Saturday, March 30, 2013

HI NOTES: Run Support, Weather Report

No run support again for Zastryzny in Missouri baseball loss (Columbia Missourian)
“His record’s not indicative of how he’s pitched,” Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. “It’s indicative of the competition that he’s pitched against, and the fact that we haven’t given him a whole lot of run support on Fridays.”

In Zastryzny’s six starts this season, Missouri’s offense has generated a total of nine runs, six of which came in a win at home against San Francisco. Since that lone win for Zastryzny, he has received only one run of support in three outings...
No. 4 LSU beats Missouri 2=0 (Columbia Tribune)
Through the first seven innings, Zastryzny never faced more than four batters in a frame. LSU scored a run in the eighth when a chopper bounced off second baseman Kendall Keeton's glove.

Each team had six hits, but Missouri couldn't string enough of them together and whiffed on two primary chances...
LSU baseball: Aaron Nola dazzles, Mason Katz smacks his 11th HR in 2-0 win against Missouri (
No matter how it's wrapped, what it looks like when it's over and how a team arrives at the destination, an SEC win is an SEC win. So don't expect No. 2-ranked LSU to sweat much over a close-call win in a strange place against a team not familiar to anybody in road grays.
. . .
"This is the way SEC baseball games are," LSU coach Paul Mainieri said. "Every one of them is tough, and any time you win one, you take a deep breath and you're proud of yourself."...

Friday, March 29, 2013

HI NOTES: 3rd Base Sliders, Game 2 Time

3rd Base Sliders
Tucked down the left field line at Taylor Stadium, next to the McArtor Building, is a new concession stand called 3rd Base Sliders.  Operated by Levy Restaurants, the concession contractor for MU Athletics, this food cart and grille set up offers a different sort of ballpark food than Mizzou Baseball fans are used to.

The usual hamburgers, hot dogs and nachos are still available at the main concession stands on the concourse, but here at 3rd Base Sliders the fare includes Philly Cheese sliders, Hot Ham & Swiss sliders, Classic American all beef sliders, Tiger dogs (with buffalo sauce and blue cheese slaw), North Sider dogs (Chicago style hot dogs), and other items (including bottled sodas).

I ordered the Philly Sliders and had to wait while Levy Restaurants Chef Travis Taylor grilled the beef and onions and cheese from scratch and then cut the normal-sized Philly sandwich into three slider-sized portions and skewered them together with dill spears and plenty of grilled onions and kettle-style chips.  The result was well worth the wait, and for a reasonable price for ballpark fare.

Most fans seem unaware there's such a treat available down the third base line -- the workers had plenty of time to  grant ample attention to each of their customers.  There really should be more advertising and mention made of this new feature.

3rd Base Sliders will be serving up their specialties at every weekend SEC home game this season.  Be sure to check them out and tell your friends.  Just carrying the sliders back to your seat in the grandstands will serve as an attention-grabbing advertisement that there's something different available.

Game Day

Remember: Saturday's game starts at 1:00 PM, not 2:00. Changed because it is nationally televised on Fox Sports and ESPN3.

GAME DAY: Tiger v Tiger

Weekend Weather from ABC 17 News:
TODAY: Morning showers near I-44 with partly cloudy to mostly sunny and high temperatures near 60 with easterly winds at 5-10 mph.

TONIGHT: Partly cloudy with low temperatures in the mid 40s.

EXTENDED: A warming trend will continue into the weekend with high temperatures reaching near 60 Saturday and Sunday. Showers and t-storms are likely from Saturday afternoon through Saturday night. Easter Sunday looks dry with afternoon highs in the upper 50s to near 60 under mostly sunny skies. Much colder air will move in Sunday night into Monday dropping our high temperatures to the upper 30s for the start of next week. There is a chance of light rain or snow from Sunday night through Monday.
MU baseball team shows signs of heating up (Columbia Tribune)
"That Tennessee series helped us gain a lot of confidence," Everett said. "It's been building up over the last few games. Past couple weeks, we'd been swinging it pretty well, but it's just getting timely hits and getting the ball to fall."

After getting shut out Friday in the opener at Tennessee, Missouri split a doubleheader with the Volunteers on Saturday, including a 14-6 pounding in the series finale. The Tigers had thought they were on the verge of breaking out — "We're right there" was a weekly mantra. But injuries and slumps forced lineup changes, which stood in the way of consistency.

"We knew we were a really good offensive team," senior Dane Opel said. "It's just starting to come around. We're taking better approaches at the plate, better swings, and it's all starting to come together."...
LSU baseball team is hot, and so is freshman Alex Bregman (The Advocate)
Katz attributed Bregman’s success to Bregman being the baseball equivalent of a gym rat.

“He’ll go in and hit at all times of the day,” Katz said. “When he gets bored he just comes and hits and he’ll text me four times a day and say, ‘I’m at the field hitting. You want to come?’ ”

Katz joins him, and after they’re finished, they’ll leave. Thirty minutes later, Katz says, he’ll find out that Bregman returned to the cages.

“He’s like, ‘Yeah, I got bored again,’ ” Katz said. “The guy hits nonstop. He doesn’t get tired.”...
Better Know An Opponent: Missouri Tigers (And The Valley Shook)
Mizzou gets LSU at home, which is certainly a boost. Last week, I was openly calling for LSU to get that sweep against Auburn, but I think that's a bit unreasonable this weekend. Roadtrips are never easy, and the local crowd should be pretty esxcited to see one of the premier programs in the country. You have to figure LSU is going to get Mizzou's best shot. The question is, what is that? They took only one game from South Carolina, which is understandable, but then lost a series to Tennessee, which is not.
I think Mizzou is better than their record and their ranks, but LSU looks every bit as good as theirs. The False Tigers steal a game on Saturday or Sunday, but the Good Tigers come home with another series win...
MU not afraid to let it fly (Columbia Tribune)
It’s becoming a more common sight as teams continue to test the Tigers. Led by Dane Opel’s five assists, Missouri’s outfielder have thrown out nine baserunners this year — including seven at home.

Opel and Pearson each had an assist in Wednesday’s 11-4 victory over Nebraska-Omaha.

“They’ve got good arms. Dane’s really had a good spring,” said Missouri Coach Tim Jamieson, whose Tigers (9-12, 2-4 Southeastern Conference) host fourth-ranked LSU (23-2, 5-1) in a three-game series scheduled to begin at 6 tonight. “Of course, Logan’s got a good arm. We’ve got the capability.”

But it’s a high-risk, high-reward proposition...

SEC Weekend: LSU @ Missouri

♦ Be sure to check out Sam Nasci's Mizzou Matchup preview of the South Carolina Gamecocks here at

♦ Also check out our off-season South By Southeast posts about South Carolina Baseball:
♦ And for you LSU fans coming into Columbia, MO, for the weekend, check out The SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball for everything you need to know

♦ Be sure to take a look at Missouri Baseball Lookalikes at  Some of the links are broken, but its still funny.  Ed Harris as Tim Jamieson?

Freshman pitcher Mitch Sewald inspires team with speeches (LSU Reveille)
Mitch Sewald is the only LSU baseball player that hasn’t seen an inning of play this season.
For now, the freshman right-handed pitcher’s words are stronger than his pitch — he has the prominent role of delivering postgame speeches to the Tigers.
. . .
The team coined the Twitter hashtag #SpeechbyMeech to celebrate the weekly dialogue. After LSU’s 2-0 victory against Nicholls on March 3, Twitter was abuzz with shout-outs to Sewald. Bregman tweeted, “Big Meech was incredible today. Purely #Inspirational.”

