Monday, May 27, 2013

A Tip of the Cap from SimmonsField.com

Back in the mid-90's a Mizzou Baseball fan known as Kegger ran a website called mizzousports.com.  You can read his farewell post here.

As Kegger said in his farewell, "the University has started mutigers.com, and they are finally able to provide information in a timely fashion". But while they were able, actually following through on that capability was another thing.  The Athletic Department's foray into the internet was in its infancy and more focused on football and basketball than anything else.

And so I picked up the baton from Kegger and began SimmonsField.com, first at MSN Groups (now defunct), and then here on Blogger.

And now, about 14 or 15 years later, this is my farewell post.

The athletic department, through mutigers.com and through their new "strategic communications" effort, are now doing a pretty good job of covering MU Baseball "in a timely fashion".

And I just don't have the time I used to have for an unproductive, unprofitable and often thankless time-gobbler.

However, I'm not going to quit covering Mizzou Baseball completely.

I plan to continue to point fans to good info and links by way of Twitter (follow me @trripleplay).  And if you'll look at the left-hand column here on the home page, you'll see there's now a feed of everything I post on Twitter, for those of you who would rather continue visiting this blog instead of figuring out Twitter.

RockMNation.com
And I'm still occasionally going to be writing some longer pieces about Mizzou recruits, MU alums in the pros, and whatever else strikes me as useful, at RockMNation.com, the best source for Mizzou Sports on the internet.  Tweets linking to those posts will also be on the Twitter feed.

I plan to leave tise site open and active for a long while.  The Twitter feed will keep on ticking and I'll try to keep the lists of links updated along the left and right columns, which I've worked to make the best list of Mizzou Baseball related links available.

You might want to make sure your bookmarks or favorites link to the full URL of this site, http://simmonsfield.blogspot.com  in case I decide some day to stop paying GoDaddy $8.95 a year to keep the SimmonsField.com URL active.

So, while this blog is going into semi-hibernation, I'll still be around.  You can find me on Twitter and on RockMNation.  You can still e-mail me with questions and comments at simmonsfield @ hotmail.com .  And, of course, you can find me in Section E, Row 4, Seat 1 at Simmons Field, ever faithful to Mizzou Baseball.

Thanks to all who have made this worthwhile.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

A Tip of the Cap: And the Winner Is...

On the final day of our 2013 Tip of the Cap series, we take note of some of the special achievements by players, fans, media and others involved with the Tigers' 2013 season.

Best reason to watch a game from the third base line
3rd Base Sliders

If you went to SEC weekend series at Taylor Stadium all year and never wandered down by the pavilion, you didn't discover the Third Base Sliders concessions stand, and you missed some of the best food served at Simmons Field since Johnny's Beanery ran the concessions back in the 90's.  Chef Travis Taylor served up fresh grilled philly cheese and ham and cheese sliders, Chicago dog sliders, grilled corn on the cob, and more.  Mmm good, but you missed it.  Sorry.

And now they're already working on a new building and seating area in that spot, which I suppose means they probably won't be back next season.  But I'll be following my nose on that first SEC Friday night next season, just to make sure.

The Ian Kinsler Base Cadet Award

I'm really tempted to give this annual award for creative base-running to Dylan Kelly. We were warned early on about the catcher when Rob Z told KBIA Sports Extra “He may run a little weird, but he is a phenomenal teammate.” Watching DK run the bases or run down an errant baseball was like watching a Teenage Mutant Ninja Hermit Crab chasing down a meal.

But considering Kelly only attempted one steal all season (at which he failed), he hardly qualifies. Dane Opel actually lead the team in base-stealing blunders, but wasn't particularly spectacular in doing so.

And besides, the most spectacular base running catastrophe I saw all season was the now-famous slide into third by the orginal Mizzou Base Cadet, who face-plowed his way into reclaiming the award that bears his name:


Black & Gold Glove

Josh Lester not only played four different infield positions for the Tigers in 2013, he also led the team with the fewest errors (4) among Tiger infielders.

Among the outfield, Dane Opel had only 2 errors, and led the nation with 15 outfield assists.

And then there's Dylan Kelly, who committed only 1 error the entire season, and ably handled his duties as a backstop and handler of pitchers.

On a team that gained a reputation for sometimes catastrophic defensive failures, there really were a lot of amazing plays this season.  Keaton Steele made an acrobatic stop at first in one game that took my breath away.

Here's a tip of my cap for all the times this team flashed the leather like pros.

John McKee HBP Award

Dane Opel led the squad with 13 HBP, followed closely by Keaton Steele with 12.  Between the two of them, they accounted for about a third of the team's "accidental" plunkings".

Mark Alexander Phoenix Award
On May 17, 2010, Anderson had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

On May 17, 2012, Anderson had surgery to replace the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

On May 17, 2013, Anderson's right arm helped the Tigers clinch a spot in their first Southeastern Conference Tournament (Columbia Tribune, 5/18)
Eric Anderson has impressed everyone with his bulldog determination to get past all the injuries and be the pitcher he once was.  He has definitely earned the come-back player award this season.

Nattering Nabobs

Without a doubt the best coverage of MU Baseball this season was provided by Alex Silverman of the the Columbia Missourian.

