Monday Musings - The "Morning After" Edition

I will be honest in I was thinking about maybe skipping an edition of the Musings, but then I got to thinking about how I missed last week sunning (and eventually burning) myself in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and an attack on my conscious has led me to typing.  So, with it being Spring Break, it was actually a bit of a lighter week for the Tigers (in a macro sense), so here comes the quick review for the week.  I may change up the order though....will see how it goes.

Softball:

Nothing wrong with starting off right here, as the 26-4 Tigers faced down a week with four road games against some pretty decent opponents, and came out of it sitting 30-4 and with a road sweep of a Big XII series.  They started off the week down at Houston, and swept the Cougars with wins of 9-1 and 4-2.  Three homeruns paced the Tigers on the 1st day and Stacy Delaney continues to round into form with a complete game victory.  Coming back the following day, the Tigers used a 3-run HR from catcher Megan Christopher and freshman Kristen Nottelman came one out short of going the distance for the win (with the finish by Jana Hainey).

Over the weekend, the Tigers stayed in Texas and took on the Bears.  Saturday's game was the closest of the week, as they scored a run in the 6th and the winner in the top of the 7th.  Christopher, a sophomore, tied the game with another HR, and MIzzou won it in the 7th with a run scored from speedster Shana White.  Stacey Delaney went the distance again for another win.  Sunday was an easier game, as freshman Kristen Nottelman took the hill again and did very well to shut down the Bears early while the Tigers got big offensive games from sophomore Rhea Taylor and three hits and three RBI's from sophomore Marla Schweisberger, as the Tigers went on for the easy 7-1 win.  Nottleman was relieved late by Delaney after a little trouble in the 6th, but the door was shut.

Another big week coming up for Mizzou, as it is pretty much all conference games from here on out.  They continue (and finish) their road swing this week with a pair at kU before finally returning home for a set of games against Texas A&M...big BIG games for the Tigers and their shot towards a conference title.

Baseball:

Busy week for the Tigers, even with the Spring Break. The Tigers split a pair during the week with UI-Chicago.  Ian Berger pitched decently for the first game, but could not keep it together in the 8th and Brad Buehler could not save it as the Tigers fell 6-4.  They came back well the following day and the bats drove them to a 12-8 win, powered by homeruns by Folgia, Grey and Lollis.  They staffed out the game, and for the most part (with the exception of Folgia late in the game), the staff did their job.

Moving on to the weekend, the weather played havoc with their schedule and the series is not yet complete.  With no games on Friday or Saturday, the Tigers took on a twin-bill on Sunday.  Kyle Gibson took the mound for the for the start and did NOT have it going (nor did Andrew Mueller later) and the Tigers were run-ruled 13-1 in 7 innings.  Nick Tepesch took the mound in the day's finale and was not sterling, but not nearly as unsterling as the Tiger bats.  Mizzou had three errors in the game, and two hits.  An RBI triple by Steve Grey gave Mizzou their first run and he was balked home to give Mizzou a 2-1 lead in the 4th.  That is about all the Tigers would muster, losing the game 6-2 and being swept on the day.

The Tigers will finish the series later on today before returning (almost) home, stopping to play the SLU Billikens at Busch Stadium on Wednesday.  The weekend has them back at home for another conference showdown, this time with the Sooners.

Men's Golf:

Spring Break is a great time to play some golf, and that is what the men did down at the aptly named Florida Atlantic Spring Break Classic.  The Tigers turned in a less-than-impressive 12th place finish (out of 14) against a field with only two top-50 ranked programs.  The highlights of the weekend include Peter Malnati finishing 27th (though he hurt his final score of +8 with a final round +6).  Sophomores Will Harrold and Tyler Hills each were right behind after final rounds of +3.  Ryne Fisher and Will Hogan rounded out the competition for Mizzou.

They will next head out to Stevenson, CA (not sure where that is, but it sounds lovely) this coming weekend to play in the Stephenson Ranch Invitational.  Two weekends will give the Tigers their one home tournament of the season.

Women's Golf:

A happier outcome to be sure for the ladies team as they too were in competition.  The Tigers finished 5th out in Tuscon, AZ, one shot out of 4th.  Junior Julia Potter came out tough with a first round 70 before giving back a few strokes and finishing outside the top-10 in 12th.  Senior Chelsea Schreiwer had a great last round and came in right behind Potter in 13th while freshman Hannah Lovelock put together a solid three days for a top-20 finish as well.  Rounding it out for the Tigers were high-finishes from junior Michelle Morgan and freshman Marisa Cook.