But content of the speech — like the rules of Fight Club — cannot be spoken of.

It’s for team ears only. Sewald disclosed that he sometimes discusses the team’s upcoming matchups, but that’s all he’ll say...
New trio has LSU baseball team on fire (The Town Talk)
...Freshman shortstop Alex Bregman of Albuquerque, N.M., freshman center and right fielder Mark Laird of Monroe and junior college transfer third baseman Christian Ibarra are three reasons why LSU has such a glimmering look to it early on as they complement crusty senior left fielder Mason Katz and senior first baseman Raph Rhymes, who are performing like Brandon Larson and Eddy Furniss in '97...
LSU Impressive In Sweep of Auburn (And The Valley Shook)
LSU did just about everything well this weekend. They outscored Auburn 22 to 7 and racked up 34 hits in the process. LSU made just one error on the weekend, which was a booted grounder by Jacoby Jones on Sunday. On the very next batter, Jones turned a double play to wipe out his mistake. Lastly, LSU's starting pitching went a combined 21 innings and allowed a total of just five earned runs.
Next weekend, LSU travels to Missouri to face a pretty weak team. Missouri has managed to win their Sunday game against both South Carolina and Tennessee for a 2-4 conference record. LSU has a great opportunity to have seven or eight wins in their first nine conference games before the schedule really toughens up.


♦  Current SEC Rankings:  Missouri is 2-4 in the SEC, putting them tied for 4th in the SEC East; tied for 9th overall

♦ According to the latest Division 1 Baseball Attendance Report from, LSU has averaged 10,713 in attendance for their first 20 home games so far this season.  That puts them in 1st place on the list.

Missouri's average attendance at Taylor Stadium in 2012 was 824.

Taylor Stadium attendance in 2013 is not at all a clear picture at this point.  Mizzou had 15 home games on their schedule to-date.   4 of those were cancelled outright, one of those replaced by a D-II game. 5 were rescheduled (some were rescheduled more than once), resulting in no less than 3 double headers (all three in chilly conditions).  The end result is that the records for attendance at the 12 home games are incomplete at this time.  The all-time record attendance of 3,145 for that Friday game against South Carolina is less than one third of LSU's average attendance.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

MIZZOU MATCHUP: Louisiana State Tigers

Head Coach: Paul Mainieri 
(277-124-2 in 7th season as LSU Head Coach)

Taylor Stadium – Columbia, MO
Friday @ 6 PM CT
Saturday @ 1 PM CT (SPSO TV)
Sunday @ 1 PM CT

LSU (23-2, 5-1 SEC) @ Missouri (9-12, 2-4 SEC)

Missouri’s tough conference schedule continues with LSU, who have been in Baseball America’s Top 25 ever since the first week of the season. This will be only the second time they will be on the road for a series this season, after they opened their SEC schedule taking two of three from Mississippi State two weekends ago and then swept Auburn last weekend.

Position Players

Leading off for LSU is Baseball America’s First Team Preseason All-American JaCoby Jones, who has failed to live up to his expectation this year, as he has an average hovering around .250 to start the year.

The man who has set up the middle of the order recently for LSU has been right fielder Mark Laird. Laird is one of the five regular Tiger starters that are hitting well above .300, the other four following him directly in the lineup.

Shortstop Alex Bergman leads LSU in average so far, and is a well-rounded player. Bergman is the jack of all trades offensively, as he hits for average, power, and has yet to be caught stealing.  He was named the SEC Player of the Week after going .632 (12-for-19) in the Tigers’ four wins last week with two doubles, three RBI and six runs scored.

The most decorated Tiger is cleanup hitter Raph Rhymes. He earned SEC Player of the Year honors in 2012, as well as a spot on Baseball America’s Third Team All-American Team. While his play this year has been stellar, the man that comes after his is making a SEC Player of the Year run himself.

First baseman Mason Katz has dominated pitching during 2013. He has almost half the amount of homers as he does games played, leads the team in RBI and SLG, and is one of the top hitters for average in this intimidating LSU lineup. It seems that there is almost never a time when he is up to bat that there is not somebody on base for him.

Projected Lineup (stats as of 3/27)
2B JaCoby Jones (R) .202
RF Mark Laird (L) .359
SS Alex Bregman (R) .443
LF Raph Rhymes (R) .354
1B Mason Katz (R) .396
3B Christian Ibarra (R) .342
DH Tyler Moore (L) .275
C Ty Ross (R) .203
CF Andrew Stevenson (L) .241


The three LSU weekend starters have been nothing short of dominant in 2013. Ryan Eades and Aaron Nola both have more strikeouts than innings pitched, Sunday starter Cody Glenn pitches more to contact, but does not walk very many, much like the other two.

Projected Matchups (stats as of 3/21)
LHP Rob Zastryzny (1-3, 4.05 ERA) vs. RHP Aaron Nola (3-0, 3.29 ERA)
RHP Brett Graves (0-2, 2.45 ERA) vs. RHP Ryan Eades (5-0, 1.63 ERA)
RHP Alec Rash (2-1, 0.53 ERA) vs. LHP Cody Glenn (4-1, 2.27 ERA)

Matchup Wrap-up

Just like with South Carolina, Mizzou will have to be solid on every aspect of the game if they want to take at least a game against 4th ranked LSU. They are one of the top teams in the nation so far in 2013, and the middle of their lineup shows why. Strong outings from Mizzou starters will be a necessity or the heart of the order will make them pay.

Other SEC games this weekend:
Alabama @ Auburn
(25) Mississippi State @ (15) Arkansas
(11) Ole Miss @ Florida
Georgia @ (8) Kentucky
Texas A&M @(17) South Carolina
Tennessee @ (3) Vanderbilt

Rankings from Baseball America

HI NOTES: Future Tiger, Former Tiger Get Attention


127: Official attendance at yesterday's 11-4 win over Nebraska-Omaha

♦ A couple of post-game tweets from Mavericks players:


Brock Bond Wins Harry S. Jordan Award (McCovey Chronicles)
Every year, the Giants give out the Harry S. Jordan award to the "player in his first big league camp whose performance and dedication in Spring Training best exemplifies the San Francisco Giants spirit." This year, the award went to Brock Bond, who is probably on base somewhere right now, secretly wondering why this was his first big-league camp.
That's a .410 OBP in the minors, and his defense isn't going to make anyone forget about Freddy Sanchez, but it's at least Keppinger-quality. As the last man on the bench, with Arias already available to play short, I'm all about Bond as a utility player, dang it...


Scouts checking out Hazelwood West pitcher Devin Williams (KSDK)
The high school baseball season has been interrupted by snow, but it hasn't kept one player in town from creating a stir.

Almost every time this young man throws a baseball between now and the Major League Baseball draft, there will be about 30 grown men pointing guns at him....

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

HI NOTES: Big Move for Tep, Big Crowds for MU UNO Game

Tepesch named No. 5 starter; Profar sent to Triple-A (Texas Rangers)
But the big move was the Rangers choosing Tepesch as their fifth starter. They had considered Kirkman, and he is going to start against the Angels on Wednesday. But the Rangers told Tepesch on Tuesday that he will be the fifth starter and Kirkman was told he is staying in the bullpen.

