Mizzou's Howard, Houck named to preseason All-SEC teams
COLUMBIA - Mizzou shortstop Ryan Howard and starting pitcher Tanner Houck added to their preseason accolades after receiving All-SEC first and second team honors, respectively. The duo helped No. 15 Mizzou finish preseason play a perfect 5-0 down in Florida.
The All-SEC distinction for Howard and Houck follows their additions to the USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award watch list last week.
Howard earned a spot on the All-SEC First Team hitting .333 and leading the team in 39 plate appearances. In 2015, Howard led the team in batting and total bases, while committing just seven errors in the field at shortstop. The St. Charles, Missouri native was drafted by the San Francisco Giants last summer but decided to return for his junior season with the Tigers.
By electing to play another collegiate season, Howard had the opportunity to play for USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team as the starting shortstop. He hit .310 with six runs and four extra base hits in 17 games as an offensive weapon for the team.
On the other hand, Houck landed on the All-SEC Second Team as one of four starting pitchers selected. The Illinois native put together one of the best freshman seasons in Mizzou baseball history. He tallied eight wins, which are the most by a Tiger freshman since Kyle Gibson (a former first round pick) and pitched over 100 innings in 15 starts as a freshman.
Houck’s control last season was also remarkable only allowing 12 walks all year. His pitching led to victories against No. 6 South Carolina, No. 4 Florida and No. 1 Texas A&M.
Likewise, Houck joined Howard last summer with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team. He led the team in innings pitched, strikeouts and starts, including a .159 opponent batting average.
The Tigers will begin the season this weekend in Fort Myers, Florida, where they will play a four-game series against Seton Hall starting Friday, March 4 at 1 p.m.