Kansas-Missouri Square Off Again at Big 12 Baseball Championship
May 26, 2012
LEADING OFF: The Kansas Jayhawks will play Border Showdown rival Missouri in the semi-final round of the Big 12 Baseball Championship Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City. The Jayhawks and Tigers will be meeting for the fourth time in the last nine days after KU took two of three from Mizzou last weekend in Lawrence. In order to advance to Sunday's championship game, KU will have to defeat the Tigers twice as Missouri has not lost yet in tournament play.
ON THE AIR: Live video from KU's Saturday games is available on the Big 12 Digital Network at big12sports.com. Fans can also listen to the contest on Lawrence radio station 1320 AM (KLWN) as well as on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access.
SERIES HISTORY: Kansas and Missouri will be meeting for the third time in Big 12 Championship play and for the first time since 2006. The long-time rivals have split the previous two meetings at the tournament with MU winning 4-3 in 11 innings in 2003 and Kansas taking the 2006 meeting by the same 4-3 score. The Tigers lead the all-time series with the Jayhawks, 197-133 with two ties. However, KU has won nine of the last 11 meetings dating back to 2010.
ABOUT THE JAYHAWKS: Kansas won back-to-back Big 12 Championship games for the first time since 2006 with a 5-3 win over No. 6 Texas A&M on Friday night, which eliminated the Aggies from conference tournament play. The Jayhawks have been a giant killer the last two games, knocking out the No. 3 seed Texas and the No. 2 seed Texas A&M the last two nights. KU is 7-6 in the month of May and 6-11 all-time in Big 12 tournament play.
KU's offense has averaged 4.2 runs per game and is batting .248 as a team. Redshirt junior IF Jordan Dreiling leads the team with a .306 batting average and a .451 on-base percentage, while he is batting .400 (4-for-10) in Big 12 Championship play. The Jayhawk pitching staff ranks eighth in the Big 12 with a 4.24 earned run average and has held opponents to a .270 batting average. Junior RHP Tanner Poppe will make his first start of the season in the Missouri game. Poppe is 0-4 with a 6.21 ERA in 25 appearances out of the bullpen, but had started 22 games in his career before this season.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS: Like Kansas, Missouri advanced to the Big 12 semi-finals with back-to-back wins over higher seeded Texas and Texas A&M in the first two days of the tournament. The Tigers have won three-straight overall and seven of their last 11 games overall.
Missouri's offense ranks fifth in the Big 12 with a .269 team batting average and are averaging 5.5 runs per game. Senior IF Conner Mach leads the Tiger offense with a .306 batting average with 12 doubles and 37 runs scored, while junior OF Dane Opel has been MU's top power source, clubbing 11 homers and recording a .522 slugging percentage, which ranks seventh in the Big 12.
The Tigers' pitching staff has a team ERA of 4.06, which ranks seventh in the conference, while the team holds opponents to a .269 batting average. Freshman RHP John Miles will start Saturday's semi-final game against the Jayhawks. Miles is 4-2 on the year with a 4.40 ERA in 22 appearances, which includes three starts. He pitched two innings against KU just eight days ago, allowing four runs on three hits with three walks and no strikeouts, suffering the loss in the game.
Head coach Tim Jamieson is in his 18th seasons a Missouri and just won his 600th game at the school on Wednesday. Jamieson is 601-440-2 at MU and has taken the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament eight times in his tenure at Mizzou.
UP NEXT: A Kansas win on Saturday afternoon would advance them to another loser's out game against Missouri later in the day on Saturday at a time to be determined. The Jayhawks need to down the Tigers twice in order to advance to Sunday's championship game, which will be played at 1 p.m. and televised nationally on Fox Sports Net.