Alright, so over the last three days, we have covered the three other teams which make up the Columbia Regional. Though much of the team's season was covered in the Musings this past Monday, I figured I would follow a lot of the same format from the previous three to get some more info out there in preparation for our game later this afternoon. For any last second information or questions, here are the links to the write-ups:
Overall, Mizzou finished the regular season at 45-9 with a 12-6 record in the Big XII conference. They went 14-6 at home, 13-2 on the road and 15-1 at neutral sites. Their RPI is 12th per Warren Nolan RPI (which was updated through this past weekend). They run-ruled 16 opponents on the season, were not run-ruled themselves and played in only two extra-inning games which they split (beat Oregon and lost to San Diego State)
Mizzou did not play what was considered a top-notch schedule in the non-conference season, but evidently it was not for lack of trying. Coach E. was on record during the latter stages of the seaon in talking about how few teams from around the region wanted any piece of the Tigers. Their best out of conference wins have to be against #15 RPI/#17 ranked UNC who they swept. They also split a pair with #34 RPI SIU-E. They lost in their last at bat to #2 UCLA and also to #53 San Diego State in extra innings. All in all, the non-con was a success, where the Tigers finished 31-3
Big XII Action:
Mizzou stumbled right out of the gate, losing their first conference game to Texas before splitting the series with them and then sweeping on the road against a solid Baylor squad. Sitting at 3-1, the team headed to Lawrence where they would take down kU with ease in the first, but trip up in the second to land at 4-2. They most certainly regrouped from there, ripping off seven straight wins and taking control of the conference before slipping against ISU in the second game of a double-header. This put the Tigers into a bit of a tailspin, as they lost their next three, including two games against eventual conference champ Oklahoma. The Tigers would take their final game against Nebraska to stop their falling at the #2 seed, which was very important in their path to the Big XII Tourney Championship. In the end, they defeated each conference team at least once this season.
This offense, which averaged over six runs per game could get you any number of ways. They could manufacture runs with leadoff hitter OF Rhea Taylor (soph), who led the team with a .413 average, 48 runs, 62 hits and a conference-leading 33 steals. They could go station to station with 1B Marla Schweisberger (soph) who hit .408 and had an OBP of .466 to lead the team. They could also use the long ball with their heavy-hitting seniors. 3B Lindsey Ubrun and RF Micaela Minner combined to hit 27 HR's with 91 RBI's. Ubrun led the team in slugging at a fantastic .743 while Minner led with 12 doubles, and each hit over .340 to boot. On the whole, Mizzou hit .323 (.192 opposition) with 53 HR's (15 opposition), slugging of .500 and OBP of .416. They stole 121 bases (20 opposition) on 141 chances.
In the field, Mizzou was the 2nd best team in the conference, committing 43 errors for a fielding percentage of .972.
Get to Know Your (Potential) Lineup:
Mizzou used a lot of different looks during the season, as I am not sure anyone on the squad played in every single game. However, by the end of the season, things were a lot more locked in. Let's step through the potential lineup with the 11 ladies most likely to see action. (in some cases I will not have exact stats)
- CF Rhea Taylor (soph): Missed some games early in the season, still led the team with .413 average and 33 steals. Does have a little power as well. Does not walk (10) as much as a leadoff hitter should
- 2B Andee Allen (senior): Came up huge against OU going 3-3. Led the team in walks with 23 and had 10 steals while hitting over .300. Solid in the field with only 6 errors
- 3B/DP Lindsey Ubrun (senior): Led the team in HR's with 12, RBI's with 49 and slugging at .743 Was on fire to end the regular season.
- 1B Marla Schweisberger (soph): Came really out of nowhere to hit .408 and was second on the team with 45 RBI's. Good pop with 7 HR's
- C Megan Christopher (soph): Another sophomore who stepped up big time for Mizzou, showing great pop at the plate with 8 HR's and hit over .300. 5 errors behind the plate and does strike out a little too much.
