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Monday Musings: Pre-Vacation Edition

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That's right folks...am heading west tomorrow.  Starting in San Diego, making my way up the coast eventually to San Francisco for my sister's wedding next Sunday.  While out there, we are seeing a Padres game, hitting Sea World and Disney (on the same day), Hearst Castle, Alcatraz and I assume Rodeo Dr so I can look for Julia Roberts from 15 years ago.

Enough about my vacation...though I guess no Musings next Monday as I am getting back in the evening...maybe Tuesday if you are lucky.  As for this week's edition...pretty much the feel-good edition.  How good?  Read up!

Softball:
You know, I always start with baseball in the spring, but the ladies certainly deserve to go first.  The Boy and I spent a good part of the weekend covering their goings-on for you, but just to reiterate, it was a very impressive 3-0 weekend against the #14 team and the home team in the tournament.  They will go on to Tuscaloosa to take on #3 Alabama in what will be a very tough series against a very good Bama squad in front of a very large Bama crowd.  Whatever they accomplish, chalk this season up to a wonderful step forward for this program by coach Ehren Earlywine

To give you a taste I guess of what to potentially expect from the ladies in future years, I am going to take a quick look at what the team currently has in terms of seniors and see how many are going to be returning from this club.

Click 'Full Story' for more.

Of the women who made 20 or more starts for this team who will be returning:

Rhea Taylor: You probably know a lot about this top freshman...hit over .400 on the season and was 1st team all Big XII.  She is going to start every game of her career at Mizzou barring an injury and certainly has the potential for some All-American votes going forward in her career.

Andee Allen: Hit .380 this season and was the hero yesterday with the GW RBI.  This junior infielder was also all Big XII and will have another season left for the Tigers.

Lindsey Ubrun: This hard hitting infielder was 2nd on the team with HR's and will be the big bat returning for her senior season next year.  She also hit .313 on the year.

Julie Silver: Started in the outfield as a frosh last year, and had a little bit of a sophomore slump this season, only hitting .275 after being just over .300 last season.  Hopefully she can get back to that as a junior next year, but she was 2nd on the team with SB's with 24.

Abby Vock: Another true freshman who played in every game this season and started almost all of them.  Will be a fixture in the infield, but could work to improve a little at the dish (.250) and in the field (led the team in errors with 13)

Shana White: ANOTHER true frosh who saw action in 48 games and started 24 in the outfield.  A light hitter (.229), she showed good speed on the base paths (12 of 14).

Kathryn Poet: You guessed it...ANOTHER true frosh who saw action in 57 (of 62) games and started 54.  Will need to improve at the plate (.228), but a strong fielder with only 1 error between the outfield and infield.

Megan Christopher and Katie Miles: The frosh and sophomore combined to start 56 games behind the plate...and combined to hit...well...not very good.  Lots of youth at this position, but I could see this being a position which might get upgraded through recruiting.

Jana Hainey: The sophomore pitcher was a respectable 10-3 with a 2.31 ERA on the season, mostly in mop-up work and early season action.  Has not seen a lot of time of late, but will certainly be counted on for more next season.

Stacey Delaney: The staff ace will return to Mizzou for her senior season after leading the team with a 20-3 record and 1.85 ERA.  A strong fielder as well, as she did not committ an error on the season.

11 players coming back...we will lose 1st team All Big XII Amanda Renth who hit over .330 with 20 HR's and 60 RBI and Jen Bruck who was 2nd team all Big XII with .303/14/43 and 17-9/2.71 ERA.  Both have been among the greats for the Tigers in their career.

Needless to say, lots to look forward to next year.  Solid pitching returning and most of the day to day players.  Another impact frosh or two and this team should be strong again, though they will need to find some new power sources.  After Ubrun, the most HR's returning will be 5 from Kathryn Poet.