"It feels good but I've still got a lot of hard work ahead of me," Tepesch said. "I still have a couple more starts to do my thing. It's just the beginning of the hard work. I've got to keep after it."

Tepesch, who is not yet on the 40-man roster, is scheduled to start in a Minor League game on Wednesday and for Round Rock on April 4. If all goes well, he will make his Major League debut on April 9 against the Rays at the Ballpark in Arlington. The Rangers could carry an extra reliever for the first 10 days until Tepesch is officially called up.

"It was a mix of everything," Daniels said. "Nick has impressed. We knew he was a strike thrower and had a four-pitch mix, but we were really impressed with the way he handled situations and the way he handled adversity. He didn't change. He earned it."...


♦ Fans should plan to arrive early to get a parking place and grab a ticket for today's game, with demand at a premium.  The Athletic Department will no doubt be hiring extra Event Staff and opening up multiple concession stands for the throngs expected at today's 2:00 game against the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks.  With the game rescheduled from yesterday, with highs in the mid to upper 40s, in the middle of Spring Break, starting in the middle of a business day afternoon ... the stands will most definitely be packed.  We could threaten that record set a couple of weeks ago against South Carolina.

♦ Again, check out Sam Nasci's preview of the UNO Mavericks, although by now some of those players mentioned may have already graduated.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

HI NOTES: Another Snowstorm, Another Rescheduled Game

♦ Be sure to check out Sam Nasci's Mizzou Matchup preview of the Mizzou vs. Nebraska-Omaha game.

The Extra Nine: A Mizzou Baseball Blog (
...Mizzou is scheduled to take on Nebraska-Omaha on Tuesday, a team the Tigers beat 14-4 last season. On the weekend, top-10 LSU comes to Columbia for a three-game weekend set. The visiting Tigers have won both series against Mizzou historically, and Missouri is 0-2 against LSU during head coach Tim Jamieson's tenure. Of course, Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson and LSU head coach Paul Mainieri played with each other for two seasons while at the University of New Orleans. Jamieson and Mainieri have met in opposing dugouts before, but this will be the first time with Mainieri donning the LSU jersey. Jamieson is 1-1 against Mainieri with both meetings coming while Mainieri was at Notre Dame - Jamieson's squad won 13-1 in 1999 while Mainieri's Irish won 7-6 in 10 innings back in 2002...

Monday, March 25, 2013

MIZZOU MATCHUP: Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks

Head Coach: Bob Herold 
(425-290-2 in 14th season as Nebraska-Omaha Head Coach)

Taylor Stadium – Columbia, MO
Tuesday @ 2 PM CT

Nebraska-Omaha (5-11, 0-0 Summit) @ Missouri (7-12, 2-4 SEC)

Mizzou will play a contest Tuesday afternoon against the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks of the Summit League. Omaha has yet to find their stride so far this year, which shows in their record, home and away.

Position Players

Cleanup hitter Alex Mortensen (.436 BA) highlights the Maverick lineup. Mortensen leads the team in every major offensive category, and is the only Omaha player hitting over .400. As the team’s catcher, he was named to the Preseason All-Summit team.

Hitting in front of him is shortstop Clayton Taylor, who has done a nice job of getting on base for the backstop. He has a knack for getting on base, with his OBP .529.

Behind them in the middle of the order is Ryan Keele. Keele is their best candidate to pick up all the RBIs, hitting behind the two leading hitters on the team, although his lack of extra base hit production (.340 slugging %) is taking many of those opportunities away from him.

Projected Lineup (stats as of 3/24)
DH Brett Bass .333
3B Tyler Splichal .259
SS Clayton Taylor .385
C Alex Mortensen .436
RF Ryan Keele .320
2B Connor Messinger .296
CF Alex Schultz .282
1B Caleb Palensky .158
LF Cole Gruber .269


My projected pitcher for Tuesday’s game is freshman Tyler Fox. He has been very solid on the mound for the Mavericks, picking up his only win on 3/9 against North Dakota. He blew up his ERA with 1 bad inning this past weekend.  He keeps his walks down and his K rate up, which says he will be around the strike zone all day.

Projected Matchups
RHP Jace James (2-0, 1.25 ERA) vs. RHP Tyler Fox (1-0, 5.14 ERA)

Matchup Wrap-up

Omaha is a very solid defensive team, committing fewer errors than games so far this year. If Jace James continues to pitch like he has been lately, the Tigers should be able to keep the Maverick bats quiet enough to pull out a victory.

Other SEC games this week:
Alabama vs. UAB 3/26
Mississippi Valley State @ (15) Arkansas 3/26-27
Auburn @ Troy 3/26
Florida vs. Florida State 3/26
Clemson vs. Georgia 3/26-27
Marshall @ (8) Kentucky 3/26
(4) LSU @ Tulane 3/26
Arkansas State @ (11) Ole Miss 3/27
Austin Peay @ (25) Mississippi State 3/26
(17) South Carolina @ College of Charleston 3/26
Tennessee Tech @ Tennessee 3/26
UT Arlington @ Texas A&M 3/26
Lipscomb @ (3) Vanderbilt 3/26

Rankings from Baseball America

HI NOTES: Perspective, Pain, Prospects & Pitches

8-14  2013 Record after 22 games
14-8  2012 Record after 22 games
12-10 2011 Record after 22 games

.238  2013 Team Batting Average after 22 games
.270  2012 Team Batting Average after 22 games
.279  2011 Team Batting Average after 22 games

3.42  2013 Team ERA after 22 games
3.94  2012 Team ERA after 22 games
5.03  2011 Team ERA after 22 games

♦ Check out the photo gallery of Saturday's Game 2 at, and click to photo #24 of Shane Segovia at the time of his injury.

UT baseball starts with a rally, ends with a blowout in doubleheader split with Missouri (Go Vols Xtra)
Tennessee’s baseball team was pumped Saturday after beating Missouri 7-6 with a two-run rally in the ninth inning.

Too bad the Vols had to play a second game.

Missouri scored 12 runs in the first four innings on its way to a 14-6 victory in the second game of an SEC doubleheader before an announced crowd of 1,560 fans at Lindsey Nelson Stadium...

Armed and Ready (
Expectations are high at Hagerstown — and for good reason.

Cole Bartlett’s NCAA Division I-bound arm is just one of six all-Tri-Eastern Conference seniors returning for the Tigers, and one of eight returning starters.
. . .
Bartlett set a school record with 99 strikeouts last season and will split time between the mound and outfield...

Scherzer tweaking pitches (Fox Sports Detroit)
"Pretty good," Scherzer said of his outing. "Obviously, I'm building up my arm strength and now. I was at 85 pitches, so physically I'm in a spot, still tweaking throughout all my off-speed stuff.

"Didn't feel it was quite as sharp as it needed to be (Saturday) where I'm at in spring training. I did finish strong and threw some good sliders at the end. I am making strides to be ready for the season."
. . .
"It's just fine-tuning everything you want to do, all the little executions throughout the whole game," Scherzer said. "That's where you start getting into what makes you ready for the regular season."
An Incomplete Syllogism Concerning Max Scherzer (Fangraphs)
...On the mound, Tigers right-hander Max Scherzer is a purveyor of spiritual delights...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

HI NOTES: Mizzou Outscores UT...and other sunny perspectives

Yes, as a matter of fact, the Tigers did outscore Tennessee 20-17 over the 3 game series.

