Mizzou Baseball Set for Pair of Midweek Games
COLUMBIA - Winner of three of its last five, the Mizzou baseball team will play a pair of midweek games this week against Eastern Illinois and Missouri State, beginning with a clash against the Panthers at TR Hughes Ballpark in O'Fallon, Mo., on Tuesday (April 26). The Tigers will then host Missouri State at Taylor Stadium on Wednesday (April 27), beginning at 6 p.m.
Mizzou leads the overall series with Eastern Illinois, 6-0, after topping the Panthers, 10-2, last season at TR Hughes Ballpark. In fact, the Tigers have won the last three games played at TR Hughes, dating back to 2009. Mizzou leads the all-time series with Missouri State, 21-20, after splitting the season series in 2010. MSU's last win over the Tigers at Taylor Stadium was a 10-5 win on May 5, 2009.
Mizzou is coming off of a series win at Baylor after taking the first and third games of the series in Waco last weekend. The series win was the Tigers' first during Big 12 play this season and it was their first series win at Baylor since 2007 when they also took two of three. Mizzou won game one, 4-2, and game three, 10-1.
Senior designated hitter Jonah Schmidt tallied his first career five-hit performance in Sunday's win at Baylor. He is the first Tiger to tally five hits in a game since Aaron Senne did so on March 30, 2010. The Tiger senior hit .538 last weekend and now ranks 14th overall in hitting (.324) in the Big 12 and is fourth in league games only at .375.
Junior Conner Mach benefited from a lineup change last week as head coach Tim Jamieson hit him in the leadoff spot and played him in left field for the first time in his career at Baylor. Mach responded by hitting a team-best .545 with a slugging percentage of .909 and an OBP of .600 while leading the team in runs (two), RBI (five), home runs (one) and total bases (10). He was named Big 12 Player of the Week for his efforts.
The Mizzou offense had arguably its best game of the season - and definitely its best during Big 12 play - in Saturday's series finale at Baylor. The Tigers pounded out a season-best 16 hits and plated 10 runs, their most in a Big 12 contest this season; their previous best was just four runs. In all, seven players tallied hits in the contest, highlighted by a five-hit outing from senior Jonah Schmidt.
Over the past several weeks, the Tiger starting lineup has appeared to become more concrete and one thing is apparent when looking at that lineup - the Tigers are young. Mizzou has started as many as seven sophomores as position players this season and the Tigers' Friday starter is a true freshman. Seven sophomores have seen regular playing time this season and six are considered starters. Six of the Tigers' top eight hitters this season are sophomores and Mizzou starts just two senior position players this season - Jesse Santo and Jonah Schmidt. Mizzou also started freshmen CJ Jarvis and Dillon Everett last weekend.
Mizzou head coach Tim Jamieson will lead the 2011 Collegiate National Team, as announced by USA Baseball back in November. He will be joined by pitching coach Rob Walton (Oral Roberts) and assistant coaches Dave Van Horn (Arkansas) and Scott Stricklin (Kent State).
The Tigers will continue Big 12 play this weekend as they welcome top-10 foe and Big 12 frontrunner Texas A&M to Taylor Stadium for a three-game series. The Tigers and Aggies will open with a 6 p.m. game on Friday before playing a pair of day games at 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.