- RF Micaela Minner (senior): Sixth year senior who is playing with a torn ACL. Has overcome that to be an offensive leader (.343/10/42) with 12 doubles and a HUGE team leader.
- 3B/SS/LF Gina Schneider (junior): Hit around .320 on the season with some decent pop (6 HR's) which includes the big HR against OU. Walked 23 times, but also K'ed 23 times. 10 errors in the field, but plays a number of positions.
- SS Abby Vock (soph) Light-hitting sophomore who hit around .200. Has decent speed with 9 SB's and solid at short with only 10 errors. She is a HUGE key when Thomas is pitching and inducing ground balls.
- LF Shana White (soph): Filled in tremendously well for Taylor at lead-off when she missed games early in the season. Finished with the highest BA on the team (around .420) and had 26 steals. Only 7 walks, and was struggling a bit to end the season.
- (potential starter) DP Kristin Nottelman (frosh): Has started a number of games as a DP when not pitching (but does not usually bat when pitching). Hit around .330 on the season with 7 doubles in 16 hits.
- (potential starter) LF Julie Silver (junior): Started all games last season in LF and hit .270 last season with 24 steals. Hit .296 in 26 starts this season per STL P-D. Started against OU in Championship game and might see some time in the lineup for experience when needed.
- (potential PH) Ashley Fleming (frosh): Hit around .230 on the season, but showed good pop with 4 HR's in 21 hits (20 runs scored). Likely replacement to Ubrun next season.
- (potential PH) Kathryn Poet (soph): Hit around .245 on the season and saw a lot of AB's as one of the first pinch hitters off of the bench
From an actual lineup standpoint, it is tough to say. Coach E moves a LOT of people around within the lineup. Taylor and Allen are almost sure bets to go 1-2, but anything between 3-4-5 is possible. Minner has seemed to settle into 6th, but can be moved around, and Schneider has batted anywhere between 3rd and 9th this year. The starting 9 above is the starting 8 from the OU game with White in over Silver in left field. We do not do a lot of defensive substitutions late in games as Vock does start in almost all cases at this point. Remember in collegiate softball you can be pinch hit/run for in a game and re-enter (once I believe, but am not entirely sure)
It was pitching by committee a bit to start the season as Stacy Delaney (senior) got time to slowly get into the mix. The duo of freshman in Chelsea Thomas and Kristin Nottelman were quite good coming out of the gate, but especially Thomas, who at one point threw back to back no hitters during the non-conference season. However, she would get hurt early in the conference season and Nottelman proved to be just as reliable along with Delaney. In the end, Thomas led the team/conference with a 1.14 ERA and a .170 batting average against. She finished 13-4, with Nottelman right behind her at 11-2 and 1.24 and Delaney right behind her at 14-3 and a 1.36 ERA. Delaney played in the most games for the Tigers with 21 and pitched the most innings at 118, while Thomas completed the most games with 13 (9 shutouts). She also only gave up THREE HRs on the seaon (in 116.2 innings) On the whole, Mizzou had a team ERA of 1.31 with 23 shutouts on the season.
If you dont know enough about Mizzou at this point, there is just no helping you :-)
Seriously...read through these previews and put the teams in order. Then try to explain to me how Depaul is the #1 seed in this group and technically Mizzou is seeded at #18 in the country. I can try to be as level-headed and non-biased as possible, but I just do not see where Mizzou should not be the favorite here. They lead the group in pretty much every category. When you are the only team with the benefit of at least two true starters, you vault to the top of the list when in a double-elimination tournament. With the weather looking iffy for tonight's games, that may actually play to Mizzou's advantage if the schedule tomorrow becomes tighter as they really have a number of arms they can and will use. Mizzou's offense struggled a bit in their 4-game losing streak, and is just as liable to be shut-down by a top-notch effort as anyone. However, with the games at home and the team seeing the big picture, I see Mizzou moving through to the next round (likely at UCLA).