Mizzou sweeps Northwestern behind LaPlante’s quality start, pair of homers
Steve Bieser’s third year as Mizzou’s head coach hasn’t started off quite as well as anyone would have hoped, but the Tigers set themselves on the right track by completing a sweep of the Northwestern Wildcats on Sunday. In the battle of journalism schools, there can only be one victor.
It was arguably the Tigers’ most convincing win of the series, as senior Tyler LaPlante pitched six innings of two-run ball and fellow senior Tony Ortiz finished his monster series off with his third home run in as many games. After the game, Bieser had this to say about his first baseman:
“We know every year someone steps up and needs to be that guy in the lineup. He has been huge for us. Tony has been swinging a good bat. As the season goes, he knows it will get tougher as people start keying in on him. Nobody is hotter than he is right now.”
The Tigers will have to hope this series marks a turn for the lineup, which has had its struggles in the young season.
“It’s been a slow start, but hopefully that turns things around,” James said.
The slow start for James and Missouri’s lineup as a whole seems to be wearing off, as the Tigers welcomed back their power stroke during a three-game series in which they scored 28 runs.
Sunday’s blasts were the fifth and sixth homers the Tigers have hit in the past two games, a welcome sight for Steve Bieser’s ballclub at a home park that rarely plays so well for hitters. Saturday’s windy game aided some fly balls, while Sunday’s calmer conditions simply failed to stop the Tigers’ two well-struck long balls.
I’m hoping to do a more in-depth breakdown of Missouri’s lineup in the coming week to examine some of the Tigers’ key performers in the early going.
The Tigers have two midweek games against Arkansas State before opening up the SEC schedule at No. 10 Arkansas on Friday.
Basketball news and notes
There weren’t really any major basketball stories on Sunday, but there were a lot of notes that are worth pointing out.
Sophie Cunningham named to SEC All-Tournament Team
#S3NIORSOPH— Mizzou Basketball (@MizzouWBB) March 10, 2019
◾ 25.0 PPG, 5.3 RPG
◾ 60.0 FG%, 47.6 3PT%, 88.5 FT%
◾ Most points scored by a Tiger at an SEC Tournament game (33)
◾ Became #Mizzou's all-time leading scorer@sophaller @SEC All-Tournament Team#MIZ #OurTownOurTeam pic.twitter.com/fDBwN0EupI
It was a decent weekend for the GOAT, don’t you think?
Torrence Watson breaks freshman three-point record
Watson is averaging almost 16 points per game in the past four outings, shooting 45 percent from long-range.
Jordan Geist and Lindsey Cunningham practice some PTA
That’s a Public Tweet of Affection for those who were unaware after I just now made it up.
Yesterday at Rock M
- Study Hall: Ole Miss 73, Mizzou 68
- Missouri adds Aaron Rodriquez, a PWO Punter from California
- Springfield (Mo.) kicker Logan Brock commits to Mizzou as a PWO
- Over at PowerMizzou, Sean Williams published a premium breakdown of Missouri’s latest football targets, while the site aggregated its spring football coverage for Week One ($$).
- Ole Miss Head Coach Kermit Davis had some strong praise for Mizzou’s freshman guards after Saturday’s game, and Alex Schiffer details how Xavier Pinson, Torrence Watson and, to a lesser extend due to injury, Javon Pickett took over senior day.
- Mizzou basketball target Myron Gardner stole some poor guy’s lunch money before yamming on the Ghost Formerly Known As Terry Armstrong.
- I haven’t seen it mentioned yet, so a big fat CONGRATULATIONS! to Mizzou Wrestling for continuing its run of conference championship dominance this weekend.