come after delays. The lefty carved up High Point hitters with great efficiency, making it through eight innings with fewer than 100 pitches and ending up with 115 for the day. A significant reason for his efficiency was how he pitched to contact, striking out just four batters.

“Whenever I threw the fastball in or down the middle, really, they would put a good swing on it,” he said. “I can’t give enough credit to my defense today.”

Holovach beats the count to shut out High Point (Columbia Tribune)
With a 115-pitch gem, Holovach became the first MU pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout since Kyle Gibson in April 2009. Holovach allowed four hits and one walk while striking out four.

"He was on his last hitter," MU Coach Tim Jamieson said. "It was more the fact that his pitch count was starting to get up a little bit and didn't want him to wear down and create an inning because he was tired. But we wanted to give him the opportunity to get the shutout, too."

FRIDAY

Missouri walks off vs. High Point for ninth straight victory (The Maneater)
“Both Scott and Blake had good at-bats,” Turner said. “Going in there I felt I had a good idea of what he was throwing and what he had working and didn’t have working.”

After scoring the winning run, the Tiger bench rushed the field. It was clear that, after several blowout victories, a hard-earned win was a challenge for which many on the team were excited.

“It was the first time we’ve been tied with an opportunity to win it in the bottom of the ninth like that,” Turner said. “A lot of the guys were excited. They’ve had really good energy throughout this winning streak. That’s something that really helps us out when we’re out there battling.”

Ben Turner's walk-off single leads Mizzou (komu.com)
Going into the ninth inning down 7-6, High point started off the ninth inning with a home run to tie the game at seven, meaning Walsh's first blown save in seven attempts. After a single followed the home run, Walsh made a spectacular play diving to catch a sacrifice bunt attempt that was popped up down the first base line, and the Panthers were held off the board the rest of the inning. Brown and Sommerfeld walked with one out in the ninth, then Turner laced a single to left, scoring Brown for the winning run, a final score of 8-7.

FORMER TIGER

OCU's Gaden earns SAC player of the week (OCUSports.com)
Oklahoma City University's Kale Gaden has been named Sooner Athletic Conference baseball player of the week for March 5-11.

Gaden, a junior from Stillwater, Okla., hit .615 and slugged 1.154 with two triples, a home run and seven RBIs in OCU's 4-0 week with wins over Southern Nazarene and Mid-America Christian.
Gaden provided the game-winning RBI against Southern Nazarene on March 6 and went a combined 6-for-8 with six RBIs, two triples and a home run in a three-game sweep of Mid-America March 7-9.
The left fielder is hitting .391 on the year with seven extra-base hits, four home runs and 19 RBIs in 23 games for the top-ranked Stars.

MU IN THE MAJORS

Bracketology (Detroit Free Press)
The chances of Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer winning mlb.com's bracket contest took a major hit when Missouri lost to 15th-seeded Norfolk State. The website had one player from each team fill in a bracket.

Scherzer still has Kentucky, Kansas and Florida State alive in his Final Four. But he had Mizzou, after beating MSU in the regional final and Kentucky in the national semifinal, defeating Kansas for the championship.

At least he had Duke and Michigan losing in the third round.

Mathis unscored on for Red Sox (wmicentral.com)
Show Low’s Doug Mathis is off to a good start in his bid to return to Major League Baseball.

The 28-year-old 6-foot-3 former Texas Rangers right-hander signed a minor league contract with the Boston Red Sox in the offseason and has thrown three scoreless innings in his two spring training appearances.

Mathis made his spring debut by pitching two scoreless innings of relief in a 3-3 tie with Toronto on March 7. He limited the Blue Jays to one hit and had one strikeout in pitching the eighth and ninth innings. He threw just nine pitches — all for strikes.

He followed that up by allowing one hit and striking out one in a scoreless inning of relief in Boston’s 6-1 win over Baltimore on Sunday, March 11.

Mathis is 3-3 with a 4.84 ERA in 87 1⁄3 career innings in parts of three seasons (2008-10) with the Rangers. He pitched in Triple-A for San Franciso and Oakland last year before going 5-2 with a 2.52 ERA in the regular season for the Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization and helping the Lions win the league title and the Korean Series Championship.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Game Day: High Point of the Season

HIGH POINT PANTHERS @ MU

While some may have looked at this weekend series series against High Point as a "low point" in the schedule, the Panthers slugged their way to a 12-7 record in the opening weeks of the season,  That includes a 12-5 win over Charlotte.  The Panthers are averaging 5.6 runs per game,  and are sporting a .272 team batting average and 3.75 ERA.

