Mizzou Takes 3-0 Record to Arizona

Tigers head west for four games in the 'Valley of the Sun'

Sophomore Rick Zagone

Sophomore Rick Zagone

Feb. 14, 2007


Schedule: Thursday at Arizona State 7 p.m. MT (8 p.m. CT)
Friday-Sunday: Coca-Cola Classic
Friday vs. Arizona State 7 p.m. MT (8 p.m. CT)
Saturday vs. Gonzaga 11 a.m. MT (Noon CT)
Sunday vs. Oregon State 9:45 a.m. MT (10:45 a.m. CT)
Stadium: Thursday: Packard Stadium (Capacity: 3,879)
Friday-Sunday: Surprise Stadium (Capacity: 10,500)
Records: Mizzou: 3-0
Arizona State: 5-1
Gonzaga: 1-5
Oregon State: 7-0
Series History: MU is 1-1 vs. ASU, 0-1 vs. GU, 0-1 vs. OSU
Coaches: MU- Tim Jamieson (402-290-2/13th year at MU and overall)
ASU- Pat Murphy (485-243-1/13th year at ASU; 858-414-4/23rd year overall)
GU- Mark Machtolf (52-58/4th year at GU and overall)
OSU- Pat Casey (398-253-5/13th year at OSU; 569-366-5/21st year overall)
Radio: KTGR 1580-AM
Live Audio: KTGR.com
Live Stats: sundevils.com

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After spending last weekend on the east coast, the Tigers will head west this weekend. Mizzou recorded a sweep in the season opening series against Florida International in Miami and now will travel to Arizona for four games this weekend in the `Valley of the Sun.' The Tigers will visit Arizona State at 7 p.m. (8 p.m central) on Thursday in Tempe, Ariz. Following that, the Tigers and Sun Devils will be joined by Gonzaga and Oregon State at the Coca-Cola Classic in Surprise, Ariz. MU will face ASU on Friday in the first day of the Classic, before taking on Gonzaga on Saturday and Oregon State on Sunday. The Coca-Cola Classic will be played at Surprise Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Kansas City Royals and Texas Rangers.

Missouri is 3-0 for the first time since the 1999 season. That year the Tigers opened by winning their first four games. Mizzou's sweep of FIU last weekend was the second-straight series sweep for MU, who closed out the 2006 regular season with a three-game sweep of Texas at Taylor Stadium.

It's a little early in the season to call MU an offensive juggernaut, but after the first weekend of play, the Tigers are hitting .345 as a team and averaging 10 runs a game and more than 12 hits per outing.

The seventh inning is more than just a time to stretch for the Tigers. Of the 30 runs scored by Mizzou in its first three games, 12 have come in the seventh inning. Over the final three innings of its games, MU has scored a total of 22 of its 30 runs.

Mizzou opened the season with a three-game series sweep of Florida International last weekend in Miami. The Tigers opened the weekend with a 12-6 win behind three-hit games by freshman Aaron Senne and senior Gary Arndt. The Tigers led 3-2 before putting five runs on the board in the top of the seventh inning. Sophomore Rick Zagone got the opening day start and went five innings, striking out five, allowing two runs on seven hits to earn the win. In game two, MU trailed 6-2 after six innings before putting up seven runs in the seventh inning. Sophomore Ryan Lollis' grand slam accounted for four of those five runs. Lollis added a sacrifice fly and an RBI single for a six-RBI game. The Mizzou bullpen kept the Tigers in the game, allowing just one earned run over 5.2 innings. Mizzou completed the sweep with a 3-2 win in the finale. Freshman Kyle Gibson picked up the save, as he pitched a perfect final three innings, striking out five of the nine batters he faced. Sophomore Ian Berger picked up his first win as a Tiger with 1.2 innings of relief work.

Missouri heads to Arizona this weekend for four games against teams with a combined record of 13-6 on the year. The Tigers will participate in the Coca-Cola Classic at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Ariz. Friday-Sunday. Joining Mizzou in the three day Classic will be Arizona State, Gonzaga and Oregon State. Before the tournament begins, Missouri and Arizona State will meet on Thursday at Packard Stadium on the ASU campus. Arizona State is 5-1 on the season with its only loss coming in extra innings to No. 5 ranked Vanderbilt. The Sun Devils are ranked as high as No. 11 in the latest polls. They went 2-1 at last week's Houston College Classic and had six players named to the Classic's All-Tournament Team, including junior OF Matt Spencer, who was named the Most Outstanding Player. Saturday's opponent, Gonzaga, is the defending champion of the Coca-Cola Classic. The Bulldogs enter this year's tournament 1-5, having dropped their first five games of the season before defeating UC Riverside 3-2 on Sunday. Mizzou's final game of the weekend will be against defending National Champion Oregon State. The Beavers are 7-0 on the season and ranked as high as No. 9 in the polls. OSU opened the year with four wins against Hawaii-Hilo before taking a three-game sweep over Georgia last weekend in Athens, Ga.

The Tigers are 1-1 against Arizona State all-time with the first meeting between the two coming in the 1964 College World Series. The Tigers defeated ASU 7-0 on their way to earning Runner-up honors at the CWS. The Sun Devils took a 14-7 win over MU at the 1985 UC-Riverside Invitational. At that same tournament, Missouri fell to Oregon State by a score of 11-10. Mizzou and OSU were scheduled to play two years ago at the Oakland A's Spring Training Classic in Arizona, but the game was cancelled due to rain. The Tigers have faced Gonzaga once before, with the Bulldogs taking a 3-2 victory when the two teams met at the Fresno State Tournament in March of 1995.