I was most impressed by the way he treated Mizzou Baseball the same way beat writers cover Mizzou Football or Basketball, as an important part of MU Athletics.  Many writers treat Baseball as one of the "unimportant" sports, and they treat it with kid gloves because it's not worth their time to dig and expose and question.  As a result, fans, players and coaches may come to expect more positive reporting and are a bit disturbed when someone plays a different tune.

Alex Silverman marched to the beat of an aspiring serious sportswriter, though, chasing down leads and calling things like he saw them.
"Root, root, root for the road team."

This could have been the refrain Saturday at Taylor Stadium, where No. 2 LSU clobbered the Missouri baseball team 8-0. Even after a five-hour rain delay, which several LSU fans spent tailgating under cover in the parking lots along Carrie Francke Drive outside the stadium, hundreds of purple-and-gold clad fans filled the seats behind the LSU dugout along the first-base line.

"We want a home-field advantage and, hell, we felt like we were in Alex Box," MU outfielder Logan Pearson said. "Their fans stomped our fans today." (Columbia Missourian, 3/31)

That apathy seemed evident following Tuesday’s loss. Outfielder Case Munson, who made a tremendous diving catch in the contest, was all smiles with reporters after the game despite the result. (Missourian, 4/3)

It was Missouri third baseman Shane Segovia’s shot at redemption. A base hit in the bottom of the 15th inning Saturday would make it all OK.

The ball he bobbled half-an-inning earlier that lead to Florida’s go-ahead run wouldn’t matter.
...
The night before, Missouri head coach Tim Jamieson pinch-hit for Segovia in the bottom of the ninth, a decision that haunted him after his replacement, Jake Ivory, struck out looking.

“I second guessed it,” Jamieson said. “Even though Shane’s struggling, he probably was still the best option at that point.” (Missourian, 4/21)

The Missouri baseball team's postgame reaction Sunday at Taylor Stadium was an unusual sight. The Missouri players were uncharacteristically jubilant after sweeping Auburn in a doubleheader Sunday, 3-1 in the first game and 4-1 in the second game, to take its first Southeastern Conference series win at home.

There were high fives all around, pitcher Keaton Steele and infielder Gavin Stark shared a chest bump-based dance, and infielder Mike McGraw rode on the shoulders of outfielder Brannon Champagne. (Missourian, 4/29)

"Pregame I didn’t sense it," Jamieson said. "Anytime that happens, it’s lack of focus, not good enough focus. I can’t explain it."

Jamieson has been at a loss throughout the season, which is on pace to be his worst at Missouri since his first season in 1995. Missouri signed Jamieson to a contract extension through 2015 following the team's Big 12 Conference tournament title last season. (Missourian, 4/30)

Honorary mention goes to Jack Witthaus, writing for The Maneater, who often was competing with Silverman for the same stories, and sometimes beating him to the punch.  He caught the attention of this Mizzou Baseball history buff, though, with a profile of former Tiger Jim Doerr.  If you haven't rad it, click the link and learn.
Doerr, donned in a bright green sweater with yellow pants, arranges a simple display on one of his couches. He’s collected a few framed photos, an autographed bat and some worn articles printed on computer paper. A fat, jewel-incrusted ring emblazoned with an “M” is wedged on his finger.
Number Cruncher

Sam Nasci
Sam Nasci is, as Bill Connelly of RockMNation calls it, a Numbers NERRRRD.  A Junior this year at Mizzou, his dream is to be a sportswriter focusing on statistical analysis of sports, especially baseball.  Sabermetrics, as the nerds like to call it.

Sam came to me before the season and offered to help me out by writing previews of each MU Baseball opponent this season, and we cut a mutually beneficial deal:  less work for me, experience and exposure for him

I received several comments this season, telling me, I really liked that preview you did of this weekend's series!  It wasn't me, folks.  Sam I am not, but I tip my cap to him for adding a different flavor to SimmonsField.com this season with his Mizzou Matchup pieces.


That's it for the 2013 season.  The results were disappointing, but it's still baseball.  Put two teams of nine kids on a field with a ball and a bat and I'll be glad to watch.

There is one last Tip of the Cap post.  Check back here Monday morning.

Friday, May 24, 2013

A Tip of the Cap 2013: Word on the Tweet

Tweet of the Year:


You thought you deleted that one, didn't you?

Snow Days






#superdk




Life in the SEC




Just Another Bunch of College Guys





Tex & Hunter







Thursday, May 23, 2013

A Tip of the Cap 2013: By the Numbers

288th  Mizzou's RPI ranking on March 4th, out of 296 D-1 teams (BoydsWorld.com RPI)

139th Mizzou's official NCAA RPI ranking  on May 21st.

