Monday Musings - The Winding Down Edition

Pretty light on the sports docket this past week, and the weeks are only going to get lighter as we turn the calendar to May.  Softball ended its regular season, and men's golf is very likely to have ended its entire season.  Diamond sports were taking on the Huskers on both diamonds, and Julie Potter of the women's golf team got some good news this week.  Let's get to the good stuff.

Softball:

The #13 Tigers finished out the conference season coming off of their disappointing home sweep at the hands of OU last weekend.  With the Big XII regular season championship all but out of reach, the team headed out on Saturday and had that door officially closed, taking a 6-1 loss.  Senior Stacey Delaney was not very sharp at all, giving up all 6 runs in 6 innings of action, including 2 Husker HR's.  The offense was still down, plating only one run when they were already down 3-0.  The team was in need of a big effort on Sunday, and they got exactly that from freshman Chelsea Thomas, who spun a 2-hitter.  The Tiger's offense was still a bit down, collecting only 3 hits, but the biggest of the day came after Megan Christopher had driven in the first run of the game on a bases loaded walk.  Senior Lindsey Ubrun gave Mizzou all the runs they would need on a grand slam, her 14th HR of the season.  She now has 45 RBI's on 46 HITS this season...amazing.  Mizzou would win 5-0, locking up 2nd place in the coming Big XII tourney with a final record of 42-9 and 12-6 in conference.

The festivities down in OKC will start on Friday with the play-in games.  The game Mizzou will be paying attention to will be the 7/10 matchup of #10 Texas Tech and #7 Okie State.  Okie State just swept Tech this past weekend 2-1 and 8-0 (5).  Mizzou will take on the winner of that game first on Saturday morning at 11am.  During the regular season, Mizzou swept both teams on the road.  A win would mean the semifinal game against the winner of the 3/6 game of Baylor and aTm at 5pm, also on Saturday, before a potential championship game Sunday at 11:30 on FSN.  During the season, Mizzou swept Baylor on the road and run-ruled aTm at home.  #6 aTm actually swept #3 Baylor, though in two one-run games.

This is a tournament Mizzou can certainly win.  They have the most pitching of anyone and are right there with anyone for offense.  Delaney must rebound from a couple of shaky outings.  It will be interesting to see if the coaches decide to try to go with 3 starting pitchers (in which case I would go Nottlemann, Thomas then Delaney) or if they just go with Thomas and Delaney on Saturday and roll the dice with one of them for Sunday's game.  But if the offense can get back into the swing of things (it was great to see Shana White back in the lineup), we can expect to see this team on Sunday with a chance to win it all.

Baseball:

Who would have thought it would take until the final days of April for the Tigers to have a game cancelled?  Crazy stuff.

Mizzou headed out for the road for the week, scoring a big win Tuesday night at the Wooden Bat game in O'Fallon against E. Illinois   Johnny Wholestaff was very solid with the exception of Ryan Allen, and the offense was spurred by Aaron Senne's 2nd HR of the season.  The rain would come into play on Wednesday, cancelling the Tiger trip down to play SMS MStU, though those two are still scheduled to play Tuesday this week at Taylor.

The final regular season roadtrip took the Tigers to Nebrska for three against the Huskers.  Friday night saw Kyle Gibson not quite at his best, but he gutted it out until the Tigers would score 4 in the 7th to break a 4-4 tie.  4-5-6 hitters of Aaron Senne, Kyle Mach and Steve Gray combined for 7 hits, 4 RBI's and 4 runs scored to lead the offense.  Saturday had Johnny Wholestaff (with a Scooter Hicks twist) take the mound and lead Mizzou to a 6-3 win.  Leadoff hitter Austin Holt had 2 hits on the day, with Ryan Lollis driving in a pair.  Sunday had Nick Tepesch take the mound to try to close out the series sweep.  Tepesch was let down by his defense at times, but he battled for 6 innings and did enough to give the Mizzou bats enough time to come back. They did that on the back of HR's by Connor Mach, Gray and Holt, and Johnny Wholecloser came on to make it interesting (especially Ian Berger), but the Tigers would hold on for a 12-9 win, their 7th in a row.