High Point was picked to finish 8th (out of 11) in the Big South Baseball Preseason Poll

High Point is located in High Point, NC, near Greensboro and Winston-Salem.

MUTigers.com Media Notes:

  • Missouri is riding an 8-game winning streak, their longest since a 14-game streak in March of 2008

  • Eric Anderson is expected to rested for 10-14 days and be ready to pitch again in time for the Texas A&M series

  • Expected MU rotation this weekend:  Zastryzny, Holovach, Platts

Weekend Weather
Weather.com
FRI 81 / 20% rain
SAT 77 / PM 40% rain
SUN 78 / 10% rain
♦ Big South Announces Baseball Players of the Week (bigsouthsports.com, 3/12)
Coastal Carolina senior outfielder Daniel Bowman (Bridgewater, Va.) has been named the Big South Conference's Choice Hotels Baseball Player of the Week, while High Point junior Matt Armstead (Newport News, Va.) and Winthrop junior Eric Ruth (Hatfield, Pa.) have been named The Crons Brand Co-Pitchers of the Week for games played March 5-11, it was announced today by the League office. 
In his second career start for HPU, Armstead threw a complete game shutout against Manhattan, limiting the Jaspers to two infield singles while striking out a career-high eight batters. He walked two, both in the first inning, before settling in and the eight strikeouts doubled his previous best. Armstead gave up just two hits in the game, a bunt single down the third base line and a chopper just over his head. He also retired the final 10 batters of the game.
Big South Announces Baseball Players of the Week (bigsouthsports.com, 2/27)
High Point junior Ryan Retz (Tucson, Ariz.) has been named the Big South Conference's Choice Hotels Baseball Player of the Week, while Coastal Carolina junior Ryan Connolly (Charleston, S.C.) has been named The Crons Brand Pitcher of the Week for games played Feb. 20-26, it was announced today by the League office.

Retz batted .500 (10-20) with three doubles, a home run and 10 RBI to lead the Panthers to a 4-1 week with wins over defending Atlantic 10 champion Charlotte, Wake Forest and Dayton. He also earned the win on the mound against the 49ers and added an RBI and run scored. Against Wake, Retz was 4-6 with six RBI, including a three-run homer that tied the game at 7-7. In the series against Dayton, he was 5-10 at the plate with two steals, a double and an RBI. Retz finished his week with an .800 slugging percentage and .565 on-base percentage.
Big South Preview (CollegeBaseballToday.com)
The Panthers proved [in 2011] they could play with just about anyone when they put their minds to it, including handing Coastal a pair of losses (yep, not a misprint) to start their weekend series last year. Though there are only three field players returning, OF Sean Wilson (hit .517 at McHenry CC), INF Andrew Bartlett (.302 in 2010), RHP Zach Heile (2-2, 13apps) and RHP Jaime Schultz (2nd team All Big South, 2010) all return after missing 2011.
. . .
This was a streaky team, the Panthers tended to get into a rut at times. Last year’s 18-17 start was wiped out by a lackluster 6-15 finish, including a few pretty ugly double-digit losses in the month of May. Nearly every pitchers of note is gone from last year’s squad, so you never know how the newbies will react when they get under the spotlight.
. . .
HPU will play 17 of their first 18 games at Willard Stadium, but against pretty stout competition, including games with Charlotte, Mercer, Richmond and Manhattan. But in mid-March, the comforts of home will be put aside for a three-game trip to Missouri. That weekend should tell us a lot about where the Panthers are in their youth-to-maturation process. . .

Thursday, March 15, 2012

HI NOTES: EA, UND

INJURY UPDATE

♦ Eric Anderson left his last start early due to soreness in his arm.  Tex Little asked Tim Jamieson about EA's status during a pre-game interview prior to Tuesday's UND game:
The MRI results came back with a strained flexor tendon, so there's no damage to the ligament or to the nerve, which would have kept him out for a longer period of time, and it's a positive situation, where we ought o be able to get him back fairly soon.
GAME DAY

Missouri baseball team trounces North Dakota 21-5 (Columbia Missourian)
Not nearly as sloppy as Tuesday night’s game but every bit as ugly, the Tigers hit, ran and walked all over the seemingly lifeless Fighting Sioux en route to a 21-5 victory, sweeping the two game series and easily extending their winning streak to eight.
. . .
"From the very get-go, our at bats were really great," Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. "You score first, it makes it a lot easier for everybody."