7 MU's Strength of Schedule ranking among D-1 teams (BoydsWorld.com, 5/22)

18-32  Final W-L record, fewest wins since 1975; Tim Jamieson's fewest wins as head coach

.360  Lowest winning % since 1995

5  Games cancelled

12  Games postponed or rescheduled

20.5 Inches of snow in in the last 8 days of February in CoMo

33.7  Average temperature in March in CoMo

3  Longest MU winning streak, 3/6-3/8 vs. Eastern Michigan (DH) and San Francisco

6  Longest MU losing streak, the first two weekends of the season vs. Southern Mississippi and Memphis

2 Number of games MU lost by just 1 run

15 Home runs for the team, fewest since 1973

64 Doubles, fewest since 1975

205  Runs, fewest since 1973

402 Hits, fewest since 1983

185  RBI, fewest since 1973

161  walks, fewest since 1973

2-9 Rob Zastryzny's W-L record

3.38  Earned runs given up by Rob Z per 9 innings

1.92  Average runs scored by MU in Rob Z's 13 starts

228 Career strikeouts for Rob Z, tied for 8th all-time at Mizzou (tied with Rob Pietroburgo, father of current assistant coach Dan Pietroburgo)

3.87 Team ERA, surpassed only by the 2004-2006 Max Scherzer teams since 1981

484 Hits allowed, fewest since 1993

242 Runs allowed, fewest since 1983

189 Earned Runs allowed, fewest since 1983

152 Walks allowed, fewest since 1983

15  Outfield Assists for Dane Opel in 2013, 1st place in Division 1 for the regular season


30  Career Stolen Bases for Brannon Champagne, tied for 9th all-time at MU

4  Infield Positions played by Josh Lester: 23 1B, 7 2B, 6 SS, 7 3B

30 Games Jake Walsh appeared in, out of 50

.193 MU's batting average in the 2013 SEC Tournament

.359  MU's batting average in the 2012 Big 12 Tournament

1.11  MU's ERA in the 2013 SEC Tournament

2.83 MU's ERA in the 2012 Big 12 Tournament

8 NCAA Regional appearances in 10 years from 2003-2012

1 NCAA Regional appearance in 4 years from 2010-2013

622 Career wins by Tim Jamieson

Conference ISR rankings, as of 5/22/2013
1 114.5 ACC
2 113.0 SEC
3 112.7 PAC 12
4 109.0 Big West
5 108.6 Big 12
3,145 Biggest Crowd at Taylor Stadium in 2013, also biggest regular season crowd ever

127  Smallest Crowd at Taylor Stadium in 2013

19,561  2013 Total Attendance

752   2013 Average Attendance

Past Years' Regular Season Home Attendance
2012: Total: 26,357; Average: 824
2011: Total: 13,334; Average: 476
2010: Total: 19,310; Average: 715
2009: Total: 23,848; Average: 852
2008: Total: 30,687; Average: 1,136
2007: Total: 14,190; Average: 645
2006:Total: 23,906; Average: 885
2005:Total: 16,965; Average: 707
2013 Home Attendance Detail
ATT - DAY DATE OPP3,145 - Fri 3/15 S. Carolina
2,563 - Sat 4/20 Florida
1,263 - Fri 3/29 LSU
1,107 - Sun 3/31 LSU
1,018 - Sun 4/21 Florida
945 - Sat 3/30 LSU
886 - Sun 5/18 Kentucky
879 - Sun 4/28 Auburn G1
879 - Sun 4/28 Auburn G2
850 - Sat 5/17 Kentucky
840 - Fri 4/19 Florida
826 - Sat 3/16 S. Carolina G1
826 - Sat 3/16 S. Carolina G2
750 - Tue 4/30 SEMO
654 - Fri 5/16 Kentucky
544 - SatT 3/9 SF
480 - Fri 3/8 SF
431 - Wed 3/13 Truman St
423 - Tue 3/12 Jackson St
400 - Tue 3/19 Arkansas St G1
400 - Tue 3/19 Arkansas St G2
306 - Wed 4/24 Missouri St
291- Fri 4/26 Auburn
227 - Wed 3/6 E Mich G1
227 - Wed 3/6 E Mich G2
127 - Wed 3/27 Neb-Omaha
Top 10 All-Time Home Attendance
6/2/07 Louisville (Regional) 3,630
6/1/07 Kent St (Regional) 3,481
6/3/07 Louisville (Regional) 3,457
3/15/13 South Carolina 3,145
5/17/08 Nebraska 3,126
5/18/08 Nebraska 2,418
4/25/98 Texas 2,347
4/24/98 Texas 2,372
5/5/12 Texas 2,2104/5/08 Okla St 2,205
6/4/07 Louisville-MU (Regional) 2,199

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A Tip of the Cap 2013: Season Interrupted


The theme of 2013 was supposed to be Mizzou Baseball building on that Big 12 Championship and proving to the SEC and that they do belong, that they can compete. The catch phrase before the season began was "Embrace the Underdog".

And then, it seemed that everything that could go wrong did go wrong.  The team hit at an historic low production level.  The defense struggled to maintain leads.

The two players in that intro video who said, "I won't back down" and "I will make plays", weren't even on the active roster by season's end.

What was the problem?
It was the weather.

Specifically, it was the cancelation of four nonconference weekend home games in March. When SEC play started, the Tigers were a step behind. Not only have they have not been able to catch up, it seems that everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.

"I mean, I know this is not a great team, but we've been good enough to be right there," Jamieson said last week, "and you wonder, 'OK, if we'd been able to tweak a few things or get guys more prepared by playing more games, could it have been different?' It's not a great team, but it could have been a .500 club. It could have been a club that at least gives you some positives." (Columbia Tribune, May 16, 2013)
Perhaps we all should have been recognized it as a bad omen when Hattiesburg, MS, the site of the Tigers' season opening series, was hit by a tornado 5 days before Game 1.  The weather man was not kind to Mizzou Baseball in 2013.