The ladies travel down to one of my favorite destinations next weekend in Oxford, MS for the Lady Rebel Intercollegiate.

Outdoor Track:

That's right...the outdoor track season is upon us, though the weather did not allow it to get off to the best start.  The 10th annual Missouri Relays were limited to just one day because of the crazy weather.  Kaela Rorvig was a two-event winner, taking both the 100 hurdles and the long jump.  Chris Rohr threw a regional qualifying throw in his first win of the season in the hammer.  Krishna Lee was a similar winner in the women's version.  Brian Hancock continues to improve in the pole vault, winning this time out.  Wrapping up the other winners were Ryan Blackwell in the 200 meters and Stacy Swineburg in the high jump.

Next weekend is truly one of the cooler events on the college landscape, as the Tigers will hosting the 2nd Annual Jefferson Cup against sister-school Virginia.  The Tigers won the first competition last season out in Charlottesville and will get to host it for the first time on Saturday.

Men's Basketball:

The funny thing is that I meant to put this part last, then damn near forgot to write it.

Yep, and now I have written and deleted two different paragraphs.

From a personal sense, I have always fancied myself a bigger fan of college football than basketball. I was a fan of Penn State football before I was a fan of UCONN basketball because UCONN basketball really did not exist until around 1989 or so.  Football still gets the majority of my attention from a national standpoint and with the addition of tailgating, the majority of my love.  However, this team and this season elicited emotions and reactions which were fiercer than those I experience during football season.  All credit for that goes to this team and coach and that is pure and simple.

There will be plenty of time and letters and words devoted to the game itself, the games to come and certainly the games past.  For right now, my time is spent in cheerful rememberence of the win at Texas when the Tailgate Queen and I could not believe the finish.  Memories (still, and likely forever on my DVR) of the kU finish.  Memories with friends on our celebration of St. Patrick's Day of the workmanlike effort in winning the Big XII Tournament.  Memories of the look on my face when Denmon's shot was pure against Memphis and memories of how I felt when we finally came back to take the lead against UCONN in the 2nd half.

I have come full circle on Mike Anderson in the meantime.  From being a proponent of his when the hiring time came to really questioning and all-out not believing in his system to seeing what it can do.  He was and remains the right man for this job and someone in which my pride has been built.

Up Next:

The aforementioned contests, along with women's tennis getting back on the court against Texas A&M and the women's gymnastics team will travel to the NCAA regional competition, fresh off of Sarah Shire's tremendous performance at the Big XII Championships where she won the All-Around and tied the vault and beam titles.  As an aside, Shire won TEN All-Around titles on the season and was co-Big XII gymnast of the year and has not yet finished probably the greatest season for a Mizzou gymnast.

Random Thoughts:

  • I do promise there is a season-ending Mizzou Wrestling story coming soon from me
  • I feel good about having picked 'Nova in one of the pools I was in.  For picks in the Final Four, I will take 'Nova over UNC and I will take UCONN over Michigan State to make it an all-Big East final to give the media what they have been moaning for all season.
  • I have to admit I have not paid much attention to golf since Tiger's injury last season.  I gave him a look or two when the season started, but I started to follow his last round on the net yesterday.  And as luck would have it, I saw his last two shots of the tournament.  A solid short-iron leaving him a 16-footer for the win.  And he did it...again.  I dont know what it is about Arnie's tournament, but ALWAYS watch the 72nd hole, as Tiger has won THREE of them on that green (half of them).
  • Baseball starts next Sunday, and I do not know that I have ever been less interested, even with a solid Mets squad looking good to be competitve in the NL East.
  • Some bumps in the road for the Devils as the playoffs loom.  I was hoping they would keep up the torrid pace to give Boston a run for the #1 spot, but I just want them to get back on track.
  • Less than a month until the NFL (and Beer...more on that later) Draft, and my fear of the Jets selecting Josh Freeman will grow a little more every day.
  • A shout-out to my cousin Brian whose alma mater, the Bemidji State Beavers, are headed to the Frozen Four as a 4-seed....basically akin to a 16-seed in the NCAA Tournament making the Final Four.
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