Clearly. Only one of the Tigers nine starters didn't record a hit in Wednesday's game. Brown had four, and senior third baseman Conner Mach added three to the team's total of 18.

"Hitting is like a disease, and once someone catches it, everybody's got it," Brown said.
Tigers blast North Dakota 21-5 to complete sweep (The Maneater)
The Tigers enter this weekend’s three game series against High Point riding an eight-game winning streak. The Panthers are also carrying some momentum into Columbia, having won six of their last eight games.

“We definitely can’t take them lightly,” Mach said. “They’re going to be a good team, they’re going to come out here and fight…(we’ve) got to keep the same mentality, come out with a lot of energy and jump on them early.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

HI NOTES: Schedule Change, Future Foes, Another One That Got Away

GAME DAY

Wednesday's game between MU vs. UND has been moved to 6:00 PM.
The Mizzou baseball game scheduled for March 14 against North Dakota has been moved to a 6 p.m. start in order to take advantage of the anticipated nice weather in the Mid-Missouri area, as announced by the Mizzou Department of Athletics on Tuesday (Match 13). The game was originally scheduled for 4 p.m. on Simmons Field at Taylor Stadium. (mutigers.com)
Missouri baseball overcomes hit-by-pitches to outlast North Dakota (Columbia Missourian)
In reality, the nine plunked batters were more representative of the sloppy performances of each team rather than the feelings they have for each other.

In addition to the nine hit batters, the teams combined for six errors leading to four unearned runs. But Missouri coach Tim Jamieson couldn't help but be a little optimistic after the game.

"I'd rather win a game ugly than lose a game pretty," he said about the Tigers' seventh straight victory.
UPCOMING OPPONENTS

A look at a few of Mizzou's future opponents:
  • Arkansas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas Tech, Missouri State, and Texas are all in the Perfect Game Top 50.  6-8 Texas is apparently grandfathered in because they are Texas.
  • High Point, 12-7:  Riding a 4-game winning streak coming into Taylor Stadium this weekend
  • Illinois, 7-6:  The Illini could be prepping to give Purdue a run for the Big Ten title, especially after going 3-1 at the Nike Showcase in Eugene, Ore., this weekend. Kevin Johnson threw a complete-game four-hitter to down host Oregon 2-1 for Illinois' second win over a ranked team this season. (espn.com)
  • Texas A&M, 13-3:  The Aggies finally had a true test, but couldn't hold three-run leads in the two losses to Fullerton at home. Meanwhile, the offense had a wee bit of trouble figuring out the Titans' bullpen, going just 2-for-19 in the final three innings of those two losses. (espn.com)
  • Arkansas, 14-2:   This is still a mystery team. I mean, really, what can we glean from three wins over Binghamton? The talent level hints that the Razorbacks will be Omaha-caliber this year. But the No. 229-ranked strength of schedule and losses to Valparaiso and Houston tell us to hold our horses for now. (espn.com)
ALMOST A TIGER
St. Louis product Lucas May chasing major-league dream with New York Mets (RobRains.com)
Lucas May was a year behind Freese at rival Parkway West, a star shortstop who made the Post-Dispatch all-Metro first team after hitting .493 as a senior in 2003. The Saturday before the amateur baseball draft that June, May had a workout for the Cardinals at Busch Stadium and thought there was a real possibility he would be chosen by them in the draft.

He went to the Dodgers instead, in the eighth round, as the 241st overall selection. Even though he had a scholarship waiting to play baseball at Missouri, he quickly signed a pro contract and took aim at becoming a major leaguer.

May was drafted as a third baseman, then became an outfielder and finally was converted to a catcher in 2007. His journey through the minor leagues has not been smooth, including two trades, first to the Royals, then to the Diamondbacks, and now has taken him to the Mets, where he is a non-roster invitee to camp this spring after signing in December as a free agent.