The schedule seemed to stumble along in fits and starts all season long.
  1. Entire home opener series vs. Northwestern: cancelled due to huge snow.  Three games lost.
  2. Game 1 at Memphis was pushed to a later start time due to weather.
  3. 2-day series against Eastern Michigan pushed to a double header (7 innings each) on Wednesday, in bitter cold.
  4. Game 3 vs. San Francisco: cancelled
  5. Game vs. D-II Truman State cobbled into the schedule.  One game added, but it doesn't really count in the official RPI.
  6. Game 3 vs. South Carolina moved up to be part of a Saturday double-header ... in bitter cold
  7. Two-game set against Arkansas State was moved forward to a double-header, due to weather.
  8. Game 3 vs. Tennessee moved up to part of a Saturday double-header
  9. Tuesday game against Nebraska-Omaha was pushed back to Wednesday, due to yet another big snow.
  10. Game 2 against LSU was pushed back from 1:00 to 6:00 due to rain, wiping out a scheduled national TV broadcast.
  11. Missouri State at Mizzou was postponed a week due to severe thunderstorms
  12. Murray State game was cancelled outright due to heavy rains in the forecast
  13. Saturday game vs. Auburn postponed to later in the day, then postponed to be part of a 7-innings double header on Sunday.
That's a total of 17 games that were either cancelled, postponed and/or rescheduled.  Five were cancelled altogether.  The Tigers only managed to play 48 Division I games, as opposed to the normal 56 game schedule.  

Tim Jamieson does have a point, that the constant interruptions made it hard for the Tigers to get going..


On the other hand, Mizzou Softball saw 14 games cancelled outright, plus many more postponed and rescheduled, including weather delays in their SEC Tournament.  They finished 35-11, 15-8 in the SEC, won the Regional they hosted in Columbia and at this writing are preparing to host a Super Regional.  And they did that even with their pitching staff in disarray.

So, yes, the weather problems were hard to deal with.  But that doesn't really explain this season.

The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

The 2013 Tigers were a bipolar team, proving themselves to be both one of the best and one of the worst Tiger squads in decades.

This season's pitching staff has proved themselves to be one of the best and deepest Mizzou fans have seen in quite a while.  The team ERA of 3.87 is surpassed only by the Max Scherzer teams of 2004-2006 during the Tim Jamieson era of the past two decades, and prior to that you have to go back to 1981 to find a better pitching staff..

The offense, however, stands out historically in a way not as admirable.  The Tigers' team batting average of .245 is the worst team BA since 1969, when the Tigers managed a weak .230 average.

The final game of 2013 summed up the entire season in 17 long innings.  Rob Z pitched a masterful 9 innings, Keaton Steele followed up with 7 more scoreless innings, and it was a run given up by Jake Walsh in the 17th inning that ended the Tigers' season.  That incredible pitching performance just wasn't good enough to make up for the Tiger lineup's .193 batting average for the game, getting their only run on a wild throw.  It was an exhilarating game and a frustrating game.

And it was an exhilarating and frustrating season.


Leaving the Zou














Same Song, Final Verse

"We're still going to have to score runs, and that has been our biggest issue," Jamieson said. "Rob has been great for his entire career at our place. He is going to be a high draft at the end of the year, and he has a good professional career ahead of him, and he'll compete and do fine, but we have to score runs." (Columbia Tribune, 5/21)

The story of Mizzou Baseball in 2013 has been a consistent one, and it continued right on through the final 17 inning chapter.   It's the story of a bi-polar team.  And no, I'm not talking about the weather.


In the final marathon against fellow defending conference tournament champion Mississippi State, the Tiger pitching shined as always.  One of the best and deepest pitching staffs of Tim Jamieson's tenure represented themselves well, led by their ace, Rob Zastryzny, and the Man of Steele, Keaton Steele.
At least on this night, Zastryzny silenced any and all doubters. The lefty was terrific against the Bulldogs, striking out seven, walking two and allowing just one run on seven hits in nine stellar innings of work.

"He was phenomenal, focused and on a mission tonight," Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. "I think that's about as well as he has thrown all-season long for nine-straight innings.

"I think he's the next of our pitchers to make it to the big leagues," Jamieson continued. "He has big-league type of stuff and his competitiveness is off the charts out there." (Perfect Game)
"I'm not even going to attempt to pronounce the first left-hander's name but we'll probably all know his name in five years when he's playing in the big leagues because he's really good," Mississippi State head coach John Cohen on Missouri left-handed pitcher Rob Zastryzny (al.com)

On the other hand, last night's game was typical of the entire season for the offense as well. MU's lone run was scored on a wild throw. The hitters, while they gave it everything they had, it just wasn't enough yet again. The team managed 11 hits hits in 57 at bats, for a .193 batting average, with only one extra-base hit. And as usual against a ranked SEC team, they weren't given many walks or other free bases to exploit.

And so a difficult season ends. The Tigers finish 18-32 overall, 10-20 in the SEC.