Missouri's win in the season opener marked the 400th career victory for MU Head Coach Tim Jamieson. He enters the trip to Arizona with a 402-290-2 record in his 13th season at the helm. Jamieson joins legendary Mizzou coaches Gene McArtor (733 wins) and John "Hi" Simmons (481 wins) as the only coaches in MU history to reach the 400-win mark. McArtor and Simmons both have their numbers retired at MU and are members of the Missouri Athletics Hall of Fame. Jamieson took over as head coach of the Tigers in 1995. During his tenure, Missouri has recorded at least 30 wins 10 times and has made five trips to the NCAA Tournament, including the last four. Last year he took the Tigers to the first Super Regional in school history. He has coached five players to All-America honors and eight to Freshman All-America recognition.

With its win over Florida International last Friday, MU improved to 8-4-1 under Head Coach Tim Jamieson in season openers, which included a 0-0 tie against San Jose State in 2001. That game was called after six innings due to poor weather conditions with no score. The Tigers are 4-1 in their last four opening games.

Missouri was picked eighth in the Big 12 Coaches' Preseason Poll. Texas was the pick to win the conference, garnering seven of the 10 first place votes and 79 total points. Oklahoma State was second with 70 points and two first-place votes. Two seasons ago, Mizzou was picked eighth in the preseason poll and finished the year fourth.

Offensively, the Tigers return much of their offensive production from last season. In 2006, Jacob Priday, who returns for his junior season, led the Tigers in home runs (11), RBI (49), total bases (112) and slugging percentage (.481) and was second in doubles (13). Brock Bond, Evan Frey and Ryan Lollis finished the 2006 season with the top batting averages for the Tigers and all three return in 2007. Bond, Frey and John McKee led the squad in on base percentage a year ago and will return for the new season. On the mound, Aaron Crow and Rick Zagone made a combined 37 appearances and 25 starts for Mizzou in 2006 as freshmen. Crow was third on the team with 77.2 innings pitched, while Zagone was fourth (68.2).

The 2007 schedule for Mizzou features nine NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago, including the defending National Champion, Oregon State. The Tigers will take on OSU in the final game of this weekend's Coca-Cola Classic in Surprise, Ariz. Mizzou's three-week road trip to open the season will conclude with the Service Academy Classic at USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn., Feb. 23-25, where MU will play four games (vs. BYU, Akron, Memphis and Navy) in three days. After spending the entire month of February away from home, the Tigers will spend much of March at Taylor Stadium. The home opener for Mizzou is March 2 against Youngstown State in the first of 12 games at home in March. Big 12 Conference play will begin on March 23, as Missouri travels to Nebraska for a three-game series with the Cornhuskers. Following that series, MU will remain in the state of Nebraska, for a contest against Creighton in Omaha, Neb. on March 27. Midwest Ford Dealers Border Showdown-rival Kansas will open up the conference home schedule on March 30-April 1. Other Big 12 home series include Texas A&M (April 13-15), Texas Tech (April 27-29) and Oklahoma (May 11-13), while the Tigers are on the road for matchups with Kansas State (April 5-7), Baylor (April 20-22), Texas (May 4-6) and Oklahoma State (May 18-20). Mizzou has home-and-home games with Missouri State and St. Louis on the slate along with neutral site games against Southern Illinois, Kansas and Illinois. The Tigers will take on SIU (April 3) and Illinois (May 15) at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill. On April 25, Missouri and Kansas will face off at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, in a fourth meeting between the two schools on the season. The game will not count as a conference contest. The Big 12 Conference Championships will again be held in Oklahoma City, May 23-27. The NCAA Tournament will begin June 1 with the College World Series getting underway on June 15 in Omaha.

The winningest coach in Mizzou Baseball history will add another honor this weekend. Gene McArtor, who won 733 games over 21 years at the helm of the Tigers (1974-94), will be inducted into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mo. this Sunday. McArtor was an all-conference and all-district first baseman for Mizzou from 1961-63 then coached the Tigers to two Big Eight Conference Championships and compiled a record of 733-430-3 in his 21 years in the Tiger dugout. He is already a member of the American Baseball Coaches' Association Hall of Fame, the Webster Groves High School Hall of Fame, the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame and the MU Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.

Former Mizzou standouts Mark Alexander and Cody Ehlers each earned postseason honors for their performances last year in Minor League Baseball. Alexander was named the Los Angeles Dodgers' Branch Rickey Minor League Pitcher of the Year, after compiling 27 saves to lead all Dodger Minor Leaguers for a second-straight season. Alexander was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection in 2004, as he recorded 10 saves, which is second most in a season in Mizzou history. Ehlers, a member of the Tampa Yankees, was voted the Florida State League's Most Valuable Player. He led the FSL in RBI (103) and doubles (35) and was fourth in hits (142). He hit .298 with 18 home runs. As a senior at MU in 2004, Ehlers led the Tigers in nearly every offensive category and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Big 12 Tournament.

Video webcast for all Mizzou Baseball home games in 2007 will be available at mutigers.com as part of the new All-Access. All-Access is the Tiger fans home to live and archived games for Mizzou Athletics, along with coaches' shows, press conferences and much more. For more information, visit mutigers.com and click on the All-Access icon.

Once again, KTGR 1580-AM will be the radio home of the Tigers. All of Mizzou's regular season and postseason games will air on KTGR 1580-AM in Columbia. The games can also be heard online at KTGR.com. Tex Little will return for his 17th season of calling Tiger Baseball and will be joined in the booth by former Tiger catcher J.C. Field

The Tigers will close out their three week, 11-game road trip to open the season at next week's Service Academy Classic in Millington, Tenn. The tournament, which is held at USA Stadium outside of Memphis, will run Friday through Sunday. Missouri will face BYU and Akron on Friday, before taking on Memphis on Saturday and Navy on Sunday. The home opener is set for March 2, when MU will begin a three-game series with Youngstown State at 2 p.m.

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