Zack Godley goes the distance for Vols in 4-0 win over Missouri (Go Vols Xtra)
The thermometer read 43 degrees. A fine mist was trying to fall as the few spectators came out from under their blankets to find their car keys.

Yet the song by U2 blaring from Lindsey Nelson Stadium’s public address system proclaimed over and over, “It’s a beautiful day. It’s a beautiful day.’’

In its own way, it had been.

Zack Godley pitched Tennessee’s first complete-game shutout since 2006 as the Vols claimed their first Friday night win of the year, 4-0, over Missouri...

Friday, March 22, 2013

HI NOTES: Future Tiger Pitchers, Tep to Dallas?


Nick Tepesch top candidate for No. 5 rotation spot (Dallas News)
Right-hander Nick Tepesch is the top candidate to open the season as the fifth starter. Veteran non-roster right-handers Derek Lowe and Randy Wells are also candidates...


♦ Be sure to take time to read this piece about the wealth of pitching in St. Louis area preps this season, featuring a couple of Mizzou recruits and a former Mizzou assistant pitching coach: If it really is all about pitching, St. Louis is primed for a big year (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
“This is the best class of arms coming out of the St. Louis area that I can remember in quite a while,” DeLunas said. “Even when I was down at Mizzou (as an assistant coach) from ’06 to ’09, we’d obviously come in and try to pluck some arms out of here. As far as the overall quality, I can’t remember the last time there was this many 90-mile-an-hour guys...”

The right-handed Williams and left-handed Brentz, who has opted to pitch in an exposure league in Iowa instead of playing for his high school, are hard-throwing Mizzou signees who could be selected in the early rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft this June.

“We were always challenging each other to get better,” Williams said of the twice-weekly workouts. “Then whenever we did (velocity) testing and stuff, it was always fun to see who would throw the hardest that week.”
SWC teams loaded with baseball talent again this year (
Collinsville (15-21): The Kahoks believe their pitching stacks up favorably with anyone in the conference, especially when 6-5 junior right-hander Tanner Houck (4-5, 2.53 ERA, 67 strikeouts in 58 innings) is on the mound.
Already committed to Missouri, Houck burst onto the conference scene last spring as a sophomore and immediately began turning heads and carving up lineups....
More on Tanner Houck HERE

2014 Mizzou Recruit: RHP/3B Tanner Houck

Tanner Houck, RHP
6'5", 185 lb, R/R
Collinsville HS (IL)

2012 Stats: 4-5, 2.53 ERA, 67 SO, 58 IP

Already committed to Missouri, Houck burst onto the conference scene last spring as a sophomore and immediately began turning heads and carving up lineups.

His fastball is hovering in the mid-80s mph range this spring and has been clocked as high as 88.

"For me it's exciting to have a kid you can run out there once a week that can be dominating," Kahoks coach Pete Trapp said. "He definitely had a breakout year last year, he put his name on the map to the conference. He's a special kid, he's got a lot of things going for him and does a lot of things well."

Trapp said Houck's final two choices were Missouri and Missouri State.

"He really liked the pitching coach at Misso
uri State, but he's been a big Mizzou fan his whole life," Trapp said. "I think he's really happy with his decision."
2012 North California Showcase: Tanner Houck (Perfect Game)
Tanner Houck is a 2014 RHP/3B with a 6-5 185 lb. frame from Collinsville, IL who attends Collinsville HS. Tall lanky pitcher's build, lots of room to get stronger. Long whippy arm action, 3/4's slot, gets downhill with his pitches and pounds the lower part of the zone, good extension out front. Fastball to 83 mph, nice consistent tailing life, can throw his fastball to spots, deep sweeping slider is solid second pitch, mixes and knows how to pitch, projects to throw harder with additional strength. Right handed hitter, tall narrow stance, aggressive swing with some lift, best contact to right centerfield, playable defensive tools at third base, accurate throws. Good student...
Prep Baseball Report Profile (
Athletic frame with length, 6-foot-5, 190-pound right handed pitcher, very projectable frame. Tall and fall style delivery, rhythm is smooth, slower tempo. Arm action is long, quick arm, operates from a high ¾ arm slot. Fastball has hard run, thrown with command, 86-87 mph, touches 88 mph, maintains velocity from the stretch, also showed cut fastball at 83-84 mph. Curveball has 11/5 shape, arm speed decelerates, 72-73 mph, thrown for strikes, works the bottom of the zone. Splitter is thrown with arm speed, has sink, stays on top and keeps down, 78-79 mph. Highly projectable right handed pitcher, arm works well and frame will continue to develop. Missouri recruit.

SEC Weekend: Mizzou @ Tennessee

♦ Schedule Change - Or Not

It was announced early Thursday evening that due to inclement weather in the forecast for Sunday, Mizzou and Tennessee will now play a DH on Saturday, beginning at noon CT (1 ET).

However, Tennessee later changed the schedule back:
Due to SEC policy, the game times for this weekend's series between the Tennessee and Missouri baseball teams have been reverted back to their original times of 6 p.m. on Friday, 4 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Per the conference's policy for inclement weather on Sundays, game times cannot be changed until weather data is reviewed late Friday night or early Saturday morning. At that time, a decision will be made about whether or not it would be prudent to play a doubleheader on Saturday in lieu of a Sunday contest.
Obviously, the scheduling may change again, so we'll have to watch for further news Friday night.

♦ Be sure to check out Sam Nasci's Mizzou Matchup preview of the Tennessee Volunteers here at

♦ Also check out our off-season South By Southeast posts about South Carolina Baseball:

Dave Serrano on UT's victory: 'We overcame ourselves,' 5-4 (
In the clubhouse, it’s simply called a “dose.”

And these “doses” have slowly become a staple in Tennessee’s offense.

The process to get one is simple enough — turn your back and lean toward the plate.

To others, it may be called getting hit by a pitch or beaned.

But to Tennessee baseball coach Dave Serrano, they’re known as “rally starters.”...
Diamond Vols look to right ship (UT Daily Beacon)
"Missouri doesn't come in with a great record but they have a good pitching staff," Serrano said. "Their pitching numbers are very good. To date, they haven't hit well as a team.

"They'll be tough, they took one from South Carolina this weekend. They are not coming in to back down to anybody so we are going to have to stand up to them and look them in the face and play our type of game."

After a performance that saw the Vols get outscored 33-9 against Alabama, there a lot of aspects of the game that need improving before this weekend's action...
Tennessee Volunteers: Baseball And Softball Update (All For Tennessee)
The Tennessee Volunteers dropped two of three games against the Alabama Crimson Tide this past weekend.
The rubber game on Sunday was an ugly affair for the Volunteers. Tennessee scored first for the third straight game, but Alabama scored 8 runs in the bottom of the first. The Vols would not score again and the Tide would add 7 more runs for a 15-1 win in the series finale...
♦ And yes, the Volunteers are just another bunch of college guys:


Nationally ranked
  • * #2 Vanderbilt (19-3)  Swept Auburn 3-0 last weekend, then took a mid-week lost against Middle Tennessee State.
  • * #5 South Carolina (18-3).  Took 2 of 3 from Mizzou last weekend; 
  • #6 Mississippi (20-2).  Won 2 of 3 vs. Arkansas last week
  • * #7 LSU (19-2)  Took 2 of 3 from Mississippi State
  • * #10 Kentucky (16-4)  Took 2 of 3 from Florida last weekend , then lost one to Western Kentucky midweek.
  • #19 Mississippi State (20-4)  Lost 2 of 3 to LSU last weekend.
  • #21 Arkansas (14-7)  Lost 2 of 3 to Ole Miss last weekend.
  • * Auburn (15-6)  Swept by Vanderbilt last weekend.
  • * Texas A&M (15-7)  Swept Georgia last weekend.
  • * Alabama (13-9)  Won 2 of 3 from Tennessee last weekends
  • * Tennessee (11-9) Lost 2 of 3 to Alabama last weekend; then got a win against Western Carolina midweek
  • * Florida (10-12) Lost 2 of 3 to Kentucky last weekend. 
  • * Georgia (8-13)  Was swept by Texas A&M last weekend; then lost to Furman midweek
  • Missouri (6-10)  Won 1 of 3 against South CArolina last weekend, then split a double header vs. Arkansas State midweek..
* Teams on Mizzou's 2013 schedule

Thursday, March 21, 2013

MIZZOU MATCHUP: Tennessee Volunteers

Head Coach: Dave Serrano
 (35-40 in 2nd season as Tennessee Head Coach)

Lindsey Nelson Stadium – Knoxville, TN
Friday @ 5 PM CT
Saturday @ 3 PM CT
Sunday @ 1 PM CT

Missouri (7-10, 1-2 SEC) @ Tennessee (11-9, 1-2 SEC)

Missouri begins their SEC road schedule in Knoxville against the Tennessee Volunteers. Tennessee began their conference play last week, taking one of three from Alabama, winning narrowly in the middle game 7-6, but the other two games they were outscored 27-2. The Vols are 8-2 at home so far this season.

Position Players
The lineup for Tennessee is not quite as strong as many of the teams that the Tigers have faced so far this year, but at the top of their order is their best hitter, Will Maddox. Making the All-SEC Freshman team last year, he is out trying to prove his consistency in the Tennessee lineup, leading the team in AVG (.365), R (17), and RBI (14). His speed is also a factor, as he is 9-11 on SB attempts.

First baseman Scott Price is the only Volunteer other than Maddox to have started in all 20 games. He is their biggest power threat in the lineup, as he has compiled 9 extra base hits, all doubles. This lineup does not have very much power, only hitting 4 triples as 2 HR all season. One thing Price does that the rest of the team has trouble doing is avoiding Ks. He is the only regular starter for Tennessee that has more walks than strikeouts.

As a team, Tennessee, love to swing. They have struck out 136 times to their 83 walks, but have been hit by a pitch 35 times. Their knack of striking out does not bode well with their lack of power. Their need to play small ball will have trouble succeeding if their lineup as a whole has trouble putting the ball into play.

3B Will Maddox (L) .365
DH Jeff Moberg (R) .306
1B Scott Price (L) .350
RF Christin Stewart (L) .288
CF Pierce Bily (R) .309
2B Taylor Smart (R) .283
LF Vincent Jackson (L) .239
C Ethan Bennett (R) .231
SS A.J. Simcox (R) .212

Tennessee has struggled to find a consistent starter so far this season, and nobody has been able to completely separate themselves as a dominant ace. Zack Godley has been the closest thing to it, owning their lowest ERA for a starter at 3.78. The other two of my anticipated starters for the weekend have really struggled to find their stride so far. Andy Cox has a WHIP of 2.160, showing that he has an extremely hard time keeping opposing players off the bases.

Projected Matchups
Friday: LHP Rob Zastryzny (1-3, 4.05 ERA) vs. RHP Zack Godley (1-2, 3.78 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Brett Graves (0-2, 2.45 ERA) vs. LHP Andy Cox (1-2, 8.10 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Keaton Steele (2-0, 2.63 ERA) vs. RHP Aaron Quillen (1-1, 5.74 ERA)

Matchup Wrap-up
If Mizzou plays the way that they did against South Carolina, they have a very good chance of at least taking two of three this weekend. If the pitchers keep the bottom of the order off the bases, then the Tennessee hitters that are actually doing well this year will have no opportunity to drive in runs. On the other side, if Missouri batters are patient and look for good pitches to hit, they should find success.

Other SEC games this weekend (all 3/22-24):
Alabama @ Georgia
(21) Arkansas @ (5) South Carolina
Auburn @ (7) LSU
Florida @ (2) Vanderbilt
(19) Mississippi State @ (10) Kentucky
Texas A&M @ (6) Ole Miss

Rankings from Baseball America

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

HI NOTES: Tuesday Split,


Opel homers twice, Mizzou baseball splits doubleheader with Arkansas State (KBIA Sports Extra)
Entering its doubleheader with visiting Arkansas State on Tuesday, the Missouri baseball team had not hit a home run through its first 15 games of the season. On Tuesday, Dane Opel connected for two homers on his own.

Opel had a big day at the plate, going 4-6 with three runs scored and five runs batted in, as Missouri (7-10) split its doubleheader with Arkansas State (15-7)...

Passed ball leads to Missouri collapse in second game of doubleheader (Columbia Missourian)
“Once we tied it, I thought we were gonna win the game, honestly,” Missouri pitcher Jace James said. “Then, all of sudden, it was a snowball effect kind of thing. We couldn’t stop it.”

James watched the second game from the bench after starting the first. The one earned run James allowed was his first in 19.1 innings this season...

Boyd's World now lists Mizzou as having the 27th toughest Strength of Schedule in D-1 Baseball.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Schedule Change: Double Header Today

Mizzou to Play Doubleheader Tuesday at 4 p.m. (
Mizzou baseball and Arkansas State will play a doubleheader Tuesday (March 19) beginning at 4 p.m. as announced by the Mizzou baseball program Monday (March 18). Wednesday's 4 p.m. game has been cancelled and moved to Tuesday following the completion of the first game due to forecasted cold temperatures into the evening hours Wednesday.

HI NOTES: Steele SEC POW, MU #1 In SEC, The Anti-Bracket

SEC Baseball Players of the Week (SEC Digital Network)
PITCHER OF THE WEEK: Keaton Steele • Missouri
Junior • RHP • St. Joseph, Mo.
  • Earned the win in the Tigers’ first-ever SEC win in a 4-0 shutout of No. 5 South Carolina in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday. He pitched six shutout innings, allowing just three hits to the fifth-ranked Gamecocks while striking out seven and issuing just one walk.
  • He allowed just four base runners to SC in the six innings and not one base runner advanced past first base in the win. The seven strikeouts in the game are a career-high for Steele as are the 6.0 innings pitched.

The Extra Nine: A Mizzou Baseball Blog (
6 - Disarming Gamecocks' Top Guns: The Tiger pitchers did an excellent job this weekend, shutting down a dangerous South Carolina lineup to hold the Gamecocks to a .183 batting average. Specifically, Mizzou did a great job against the Gamecocks' Joey Pankake and LB Dantzler, who entered the series batting .373 and .429, respectively, combining for 10 home runs and 39 RBI on the year. Over the weekend series, Pankake was held to just 2-for-12 with one RBI, and Dantzler was held to 1-for-13 at the plate, including going hitless in his final 11 at bats...


As per my usual practice, I have filled out my bracket as only someone who knows very little about college basketball and a lot about college baseball can do: I determine the winner of each match based on how I think their current baseball teams would do. Unfortunately, Missouri is eliminated by Louisville in the 2nd round by my plan, since Louisville Baseball is currently one of the top teams in D-1 Baseball. My Final Four? North Carolina beats UNLV, Louisville beats Ole Miss, the Tarheels win it all.