None of the regular hitters finished with a batting average above .300. On the other hand, all the regulars managed to lift their averages above the .200 Mendoza line by the season's close.

But the pitching amassed a team ERA of 3.87, which is good enough to carry a team deep into the post-season...if it weren't for the fact that the offense has handed its opponents' pitchers a 3.60 ERA.

As I've said all year long, it wasn't about the move to the SEC. A team that only hits .245 as a team isn't going to compete in any conference.

But, like every Cubs fan knows, there's always next year.

Over the coming week we'll be posting our annual Tip of the Cap season wrap-up series here at SimmonsField.com before we put this season to a merciful end.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

MIZZOU MATCHUP: No. 16 Mississippi State Bulldogs


Head Coach: John Cohen (126-111 in 5th season as Alabama Head Coach)

Hoover Metropolitan Stadium – Hoover, AL
Tuesday @ 8 PM CT (CSS, ESPN3)

Missouri (18-31, 11-20 SEC) vs. Mississippi State (40-16, 16-14 SEC)

After the weekend series against Kentucky, Missouri found a way to get into the SEC Tournament as a 12 seed, the lowest seed to make the tournament, and have drawn the Mississippi State Bulldogs in the first round. This game is an elimination game, so if the Tigers lose, that will be it for their season. The Bulldogs took the series last weekend against South Carolina convincingly, and expect to roll past Mizzou. They have a 2-0 neutral site record, and an impressive 40-16 mark overall.

Projected Lineup
SS Adam Frazier (L) .338
3B Alex Detz (L) .311
RF Hunter Renfroe (R) .362
2B Brett Pirtle (S) .309
1B Wes Rea (R) .277
CF C.T. Bradford (L) .308
LF Demarcus Henderson (R) .273
C Nick Ammirati (S) .276
DH Derrick Armstrong (R) .250

Position Players
This may be the best 1-9 lineup that the Tigers have faced all year. In the three-hole resides Hunter Renfroe. In my column a couple weeks ago I highlighted him as the SEC leader in isolated power, as one of the best all around hitters in the conference. He is first in the SEC in slugging percentage (.691), and has drawn almost as many walks (33) as he has struck out (34). His OBP of .459 is also good for the team lead. Five of their starters are hitting above .300, which brings the team batting average to .295; good enough for third in the SEC (Vanderbilt leads at .319). Their run production absolutely obliterates their opponents, outscoring them 342-189 which is just a sample of their offensive domination. For the season, there is no major offensive category that the Bulldogs are inferior to their opponents.

Projected Pitching Matchups
LHP Rob Zastryzny (2-9, 3.64 ERA) vs. RHP Trevor Fitts (0-0, 1.65 ERA)

Pitchers
The highlight of the Bulldog pitching staff is their bullpen. It is chalked full of guys with ERAs under 2.00, with the capability of striking out a lot of hitters. Tiger hitters will will be facing somewhat of an unknown as Bulldogs coach John Cohen is planning to start a sophomore pitcher with only 21 innings in his entire career at Mississippi State . He has appeared in 12 games this season, with a total of 16 innings pitched, so he probably is not being counted on to go very long as a starter.  In effect, Mizzou may be facing a Johnny Wholestaff situation in this game, with the Bulldogs relying on that deep bullpen against what they obviously consider to be an inferior opponent.

Matchup Wrap-up
The only way I see Missouri winning this game is if they can adjust to a revolving door of pitchers coming in for short stints on the mound.  If they can get to Fitts early and put some quick runs on the board will give Rob Z the confidence of pitching with the lead. This lineup could be the best Mizzou has faced this season, and they will have to put together a complete game to take down the favorited Mississippi State Bulldogs.

SEC Tournament: 5-Seed Mississippi State vs. 12-Seed Missouri

♦ For details about the SEC Tournament bracket, tickets, and more, check out Top 9 Things You Want to Know About MU in the SEC Tournamaent.

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





♦There's a good summary of how Mississippi State finished strong to end the regular season at This Week in MSU Baseball: SEC Tournament Edition (For Whom the Cowbell Tolls)
...The Bulldogs now defend their title in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. Last season they were pretty much out of regional hosting so winning wouldn't hurt. They ran the table and won five games in six days, one of the best runs in tournament history. This season is slightly different. I think State will be content with bowing out of the tournament. That's not to say they want to try and lose, but having a few extra days to rest for the regional will probably be best.

State will start the tournament Tuesday playing the final game of day one against the 12-seed Missouri. I believe winning the Tuesday night game seals up MSU's hosting chances. Going 2-2 in the tournament would be reasonable enough for most fans. We shall see how it all plays out.
Thanks to success of its programs, baseball enjoys unmatched popularity in Miss. (Jackson Clarion Ledger)
The evolution of Southeastern Conference stadiums began in Starkville. Mississippi State athletics director Scott Stricklin remembers driving down to Jackson to watch MSU play Georgia Tech. In the middle of the game the Bulldog Club offered fans an opportunity to pick their seat at the new Dudy Noble Field.

“It was jaw-dropping at the time that anybody could do that for college baseball,” Stricklin said. “And that happened because of what those crowds drew at the ’85 team.”

