Missouri baseball went 2-1 this past weekend, taking a series victory from FIU to begin the season.
Most of Mizzou’s vets came up big at the plate, and although the Tigers lost game three Sunday, that was primarily due to growing pains anticipated for the team’s fresh faces out of the bullpen. Sophomore pitcher T.J. Sikkema was strong in his first appearance of the year on Friday as predicted, and sophomore first baseman/outfielder Kameron Misner displayed the hitting ability that landed him on the SEC’s Preseason All-American Second Team as assumed. Everything that was expected to happen against the Panthers happened.
Well, almost everything.
The one player nobody would have expected to struggle also happened to be the No. 4 ranked senior in college baseball: catcher Brett Bond.
Bond finished the weekend just 1-for-12 from the plate — his lone hit was a single in the first inning of game two, which knocked in a pair of runs. His average sits at the bottom of the list among Missouri’s starters and is a far-cry from the .307 average he put together in his breakout junior season.
His full weekend of hitting came out to a .083/.143/.083 line, pretty low compared to .307/.385/.507 in 2017. It is still obviously quite early in the season, though, and Bond has plenty of time to find his form.
It won’t be all that easy to start his comeback against Miami this evening (5:00 p.m. CT, WatchESPN), though.
The Hurricanes are putting senior pitcher Michael Mediavilla on the mound to face Mizzou. Mediavilla had an underwhelming 2017 season, going 4-5 with a 4.45 ERA in 60.2 innings. He was named to the ABCA/Rawlings’ 2016 All-American Second Team, though, after finishing 11-2 with a 3.40 ERA and 85 strikeouts as the ace for a Miami team that finished 21-7 in the ACC and 50-14 overall. The southpaw is hoping to bounce back in 2018, and he’ll look to improve upon his one inning of scoreless ball last Friday when he faces the Tigers.
Mizzou, meanwhile, counters with junior Brian Sharp. The righty has yet to pitch this season — he started at third base on Sunday— but Missouri coach Steve Bieser is putting his faith in Sharp to lead Missouri to its third win of the year. Sharp finished 2-0 with a 3.38 ERA in nine appearances in 2017, but this will be his first career start.
Missouri’s hitting was fine against FIU, finishing the weekend with a .301 batting average and compiling 30 runs and 34 hits in just three games. There isn’t a lot to worry about with Bond, either. As Missouri goes up against the team ranked No. 22 in CBS’s Preseason Composite Rankings, though, it would help if Bond’s season began in earnest on Wednesday evening.