But if you think my approach to Bracketology is odd, check out the Mascot Method at House of Sparky, or the Pick Your Favorite Colors method at

And I guarantee you'l like the winner of All 68 NCAA Tournament Schools Ranked By Coolest Person Who Went There from Sports Illustrated Extra Mustard.

Monday, March 18, 2013

MIZZOU MATCHUP: Arkansas State Red Wolves

Head Coach: Tommy Raffo 
(127-118-1 in 5th season as Arkansas State Head Coach)

Taylor Stadium – Columbia, MO
Tuesday @ 6 PM CT
Wednesday @ 4 PM CT

Arkansas State (14-6, 3-0 Sun Belt) @ Missouri (6-9, 1-2 SEC)

Arkansas State comes to Columbia with a modest four game winning streak, having swept Sun Belt foe Arkansas-Little Rock over the weekend. Their 19-9 conference record last year was good enough for second, but lost in their conference championship game. They have a 5-3 record on the road so far in 2013.

Position Players

First baseman Logan Uxa has been the Red Wolves’ best hitter so far this season, leading the team in multiple offensive categories from the cleanup spot. His .346 average comes with power, as he leads the team with 9 extra base hits, 7 of them doubles.

Some production has come from the bottom of the order with second baseman Alex Potts. Potts has started all 20 games for Arkansas State, and although he was slotted in the bottom third of the order for the Red Wolves over the weekend, he is close behind Uxa for the team leader in average, hitting .344. The difference between the two is the lack of power that Potts provides. Of his 21 hits so far, only 3 have come for extra bases (all doubles), keeping his slugging percentage under .400.

The team’s power has been, for the most part, supplied by centerfielder Collin Massanelli. While his slugging percentage (.537), and his team leading RBI total (14), seem impressive, it shows a stereotypical power-hitter downside. Of his 67 AB, he has struck out 21 times, while drawing only 4 BB.

On the flip side, right fielder Ryan Emery is the most patient hitter in the Red Wolves’ lineup. Over a quarter of his plate appearances results in a walk, as he has drawn 25 of them in 20 games in 2013, 10 more than his closest teammate. The Tiger pitchers will have to go right after him, as Uxa follows him in the order.

LF Austin Baker (L) .250
CF Collin Massanelli (L) .328
RF Ryan Emery (L) .317
1B Logan Uxa (L) .346
3B Claude Johnson (R) .301
2B Alex Potts (R) .344
C Ryan Roberts (L) .212
DH Ethan Yeo (S) .158
SS Dustin Jones (R) .205


Both of my projected starters for Arkansas State this week have only started one game apiece this year, but they have been dominant early in the season. They have combined for 16.2 innings so far and have given up a mere one earned run apiece. Their starts both came against Missouri State last week, who have started at a strong 13-5 record.

Projected Matchups
Tuesday: RHP Alec Rash (1-1, 0.00 ERA) vs. RHP Derek Birginske (0-0, 1.17 ERA)
Wednesday: RHP Jace James (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. RHP Cody Woodhouse (0-0, 1.00 ERA)

Matchup Wrap-up

The Red Wolves’ boast a lineup that has six lefties and a switch hitter, which can be trouble for Mizzou’s pitching staff that has a limited amount of southpaws. One thing that Arkansas State has trouble doing is stealing bases. They have only 7 so far this year, being caught just as many times.

Other SEC games this week:
Alabama @ Samford 3/19
Jacksonville State @ Alabama 3/20
Alabama State @ Auburn 3/19
Auburn vs. Southern Mississippi 3/20
North Florida @ Florida 3/19
Furman @ Georgia 3/19
Western Kentucky @ (10) Kentucky 3/19
Northwestern State @ (7) LSU 3/20
Alcorn State @ (19) Mississippi State 3/19
(5) South Carolina @ The Citadel 3/19
Western Carolina @ Tennessee 3/20
Dallas Baptist @ Texas A&M 3/19
(2) Vanderbilt @ Middle Tennessee State 3/20
Idle: (21) Arkansas, (6) Mississippi

Rankings from Baseball America

SEC Weekend: A Walk On The Beach

Oh,so that's why they they let Mizzou beat them 4-0...

Missouri baseball gets first SEC win (Columbia Missourian)
First-year South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook said the conditions weren't a factor. They were the same for both teams. Steele disagreed.

"We’re not cold at all," Steele said. "We took ground balls the other day when the wind chill was 4 degrees. I wasn’t cold, that felt like I was on a beach."...
Tigers finally beat No. 6 South Carolina (The Maneater)
It took three tries, but the Missouri baseball team finally has its first SEC win after beating South Carolina in latter half of Saturday’s doubleheader, 4-0.

The Tigers offense, which had mustered a mere run in two games against the Gamecocks, came out roaring in the first two frames. In the bottom of the first, senior right fielder Dane Opel walked and later scored on junior catcher Dylan Kelly’s double that dribbled down the third base line...
Tigers win first SEC game, split doubleheader (Columbia Tribune)
Dylan Kelly had a pair of doubles, and RBI and a run for the Tigers.
Steele entered in the fourth inning and shut out the Gamecocks on three hits over the final five innings. He struck out seven...
Missouri loses 2-0 in first of two Saturday games (The Maneater)
Tigers drop conference opener 4-1 to No. 6 South Carolina (The Maneater)
Mizzou baseball earns first SEC win during doubleheader split on Saturday (KBIA Sports Extra)
The home team broke through during the damp second game of the day, however, and overpowered South Carolina to a 4-0 win. The trio of Missouri pitchers in Alec Rash, Jake Walsh and Keaton Steele kept the Gamecocks’ offense at bay. Dane Opel, Dylan Kelly and Shane Segovia each knocked in runs for the Tigers...
Top 25 Upsets (Baseball America)
(5) South Carolina at Missouri: The Gamecocks clinched the series with a 2-0 win in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, but Missouri avoided a sweep with a 4-0 win in the finale...Keaton Steele (6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K) came out of the bullpen to shut down the Gamecocks in the nightcap, leading Mizzou to its first-ever SEC victory...

Sunday, March 17, 2013

HI NOTES: Bond, Stites Sent Down; Tep Hanging In; MU Recruits Ready For Spring


Giants Make Cuts (McCovey Chronicles)
Some of the fringe candidates for the remaining utility spots were reassigned to minor-league camp according to Andrew Baggarly, with Brock Bond, Heath Hembree, and others getting reassigned.
. . .
Bond will be on the 40-man one of these days, dang it. But until he is, he's at a big disadvantage in these kinds of roster scrums...
Padres trim roster at Major League camp (
The Padres reassigned four pitchers to Minor League camp Saturday, leaving the team with 51 players remaining in Major League camp.
. . .
Stites yielded seven runs in four innings in five games. He'll likely start the season with Single-A Lake Elsinore....
Tepesch goes five solid in loss to Cubs (
Tepesch, making his second start and fourth overall appearance of the season, gave up three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out two in five innings. Tepesch now has a 3.46 ERA on the spring and opponents are hitting .250 off him.

Tepesch's biggest problem was letting the leadoff hitter reach base. That happened in four of his five innings. Steve Clevenger's double started off a two-run third and Scott Hairston's second home run of the spring led off the fourth...