What many consider the best college baseball team to not win a College World Series, the 1985 Bulldogs took the field with 18-game winner Jeff Brantley, Bobby Thigpen, Clark (the eventual Golden Spikes Award winner) and Palmeiro, MSU’s career home run leader....
Tension Tuesday at SEC baseball tournament now means win or go home (al.com)
Seven of the SEC Tournament's 17 games are now single elimination (41 percent). Two years ago during the final season of the eight-team bracket, there was one single-elimination game, Sunday's championship.

Single elimination contradicts how baseball typically evaluates success and failure -- over a series of games. In the NCAA Tournament, there are double-elimination NCAA regionals, best-of-three NCAA super regionals, a double-elimination College World Series, and a best-of-three national championship series.

But if the SEC wants to have 86 percent of its teams in Hoover -- 67 percent went during the eight-team tournament -- coaches say single-elimination games are needed to spare players' bodies for the NCAA Tournament....
Missouri coach Tim Jamieson Monday morning debriefing (Jackson Clarion Ledger)
On opening against friend John Cohen: ”I’m looking forward to it. John and I didn’t get to compete against each other this year. We didn’t play Mississippi State this season. It’s going to happen sooner or later. Next year’s schedule they get to come to Columbia. It’s something that’s going t happen eventually and I’m looking forward to it. I’m anxious to see John’s reaction than anything else.”...

Monday, May 20, 2013

SEC Baseball: SEC Community Service Team, Headless Bulldogs

Quintanilla Named to SEC Baseball Community Service Team (mutigers.com)
Mizzou sophomore catcher Patrick Quintanilla (Southlake, Texas) has been named to the SEC Baseball Community Service Team, as announced by the league office on Monday (May 20).

Over the last year, Quintanilla has been actively involved in the Columbia community. He has participated in the Food Recovery Network, working with Missouri dining services to take food from dining halls to local soup kitchens, helping provide food the less fortunate families and community members. He also volunteered with the CASA Heart of Missouri Youth Clinic, a youth clinic in which the Mizzou baseball and softball teams teach abused and neglected children how to play baseball/softball...

UGA parts ways with Perno (Macon Telegraph)
David Perno's long tenure at Georgia, which featured plenty of success but more recent lows, has come to an end.

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity informed Perno on Sunday that he was not being retained after 12 seasons, according to multiple reports and a source who confirmed the decision. Perno, who guided Georgia to three appearances in the College World Series, finishes with a record of 390-335 at Georgia, Perno's alma mater. He also graduated from Clarke Central in Athens...
Dave Perno Getting Fired (College Baseball Today)
Oh great. Now SEC baseball is getting closer and closer to SEC football.

Late word tonight had it that the 12-year Georgia head coach was gonna get his walking papers sometime on Monday. What’s the matter Georgia fans, three trips to the College World Series and coming within a whisker of a national title weren’t enough for you? Perno had some bad seasons, sure. Most of them being recent ones. But he also had some major injury factors to work with, including losing three big talents in pitcher Pete Nagle, catcher Brandon Stephens and OF Connor Welton before a single pitch was thrown this season. And he also wasn’t going to stay sub-.500 for long.

Perno is not only a good guy, he’s a great coach. Before I exit this entry, lemme ask you SEC fan, how many other SEC coaches had led their teams to three College World Series’?

This sucks.

Georgia Dismisses David Perno (Baseball America)
Perno’s departure opens up one of the most desirable jobs in college baseball. Georgia has a huge recruiting advantage thanks to the wealth of in-state talent coupled with the HOPE Scholarship program—which allows the Bulldogs to supplement their 11.7 athletic scholarships with lottery money for any Georgia high school player who graduates with a 3.0 grade-point average or better.

If Georgia wants to make a major financial commitment, it might start by approaching some of college baseball’s most successful established head coaches, like Louisville’s Dan McDonnell, Virginia’s Brian O’Connor, TCU’s Jim Schlossnagle or Kent State’s Scott Stricklin. None of those coaches would be an easy hire, but Georgia has the resources to shoot for the moon. Mid-major head coaches like South Alabama’s Mark Calvi, UCF’s Terry Rooney, Samford’s Casey Dunn, Mercer’s Craig Gibson, Illinois State’s Mark Kingston or College of Charleston’s Monte Lee could also make intriguing targets.

Or the Bulldogs could try to land the next O’Connor, Tim Corbin or Kevin O’Sullivan—all of whom were can’t-miss prospects as assistant coaches who have been hugely successful in their first head coaching stints at major-conference schools. If Georgia decides to take that route, it figures to look at North Carolina’s Scott Forbes, Virginia’s Kevin McMullan, Arkansas’ Todd Butler, Mississippi State’s Butch Thompson or Mississippi’s Cliff Godwin...

Mizzou Baseball in the Majors & Minors: Crow, Tepesch, Senne, Bond, Nicholas

Apparently you can't please everybody...

'Unique' Crow off to another strong start for Royals (Topeka Capital Journal)
Despite a few rough spots in May that have led to his only two runs allowed in 2013, Crow has been a momentum killer when he comes in for manager Ned Yost.

“Coming out of the bullpen, just throwing strike one and going from there,” Crow said of his approach. “And I’ve done a better job consistently this year.”

