You should be. Mizzou’s baseball season kicks off later today against Eastern Michigan, and there’s still plenty of room on the bandwagon that will be following what should be a entertaining group of ball players. The SEC is loaded - as always - but first year head coach Steve Bieser thinks his team can surprise some folks.
“I think the potential is that we can be a very creative offense,” said Bieser, whose 2016 SEMO team ranked in the top 20 nationally in team batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. “Our goal, it’s really not saying, ‘We’re going to hit .270,’ or ‘We’re going to hit .280.’ It’s more like, ‘How do we score six runs a game?’ … We don’t want nine hitters in our lineup. We want an offense. We want everybody working for the same goal. That’s really the mentality for this team that we work as an offense. We practice every day. We practice ways to score runs whenever we can’t actually hit those types of runs, so we’ve got to find ways to manufacture runs. We’ve got to be creative with offense. We’ve got to be able to steal bases.”
And why should he think otherwise? Bieser fields a team led by star pitcher Tanner Houck, and - according to the Missourian - he has history on his side.
Sometimes it takes a season or two for coaches to put their mark on a team and get back to winning ways, but history leans toward success in Bieser’s first year. Of Missouri's past three head coaches, only Jamieson had a losing record in his first season. The entire program, meanwhile, has only experienced 11 losing seasons since 1935, a mark Bieser doesn't want to add to anytime soon.
"He wants to win,” junior standout pitcher Tanner Houck said. "He’s not saying he wants to win in two or three years; he wants to win now."
Speaking of Houck, it seems like he’s ultra locked in and ready to live up to the hype.
“Tanner has been all business right now. He wants to be the first pick in the draft,” first-year Missouri coach Steve Bieser said. “... But we’ve talked about how you can’t control whether you’re the first pick or the 10th pick, it’s the organizations who decide what they need. I think he’s able to put all of that past him and he’s able to go out and do his job every single day and that’s what we expect from Tanner.”
He’s so laser-focused that all he’s thinking about is perfecting the fundamentals. And my fundamentals, I mean he’s more focused on where he’ll be eating lunch tomorrow than he is on the MLB Draft.
“I’m living in the moment,” said Houck, when asked about soon earning enough apartment deposits for all of Columbia. “I’m thinking, where am I going to get my next meal, and how much can I eat of it? Because I like to eat a ton. That stuff, it’s in the future, it’s kind of like out of my control. It’s four months from now. I have a full season left here at Mizzou.”
That’s the kind of stuff I like to see in my star athletes. Also, Tanner: Wise Guys’ Untouchable has you covered, my dude.
Here’s everything you need to know about the game today, including how to follow along.
- Women’s basketball notched a big win last night! They beat Florida 74-67 on the road
- Sophie Cunningham came up big for the traveling Tigers, scoring 28 points in the win
- In the pool, Mizzou proved that they can swim with the best of the SEC.
- Make sure you congratulate our very own mizzousundevil, who was honored by the National Press Foundation last night.
Accepted the "Feddie" award at tonight's NPF dinner for our whole team. Congrats @_SusanCarroll @MichaelCiaglo ! #JournalismMatters pic.twitter.com/Har2q4Hcj1— Matt Dempsey (@mizzousundevil) February 17, 2017
I’D SAY THIS CALLS FOR A CELEBRATION!