Two Mizzou recruits, solid core make Hazelwood West a tough out (St Louis Post Dispatch)
Topping the list of key returning players on the varsity squad are seniors Devin Williams and Jared Fosdick, who both have inked letters of intent with Mizzou. Williams went 2-3 with a 3.21 earned run average and 52 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings last year, and Fosdick was 6-3 with a 2.35 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 62 2/3 innings of work...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Bully For Old Mizzou

What a weekend!!  I sat through all 3 games of Mizzou Baseball's first SEC series:
  • The amazing record-setting crowd on Friday night that witnessed the Tigers battle the Gamecocks for 9 innings, losing by 3 runs.
  • Game 2, the first of the double header, with the temperature in the mid-40s limiting the crowd to about a third of Friday's, another close fought game that the Tigers lost 2-0.
  • The final game, with temps at 42 and dropping, spitting rain, bitter winds, and a marvelous 4-0 victory.

I couldn't be more proud of this Tiger Baseball team.

They outhit the Gamecocks for the series. Played tough and close in every game. Never gave up.

They only won 1 of the 3. Only. Against arguably the best team in D1 over the past few years. Against a team that was predicted to absolutely crush Mizzou.

This series should give the team confidence that they do belong in the SEC, they can compete and win in the SEC, and will not be the whipping boys of the conference, they will not be donkey stomped or violated or any other of the colorful descriptions used by fans of other SEC teams AND Mizzou "fans".

If this team can match up to 5th ranked South Carolina this well, there isn't any team on Mizzou's SEC schedule that isn't beatable.

This may not be a team that's likely to win the SEC any time soon. As I've said all along, they can legitimately be expected to finish 7th or 8th in the conference - somewhere near the middle of the pack - just like they did in the Big 12.

Could we hope for better?  Certainly.  Should we settle for a 1-2 showing for any SEC series? Absolutely not.

But this is a team that has earned the right to be respected and supported by True Sons of Missouri.

The Predictions

"Carolina is going in dry this weekend...No lube in sight all year. Will be painful."

"its going to be a bloodbath"

"I love the SEC and glad we are in it but we are going to get absolutely ass raped in baseball this year."

"In baseball, we are going to get drilled often in the SEC."

The Series

♦ South Carolina won the series, 2-1

♦ South Carolina was expected to sweep Missouri

♦ Missouri shut out South Carolina in game 3, 4-0. The last time USC was shut out was April 2011, by The Citadel

♦ The Gamecocks outscored Missouri 6-5 for the entire series. The largest margin of victory was in MU's 4-0 win.

♦ Missouri out-hit South Carolina for the series, 23-19

The Nay-Sayers

♦ From "Carolina will forever be the first SEC win for Mizzou, and with the way Mizzou has been play they could very well be the only SEC win for Mizzou for a while..."

♦ From (addresssed to a South Carolina fan): "I can't believe you let us win a game...that should not have happened. Sorry that probably ruined your chances at winning the SEC. Good luck the rest of the way... dead serious. This isn't softball. we are not good."

The Kudos

Friday, March 15, 2013

HI NOTES: Grand Opening & Two On Saturday

♦ 3,145 fans packed Taylor Stadium Friday night, a new regular season record.

♦ While the Tigers lost, 4-1, the team did itself proud and the fans got to see a well-played, closely matched ballgame, in which Mizzou outhit the Gamecocks 9-7.

♦ In a schedule change, Mizzou and South Carolina will play the final two games of the series beginning Saturday at 2 p.m. in a doubleheader. The scheduled game Sunday will be cancelled if the teams complete two games Saturday.

HI NOTES: It's South Carolina, Not the New York Yankees

♦ South Carolina players are not superhuman.  They're just a bunch of college students.

Missouri baseball hosts No. 5 South Carolina in first SEC game (Columbia Missourian)
"They’re a great team, but we can’t get caught up in all that," Sommerfeld said. "I remember as a freshman I kind of came in big-eyed with all these big-name teams, but once the first pitch is thrown it’s still baseball, so it’s the same game."...
Amid uncertainty about starting pitching, USC’s hitting remains hot (Charleston Post and Courier)
Yes, concerns remain about starting pitching. Ace Jordan Montgomery will miss his second consecutive start tonight because of an elbow bone stress reaction. USC coach Chad Holbrook doesn’t expect him to start in either of the next two series, home against Arkansas and Texas A&M. Evan Beal, a prodigious right-hander with two career starts, gets the nod tonight.

Nolan Belcher hasn’t allowed a run in 18 straight innings,and he would ideally start tonight, Holbrook said. But Belcher threw 118 and 103 pitches the past two Sundays, so Holbrook couldn’t move him up two days. Belcher will throw Saturday this weekend. Sunday’s start goes to Colby Holmes, whose earned run average in his past two Saturday starts is 8.00.

There is no uncertainty right now about USC’s bats...
Hockey roots give Kelly an edge at the plate (The Maneater)
His numbers speak true to his hitting prowess, though they don’t tell who Kelly really is. Despite it being his first season at Missouri, he considers himself a leader on the team. Last Saturday, for example, Kelly shouted encouragement from the field, trying to keep his team together in a lopsided 8-3 loss to San Francisco.

Outside the game, Kelly displays an amiable persona. With a goofy grin and wild hair, he always shakes hands with reporters and talks with tremendous confidence. He even apologized once for “cussing” after using the word “hell.”

Despite his undeniable baseball abilities, Kelly will tell you right away that his athletic career didn’t start on a warm, dirt infield. In fact, it was just the opposite...
♦ For a rare civil message board thread about Mizzou Baseball facing USC, check out

♦ According to the SEC Digital Network, Rob Zatryzny is apparently the only starting pitcher Mizzou plans to use this weekend.

SEC Weekend: South Carolina @ Taylor Stadium

♦ Be sure to check out Sam Nasci's Mizzou Matchup preview of the South Carolina Gamecocks here at

♦ Also check out our off-season South By Southeast posts about South Carolina Baseball:
♦ And for you USC fans coming into Columbia, MO, for the weekend, check out The SEC Fan's Guide to Mizzou Baseball for everything you need to know.

Fan Primer: Mizzou Baseball vs. South Carolina (
The Mizzou baseball program opens SEC play against No. 5 South Carolina this weekend at Taylor Stadium and there will be plenty of promotions to help kick off the historic weekend. Aside from a nearly perfect forecast, Friday night (March 15) should be memorable for fans in attendance as there will be pre-game fireworks and free t-shirts for the first 500 fans. The gold commemorative t-shirts are part of the ®Gold Rush game as fans will be encouraged to wear gold to the game, which is the Tigers¡¯ first-ever SEC baseball contest. Below is a list of the complete promotions for the weekend...
20 Mondays (College Baseball Today, 3/11)
Of Note: Okay, so they went 5-0 this week and considering Rider came in 6-1 and one of the favorites in the MAAC, we should be impressed, right? Well, at least they held the Broncos scoreless in two of the games, blanking them on Friday with a one-hitter.


♦ According to the latest Division 1 Baseball Attendance Report from, South Carolina has averaged 7,098 in attendance for their first 11 home games so far this season.  That puts them in 4th place on the list (the top 5 are all SEC schools)

Missouri's average attendance at Taylor Stadium in 2012 was 824.