Crow has pitched only 10⅔ innings — the third least on the team ahead of only reliever JC Gutierrez and Will Smith, who made one spot start — but the Washburn Rural graduate has had appearances in 13 games, third most on the team behind Kelvin Herrera (17) and Greg Holland (15)...
Is Aaron Crow a bust? (Crown Crazed)
...Crow doesn’t look to be a starting pitcher but he does have a chance to become an effective/dominant closer for the Royals. I think we need to give him until the end of the 2014 season to make a determination. If he is not the closer by then (or is not traded for some significant addition to the Royals roster to aid them in the race for the postseason), then he is a bust.

Conclusion: Crow is not a bust yet, but if he is still a setup man for the Royals in November 2014 then he is a bust for sure.
Tepesch gets lesson from Cabrerra (ESPN)
Nick Tepesch received baptism by Miguel Cabrera on Friday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

It will provide a nice learning experience from the rookie right-hander's eighth start. Triple Crown winners are especially tough to get out.

Tepesch faced Cabrera three times in Friday's 2-1 loss to Detroit and lost to the Tigers third baseman every time. Tepesch allowed Cabrera two singles and a fifth-inning RBI double that gave the Tigers their first run...
Senne having injury-plahued season (Rochester Post Bulletin)
...Senne is currently on the disabled list. He has played in only eight of the team's 39 games and is batting just .080 (2-for-25). He has been sidelined since April 15.
Brock Bond (SF Giants organization) was placed on the disabled list on April 4th by the AAA Fresno Grizzlies. HE was reinstated from the disabled list on May 18th and assigned him to the High-A San Jose Giants.

Brett Nicholas intverview:

Sunday, May 19, 2013

SEC Tournament: The Road to Hoover

Zastryzny hopes to extend his pitching career with Missouri baseball team (Columbia Missourian)
“You want to go in playing as well as you’ve played all year, and we probably are right now,” Jamieson said. “And the guys know that we have Rob on Tuesday, which gives them a little bit of a lift as well.”

Jamieson kept Zastryzny on the bench in the Kentucky series in order to make sure his ace is available for Tuesday’s elimination game.

“Whoever we play on Tuesday is not going to be throwing a No. 1, I don’t think,” Jamieson said. “They might be throwing a No. 3, but they’re not going to be throwing a No. 1.”...

Anderson leads Missouri to series win, spot in SEC Tournament (Columbia Tribune)
On May 17, 2010, Anderson had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

On May 17, 2012, Anderson had surgery to replace the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.

On May 17, 2013, Anderson's right arm helped the Tigers clinch a spot in their first Southeastern Conference Tournament...

Victory earns Missouri baseball team trip to SEC tournament (Columbia Missourian)
After Anderson was taken out to a standing ovation in the eighth, Keaton Steele further solidified Missouri's place in Hoover with a solo home run. Steele then closed out the game on the mound, and Missouri (18-30, 10-19 SEC) clinched the series against Kentucky.

"It was a little déjà vu," said Steele, who also hit a home run and closed the game last year for Iowa Western Community College to win the Junior College World Series. "(Tonight) was the biggest high I've had since then."...

♦ And a Tip of the Cap to a team that was a fellow underdog in the Big 12: Kansas State Clinches First Big 12 Title (Baseball America)
No. 19 Kansas State clinched its first-ever Big 12 title, and its first regular-season championship in any conference since 1933, with a thrilling 6-5 win Friday against No. 25 Oklahoma.
...
At 15-7 in the Big 12 (two games ahead of second-place Oklahoma State, which has just one game remaining) and No. 19 in the updated Ratings Percentage Index rankings at WarrenNolan.com, Kansas State is in strong position to host a regional. One more win against the Sooners to finish the season with four straight series wins would just about clinch it for Kansas State, in our estimation. Oklahoma, meanwhile, is playing for its postseason life thanks to an RPI ranking of No. 58....
Post-game at Dudy Noble Field: No. 24 Mississippi State 7, No. 14 South Carolina 2 - Bulldogs make case for host spot after series win (Columbus Dispatch)
Let the John Cohen public service announcement of why Mississippi State University baseball should host an NCAA Regional begin.

The first words out of the mouth of the Bulldogs fifth-year coach was pleading his case through the media to the 10-member NCAA selection committee that his team should be returning back to Dudy Noble Field in just over a week.

"I'm not on any committee but I can tell you this...we played the most difficult schedule in the Southeastern Conference and went 16-14," Cohen said. "You always want more but I still think our kids did a great job and we battled through a lot."
...
Without looking at Missouri's lineup or tendencies, Cohen suggested sophomore right hander Trevor Fitts could get his second career start as the Pelham (Ala.) High School star would be playing 25 minutes south off where he went to school before signing with MSU...

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Top 9 Things You Want to Know About MU in the SEC Baseball Tournament


Things to know about Mizzou Baseball in the SEC Tournament:

1) By winning two of three against Kentucky in their final SEC series this weekend, the Tigers guaranteed themselves a spot in the SEC Tournament.  Losing the third game of that series to Kentucky, MU settled into the 12th (and lowest) seed in the SEC Tournament, while Kentucky hung on to the 11th slot.

