Monday, March 11, 2013

MIZZOU MATCHUP: Jackson State Tigers

Head Coach: Omar Johnson
(209-132 in 7th season at Jackson State, 2012 SWAC Coach of the Year)

Taylor Stadium – Columbia, MO
Tuesday @ 4 PM CT

Jackson State (9-6, 6-0 SWAC) @ Missouri (3-7, 0-0 SEC)

Mizzou will meet with the Jackson State Tigers on Tuesday. Jackson State has been on a bit of a roll as of late, winning 6 in a row, including a sweep of Mississippi Valley State over the weekend. They finished 2012 at the top of the SWAC conference, but since have lost 4 First Team All-SWAC players. They are 3-3 on the road so far in 2013.

Position Players

This Jackson State squad has a very solid lineup, with their only lefty Ethan Bright holding down the middle of the order. Starting every game so far this season for the Tigers, Bright has led the team in total bases with 33, highlighted by his 2 homeruns and .344 batting average. His tendency to strikeout hurts him though, as he has done that 15 times to his 5 walks.

Second baseman Desmond Russell hits in the 3 hole for Jackson State, and deservingly so as he leads the team in slugging percentage (.585) and RBIs (19). Mizzou pitching will have to let him put the ball in play though, as he has only struck out once all season, while drawing 7 walks.

Leading the team in batting average is center fielder Charles Tilery. His .365 mark is paired with a .515 OBP, which is the only one on the club above .500. Not only can he get on base, but he is a nuisance when he gets there. He leads the team with 13 stolen bases, and has only been caught twice so far this year.

Right fielder Bryce Taylor is yet another Jackson State player with a batting average above .300, at .340. The place he has really struggled this year is out in the field. His 7 errors lead the team, and his fielding percentage is an abysmal .821. To put this in perspective, Giancarlo Stanton of MLB’s Miami Marlins led all right fielders with 7 errors in the entire 2012 season (117 games), and his fielding percentage was .974.

Projected Lineup
LF Fred Hampton (R) .135
CF Charles Tilery (R) .365
2B Desmond Russell (R) .321
DH Malcolm Tate (R) .361
1B Ethan Bright (L) .344
RF Bryce Taylor (R) .340
SS Gary Thomas (R) .352
C Jose Cruz (R) .176
3B Aneko Knowles (R) .231

Pitchers

A few different pitchers could start this game, but my best guess is that it will be junior Chris Wingard. Wingard, like many Jackson State starters this year, has struggled early. In 3 appearances (2 starts), he has only thrown 6.2 innings, which includes a game against Central Arkansas a few weekends ago where he only lasted a third of an inning, giving up 5 ER. In those 6.2 innings, he has given up 8 ER (10.80 ERA), has hit and walked twice as many people as he has struck out (6 and 3 respectively), and is last on the team in batting average against (.452).

Projected Matchups
Tuesday: RHP Eric Anderson (0-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. LHP Chris Wingard (0-1, 10.80 ERA)

Matchup Wrap-up

Missouri will have to get their bats going if they want to knock off Jackson State. While the team has had trouble with their pitching so far, Jackson State’s hitters have been on fire so far this season. 6 of their starters have a batting average of .320 or better, and they are all grouped together from 2-7 in the lineup. Mizzou will have to take advantage of the worn out Jackson State pitching staff, as this game has high scoring shootout written all over it.

Other SEC games this week:
Memphis @ Alabama 3/12-13
Alabama A&M @ Arkansas 3/12-13
Auburn @ Kennesaw State 3/12
Florida State @ Florida 3/12
Appalachian State @ Georgia 3/12-13
Ohio @ Kentucky 3/12
Cincinnati @ Kentucky 3/13
Nicholls State @ LSU 3/13
Ole Miss @ Louisiana-Monroe 3/12-13
Mississippi State vs. Southern Mississippi 3/12
South Carolina-Upstate @ South Carolina 3/12
Davidson @ South Carolina 3/13
Western Kentucky @ Tennessee 3/12-13
Houston Baptist @ Texas A&M 3/12
Buffalo @ Vanderbilt 3/13

Rankings from Baseball America

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