As everyone knows by now, Mizzou knocked off Pepperdine to advance to the NCAA baseball super regionals. But what you might not know is that Pepperdine coach Steve Rodriguez is a bit of a baby (though you might have guessed that when you heard the MU announcing team talking about his strategy for giving a relief pitcher extra time to warm-up. Rodriguez pretends a position player is injured in some minor way and goes out to talk to him. Brilliant!). Don't believe me? Check out today's Post-Disgrace recap.
C'mon Steve... comparing a preseason No. 10 team with two early round pitchers on it to the Devil Rays? You're better than that. Or maybe you aren't... after all, this is the third straight year your squad has lost in the regional final. Is it hot in here, or is that just the seat you're sitting on?
Moving on (as Pepperdine seems unable to do)... Missouri is rewarded with a matchup against national power Cal State Fullerton (you know, the 2004 national champs). Big reward, huh? But when you have a dominating pitcher (that's you, Max) and a damn good one (Nathan Culp) throwing two of the three games, you always have a chance.
My concern isn't the pitching, though. It's the hitting. Brock Bond, John McKee and J.C. Field have all picked it up as of late. The problem: preseason All-American and junior U.S. team member Hunter Mense still is hitting less than .250, and Zane Taylor remains a pretty unimposing cleanup hitter. Those two have to do more for the offense to produce, and the offense has to produce to hope for a series win against CSF.
But whatever the outcome, the Tigers still made it out of the first weekend. Two freshmnan starters got big-game experience. MU increased its national signature in baseball. That's good stuff, folks. Good enough that I'll be satisfied if the season ends this weekend. But that doesn't mean I'm not hoping for more!
Coming Thursday A look at Cal-State Fullerton's likely starters and starting lineup.