♦ Mizzou has played 12 games so far in 2013, 6 of those at home.  That puts them last in the SEC. South Carolina has played 18 games, 16 of those at home

SEC Baseball So Far

Nationally ranked
  • * Vanderbilt (16-2) is ranked #2 by Baseball America.  Their 2 losses were to Long Beach State and Oregon, both in game 3 of weekend series.
  • * South Carolina (15-2) is ranked #5.  Losses to Liberty and Clemson.
  • Mississippi (18-1) is ranked #6.  Their lone loss was to Memphis, the same team that swept Mizzou.
  • * LSU (16-1) is ranked #7, losing once to BYU.
  • * Kentucky (14-2) is ranked #10.  They've played a somewhat light schedule, losing to Kansas State and Michigan State.
  • Mississippi State (18-2) is ranked #13.  They've played a somewhat light schedule also - all at home except one win vs. Southern Miss at a neutral site - losing twice to Central Arkansas.
  • Arkansas (13-5) is ranked #15, mostly due to the fact that they were picked #1 preseason by many, so they've been slow to fall in spite of their losses to Western Illinois, Arizona State (twice), Gonzaga,  Pacific.  Those last four all came in one tournament at Surprise, AZ.
  • * Auburn (13-3) has an impressive looking record, but those loses were to Middle Tennessee State, Kennesaw State, and Eastern Illinois, and not balanced out by any truly impressive wins, except one non-conference game vs. Alabama
  • * Texas A&M (11-7) has actually played one of the tougher schedules among SEC teams, including games vs. Pepperdine (1-2), Houston (L), Rice (W), North Carolina (L), and Cal State Fullerton (1-2)
  • * Alabama (9-8) started the season 8-1, but have lost 7 of their last 11 games. to a fairly good schedule of opponents
  • * Georgia (8-9) has been very inconsistent, winning and losing against a not too impressive schedule.
  • * Florida (8-10) was expected to not be as good as they have been in recent years, but no one expected a start like this.   And their losses have not been against a powerhouse schedule. 
  • * Tennessee (9-7) Has played a pretty good schedule, and come up short.  They started with a 1-3 opening weekend against UNLV, the surprise mid-major success story of the early season, and also have been beaten by Arizona State, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.
  • Missouri (4-7) has struggled to get going, with great starting pitching held back by quiet bats.
* Teams on Mizzou's 2013 schedule

Thursday, March 14, 2013

MIZZOU MATCHUP: #5 South Carolina Gamecocks

Head Coach: Chad Holbrook 
(14-2 in first season as South Carolina Head Coach)

Taylor Stadium – Columbia, MO
Friday @ 6 PM CT
Saturday @ 2 PM CT
Sunday @ 1 PM CT

South Carolina (14-2, 0-0 SEC) @ Missouri (4-7, 0-0 SEC)

Missouri opens their inaugural season in the SEC against the best team in the conference as of late. Last year, the South Carolina Gamecocks finished their season losing to Arizona in the National Championship, failing to win their third national title in a row. They have won the SEC Eastern Division the past two seasons, and are the only team to have 40+ wins every year since the new millennium. They come into this series boasting a 14-2 record, a 7 game winning streak (11 of last 12), but have only played one true road game (6-0 victory over Clemson).

Position Players

Sophomore Grayson Greiner performs most of the duties behind the plate for the Gamecocks. His play last year earned him Freshman All-SEC honors, one of two South Carolina players to do so. Although he has an imposing 6’5”, 210 lb. frame, he has not shown much power this season. He also has the lowest OBP of South Carolina’s regular starters (.333). Opposing runners are hesitant to go on him, as he has seen only three runners take off on him, catching one, and has also allowed only one passed ball in his 12 innings behind the dish.

First baseman and team captain LB Dantzler has been an unstoppable force at the plate this season. One of three Gamecocks to start in all 16 games so far, he has but together videogame numbers. It’s hard to pick where to start when discussing the stats he has put up this year, but we can start by saying his .717 slugging percentage would top anybody in the MLB since Barry Bonds in 2004, which I know is a stretch but hang with me, it’s just to give some perspective. His .396 average (21 hits) includes 8 extra base hits, 4 of which left the yard. He, like most of the South Carolina lineup, has a positive BB/K ratio (14 BB, 11 K), which helps his OBP be the highest on the team (.535). All in all, you cannot stop LB Dantzler, you can only hope to contain him.

At third, Chase Vargason has also put together a solid year. The senior has started with a .327 average, adding some power with two homers so far. His glove could use some improvement, although he has made only three errors, it leads the team.

Homegrown shortstop Joey Pankake is out trying to prove that his SEC All-Freshman Team selection a year ago wasn’t a fluke. Hitting right in front of Dantzler, he has provided many opportunities for RBIs, with an OBP of .459. He has added four homers of his own, already doubling his total from a year ago.

Picture your stereotypical leadoff hitter, and that is what you get with junior Graham Saiko. His speed combined with his ability to make contact can potentially be dangerous. His 3.25 BB/K ratio leads the team, as does his 7 stolen bases (caught twice).

Projected Lineup
LF Graham Saiko (R) .296
3B Chase Vergason (L) .327
SS Joey Pankake (R) .367
1B LB Dantzler (L) .396
2B Max Schrock (L) .267
C Grayson Greiner (R) .244
RF Connor Bright (R) .321
DH George Iskenderian (R) .313
CF Tanner English (S) .324


On Friday, lefty Jordan Montgomery will more than likely take the mound for South Carolina, and he has won all three of his starts this season. Those starts have yielded just 2 ER, and he has as many strikeouts as he has innings pitched (19). His .188 BAA leads all Gamecock weekend starters, so the Tigers will have to work deep into counts in order to get to this Collegiate Baseball Preseason All-American. He has not pitched since March 1st, when he went 8 scoreless innings, giving up 3 hits at Clemson.

Sunday, Mizzou will face Nolan Belcher on Sunday, who leads the team in strikeouts (30). Belcher’s control is none other than impeccable. In the 27.2 innings he has thrown so far, he has yielded just a single walk. This pace would not only break the record for K/BB ratio in the MLB, it would shatter it. Again, I know these comparisons are a major stretch, but Bret Saberhagen holds the record in the MLB when his ratio was at 11.00 in 1994. In fact, only 3 players in the history of Major League Baseball have had a ratio higher than 10. Just giving you all something to look for in the series finale.

Out of the bullpen, the Gamecocks have two guys that have yet to give up a run in their 19 combined innings. Evan Beal (.121 BAA) and Tyler Webb (5 saves), have been a force late in games. An early lead will be more than a necessity for Mizzou if they want a chance late in games.

Projected Matchups
Friday: LHP Rob Zastryzny (1-2, 4.58 ERA) vs. LHP Jordan Montgomery (3-0, 0.95 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Brett Graves (0-1, 3.24 ERA) vs. RHP Colby Holmes (1-1, 4.22 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Eric Anderson (0-0, 4.50 ERA) vs. LHP Nolan Belcher (3-1, 1.63 ERA)

Matchup Wrap-up

Mizzou will have to bring their A+++ (I’m talking like acing an exam with extra credit) game this weekend in order to beat South Carolina. The Gamecock’s team OBP is .410 while holding their opponents to just .272. They have the upper hand against their opponents in every category, notably 112 runs for and only 41 runs against. They have only struck out 10 fewer batters than runs against and walks COMBINED. Anyways, you get the idea. See you at Taylor Stadium.

Other SEC games this weekend (all 3/15-17):
Tennessee @ Alabama
(6) Ole Miss @ (15) Arkansas
(2) Vanderbilt @ Auburn
(10) Kentucky @ Florida
Georgia @ Texas A&M
(7) LSU @ (13) Mississippi State

Rankings from Baseball America