Additional Thoughts on Baseball:

Man...would I love one more starter.  Don't ge me wrong.  Johnny Wholestaff has been a god-send for this team, especially as April has turned into May.  However, as the offense has (finally) picked up, another starter would be tremendous.  Perhaps, maybe give the Wholestaff start to Fick or someone (I would have said Berger before this poor outing on Sunday) on Tuesday capable of going long and see how long they can go.  If they struggle, Wholestaff is there.  If they are OK and they can start to gain some confidence, maybe you give them the start on Saturday or Sunday against CS-B.  Would be great to have another starter in time for the conference tourney and whatever may be beyond....

....you know what?  After seeing the members of Johnny Wholecloser...I am not sure this plan will work since the two people I'd like to see get that starting role were both pretty terrible.  This is what I get for writing this before the box score was out.  It is still a nice thought however.

Coming into this week I wanted 4 of 5 and was done better.  I really want 3 out of 4 this week.  Take MStU on Tuesday and 2 of 3 from kU and I will continue to be very pleased, and will continue to feel good about where the team is headed and their post-season chances.  Of course, if they want to run the winning streak another week, that'd be fine too.

Outdoor Track:

The final regular season meet of the season was contested Friday night down at Arkansas, and the action was cut short due to weather.  However, before all was said and done, Mizzou would still score some wins and impressive performances.  Senior Chris Rohr would keep up his great season by once again winning the hammer throw, while his female counterpart Krishna Lee would take the discuss and come in third in the hammer.  Brian Hancock came just short of clearing his personal best height in the pole vault on his way to a 2nd place finish.

The team now gets a week off before heading to the Big XII Championships in two weekends.

Men's Golf:

The team had some tough elements to deal with over their four rounds of the Big XII Championships, as rain was prevalent on two of the three days down in Texas.  In the end, the team did shoot pretty well on the day without the rain, but the bookend rounds were not as good, and the team would finish the season with a 9th place finish.  Sophomore William Harrold did improve as the rounds went on, and was able to shoot an even-par 70 on the final day to secure an overall tie for 17th place.  Senior Peter Malnati would finish his Tiger career in 28th, bested by other senior Ryne Fisher who took 23rd.  Sophomores Tyler Hillis and Chris Johnson closed out the scoring for Mizzou.

Women's Golf:

Even though her finish at the Big XII Championships was likely considered a little disappointing, junior Julia Potter did qualify to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Regional Championships which will be this weekend down in Florida at the East Regional.  8 teams and 2 individuals will move on and advance to the NCAA Championships.  She also earned her 2nd 1st Team All Big XII award this past week.

Up Next This Week:

Baseball has four big games and needs to keep the wins coming. Softball has a chance to win the Big XII Championships.  Julia Potter has a shot to move on to the NCAA Championships and that is that.  Just three sports in action.

Random Thoughts:

  • Got to watch the replay of Pacquiao/Hatton and wow is all I can say.  The punch to end it was as savage and sharp as any I have seen in a fight of that stature.
  • The save by the Washington Caps goalie Varlamov on Saturday afternoon against Pittsburgh and Sidney Crosby was just insane and probably won them the game.  The save by Luongo in Vancouver was maybe even better, but not enough to stop the Hawks from winning
  • My thoughts are with the Dallas Cowboy franchise.  The video of that is VERY scary.
  • Early reports out of Jets camp is that Mark Sanchez is impressing everyone.  A great story coming out is that after the first day of practice and dinner that evening that Sanchez called the entire offense together for a study session, unbeknownst to the head coach.  When the offense showed up running the plays perfectly after only receiving them the day before, Rex Ryan was impressed.  He was even happier when he learned how it came to pass. (so to speak).
  • Excited to hear the early good news for Pig Brown and Chase Patton
  • Not that I saw any of it, but I was surprised to hear the NBA did not put Miami against Cleveland, rather than Atlanta.  And yes, I am well aware of the inference/accusation I just made about the NBA and their officials.  But Wade/Lebron for 4-5 games rather than Atlanta would have made for better ratings.
  • Saw The Godfather from start to finish (thanks HDNet for showing all three unedited and without commercials) for the first time ever actually.  I had seen most of it, but it was good to finally see the entire thing, as it will be with the other two.
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