2) Mizzou's first game in the tournament will be against Mississippi State sometime Tuesday evening (half an hour after the conclusion of the 4:30 PM scheduled Florida-Texas A&M game)  -- DETAILED BRACKET

3) In the first round of the tournament, the teams seeded 5-12 play one another (5 vs. 12, 6 vs. 11, etc) in a single-elimination game on Tuesday.  The four teams that lose in that round are done.  The four winners then participate in a typical double-elimination tournament Wednesday through Saturday, concluding with a single game championship match-up between the winners of each bracket.

4) If Missouri beats Mississippi State on Tuesday, they would face 4-seed South Carolina (MU was 1-2 vs. USC this season) on Wednesday.  Other teams in their bracket are Florida (1-2) and Texas A&M (0-3), one of which will be eliminated on Tuesday; plus 1-seed Vanderbilt (0-3).  The shortest way to winning the SEC Tournament for Mizzou would be to win 5 straight games in 6 days.

5) Mizzou's first game on Tuesday is on ESPN3, XM 199, Sirius 158, and on CSS TV.  Additional games may also be on Fox Sports South, ESPNEWS, and the championship game is on ESPN2.  Detailed broadcast schedule HERE.

6) The Tigers were scheduled to leave Columbia early Sunday morning to head for Hoover, Alabama, the site of the SEC Tournament.

7) Details about Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.   Ticket details.

8) Mississippi State is one of three SEC schools Mizzou did not play in the regular season (along with Ole Miss and Arkansas).  Prior to Tuesday evening's game, Sam Nasci plans to post another of his Mizzou Matchup previews here at SimmonsField.com.

9) Perhaps one of the most interesting side stories of the Missouri-Mississippi State match-up is the fact that MSU's head coach John Cohen was once an assistant coach at Missouri, under Gene McArtor and then Tim Jamieson.  I'm sure we'll be reading more about that in the next couple of days.

Friday, May 17, 2013

HI NOTES: One and Done, Chemistry 101, We Want Gibby

Missouri Beats Kentucky in Series Opener (Columbia Tribune)
The numbers don't always add up.

But for whatever reason, when senior outfielders Scott Sommerfeld and Brannon Champagne got back into the Missouri lineup, the Tigers have played a more complete game.

Sommerfeld and Champagne, who have spent most of the season on the bench, combined to score three runs in Missouri's 4-2 victory over Kentucky last night on Simmons Field in the opening game of a key Southeastern Conference series...
Tigers One Win Away From SEC Tourney (PowerMizzou)
Tiger relievers Jake Walsh and Keaton Steele shut down the Kentucky bats in the final four innings, moving the Tigers to 17-30, and 9-19 in SEC play. If the Tigers win on Fridat, they clinch a spot in the SEC Tournament.

"You always play for postseason. Us still having a shot is huge," Champagne said...
Seniors Sommerfeld and Champagne continue resurgence for Missouri baseball team (Columbia Missourian)
Although Missouri coach Tim Jamieson called Champagne "mainly a defensive replacement" earlier in the season, he had a hunch that the time was finally right to get him and Sommerfeld back in the lineup.

"If you look at numbers it doesn’t make any sense because the guys we replaced had better numbers, but they gave us a spark in the Friday night game against Alabama," Jamieson said. "It’s a chemistry thing."...
Thursday Roundup (PerfectGame)
Hurt its case: Kentucky

It's rather safe to say at this point that Kentucky is in a must-win situation the next two days against Missouri. UK already entered Thursday bad shape, but dropped a 4-2 decision to the Tigers to drop to 10-18 in the Southeastern Conference. That wouldn't be worth of an at-large bid at this point. UK starting pitcher A.J. Reed allowed four runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. The silver lining for UK is that it clinched an SEC tourney berth with Tennessee's loss to Texas A&M.
Vols lose 5-1 to Texas A&M for must-win situation (GoVolsXtra)
Not long after the Vols finished, Missouri beat Kentucky 4-2 and edged closer to the 12th and final spot in the SEC tournament.

As a result, Tennessee (21-29, 7-19 SEC) must win the last two games against Texas A&M, and Missouri (17-30, 9-19) must lose twice to Kentucky in order for the Vols to make the SEC tournament.

“We’ve put ourselves in this situation, and I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” UT coach Dave Serrano said. “We haven’t made anything easy on ourselves this year, so why should it start now in Game 50?”...

♦ If Mizzou were to sweep Kentucky, not only would they guarantee a spot in the SEC Tournament, they would pass Kentucky and be the 11th seed. (Standings at D1Baseball.com)


The Minnesota Twins Need to Make the Call to Bring Up Kyle Gibson (Yahoo.com)
The major leagues are a whole different beast for any prospect, but with the rotation failing changes need to be made.

The current group of starters are not getting the job done, so it's time to go young and see what some of the prospects can do.

Gibson would be the first domino to fall in what will be a complete overhaul of the rotation that will take place in the next several years. His arrival will open the door for Alex Meyer and Trevor May to make their way up to the major leagues by the end of the season and eventually tap into the lower levels of the system as things progress.
The Twins have played hard over the first couple of months, but their pitching has made the surprising start feel like a misnomer. With a chance to add a boost to a stale staff, calling up Gibson to see what he can do is in the best interest for the 2013 roster and beyond...