Baseball:
So...let me pose this question to my Musings reader(s)....how do you pitch this weekend at the Big XII's?  We start with #5 seed Texas...then the next evening we will have #8 seed OU.  A day off...Saturday brings #1 seed aTm and then if we get through, you have the championship game.  What do you throw where?  My guess is Crow to start (you need to win the first game, no matter who you play), then I would say Berger, then Gibson.  Berger could be switched with Zagone I suppose, but that is where I see Crow and Gibson going at least.

At any rate, a wonderful weekend for the Tigers.  Just over EIGHT THOUSAND PEOPLE attended the three games, setting a new stadium record.  Mizzou looked good on the hill in 2 of the 3 games and look great at the dish most of all 3 games.  If they are getting March-hot again, it would be the perfect time.  A hot Mizzou team is one of the best in the country, and this would be the best time to be hot again.

A quick review of the team (since the softball review took me longer than I wanted to take this morning) shows Mizzou will obviously lose #1 pitcher Aaron Crow to the draft and #1 power hitter Jacob Priday as he is a senior.  I dont really see any other pitcher leaving at this point (though both Zagone and Berger are juniors, but do need another strong season to get their draft stock back up).  In the field, the Tigers will lose seniors Kurt Calvert, Lee Fischer and Dan Pietroburgo, all of whom were starters in a number of games this year.  The team will have a LOT of juniors and seniors next season, with many of the juniors perhaps being draft worthy, so 2010 may see a bit of a drop-off but 2009 should be another strong season for TJ's crew.

Outdoor Track:
As chronicled here and here, Mizzou had a decent weekend at the Big XII's in Colorado.  The men placed 8th with 49 points, a conference-best 32 coming from the throwers (should have probably been a little more as Rohr fouling did not help that total) and the women placed 10th with 35 points.  Shermelle Nichols and Jason Morris placed in two events each, and Nate Englin did bring home the shotput title.  Getting points on the track for the Tiger men was Tipper O'Brien in the 1500, while Trisa Nickoley took 7th in the 800 meters and the 4x400 team placed 8th.

Next up will be the NCAA Regional Meet in Fayetteville, AR on May 30th and 31st.  The Walton Combined event is this week in Columbia.

Oh yeah...and Christian Cantwell is once again asserting himself as perhaps the best shot-putter in the world, as he won his 7th straight event.

Coming up:
Baseball will start Wednesday MORNING (ugh) and Softball will start Friday evening.  That's about it really.

Random Thoughts:
  *  Glad to see the Penguins finish off the Flyers and get to the Cup Finals.  Hockey could really use the Penguins winning it all and putting Crosby's face all over its sport.

  *  Also glad to see the Mets take 2 of 2 (rain out) from the Yanks this weekend at Yankee Stadium.  Supposedly Pedro is due back in a couple of weeks...if healthy, their 4 of Santana, Maine, Martinez and Perez is quite solid.

  *  Tough luck loss for Max Scherzer over the weekend.  Gave up only 2 runs, both unearned in 5 innings.  Is 0-2 now, but has pitched very week in his 19.1 innings, giving up 16 hits, only 5 earned runs and 23 K's (7 BB's) for a 2.33 ERA.  He is slated to start again on Friday against the Braves.

  *  Impressive outings so far for Doug Mathis in Texas (who have FIVE pitchers on the DL right now).  Mathis has throw 3 innings, and has given up 1 BB...that's it.  3 K's in that time and 1 win in his debut.  Hell...he has only throw 36 pitches so far.

  *  The biggest lie told yesterday?  From the Cardinals-Rays box score:

Attendance: 46,392 (105.5% full)


As someone who was there for Stan Musial Day (good to see him, but sad to see his current state of health), and on the nicest Sunday of the season, that place was not even close to 100 percent full, much less the 105.5 percent full (the Cardinals, I believe, claim to see THOUSANDS of standing room tickets...not too sure about that).  Anyway, with full rows being empty in the stadium, just thought it was funny.