ST. LOUIS – No. 25/29 Missouri continues its nine-game road swing with a pair of midweek contests in the St. Louis metropolitan area, beginning with a 6:30 p.m. contest against Illinois Tuesday (March 28) at GCS Credit Union Ballpark in Sauget, Ill.
The Tigers (17-6) have gotten the better of the Illini (11-9) in neutral site Braggin’ Rights venues, bringing a 9-4 mark vs. Illinois in such contests into Tuesday’s game, including an 11-7 win last March in Sauget.
The Tigers will also take on Lindenwood (3-21) in a 3 p.m. contest Wednesday (March 29) at the Lou Brock Sports Complex in St. Charles.
Each of the Tigers’ two midweek contests will be broadcast on KTGR AM/FM, with Tex Little and Matt Michaels describing the action.
Tuesday – RHP Logan Lunceford (Mizzou) vs. RHP Jake Swartz (Illinois)
Wednesday – TBD (Mizzou) vs. TBD (Lindenwood)
• Mizzou and Illinois meet for the 31st time on the diamond when the Braggin’ Rights series returns to GCS Credit Union Ballpark Tuesday.
• The Tigers hold a slim 15-14-1 all-time series edge.
• Mizzou claimed an 11-7 decision in the two clubs last meeting on March 29, 2022 in Sauget.
• Mizzou also holds a 3-0 edge over Lindenwood.
• The Tigers claimed a 17-2 victory over the Lions in the two clubs’ first meeting on Feb. 28 in Columbia.
MEET THE TIGERS
• Missouri is off to a 17-6 start in 2023, including a 14-3 mark in nonconference contests.
• The Tigers are ranked in at least one top 25 poll for the second week in a row, checking in at No. 25 in this week’s Baseball America poll.
• Mizzou’s 2023 roster features a heavy helping of talent from within the state of Missouri’s borders, with 16 players from the Show-Me State.
• Additionally, Mizzou head coach Steve Bieser has brought in players from a total of 16 different states, plus the territory of Puerto Rico.
• Hank Zeisler has been the Tigers’ most consistent power threat and run producer, totaling nine home runs and 29 RBIs to date.
• Luke Mann is hitting .352 to go along with eight homers, three of which came in last Friday’s contest at No. 4 South Carolina as part of a 4-for-5, 6-RBI night; the senior third baseman is also hitting .369 in nonconference games.
• Zach Franklin leads the club with four victories and 38 strikeouts in eight relief appearances.
• As a team, the Tigers are batting .285 through the first 23 games of the season.
• The Mizzou pitching staff has logged double-digit strikeout totals in 16 of its 23 games and ranks 26th nationally in team ERA (3.88).
MEET THE FIGHTING ILLINI
• Under the direction of 18th-year head coach Dan Hartleb, Illinois enters Tuesday’s game with an 11-9 overall mark in 2023.
• The Fighting Illini dropped its Big Ten series with Nebraska over the weekend, losing the first two games before claiming a 10-7 decision in Sunday’s finale.
• Catcher Jacob Schroeder leads the Illini regulars with a .317 average to go along with his five homers.
• On the mound, Jack Wenninger leads the Illini rotation with a 3-1 mark and 4.56 ERA, while TJ Constertina has recorded three saves to anchor the bullpen.
MEET THE LIONS
• Led by 25th-year head coach Doug Bletcher indenwood is off to a 3-21 start in its initial Division I campaign, including a 17-2 setback against the Tigers on Feb. 28.
• The Lions are led by Dawson Hokuf, who brings a .292 batting average into the week.
• On the mound, sophomore Graham Breite and freshman Carson Subbert have been strong in relief roles, each posting sub-2.00 ERAs to date.
SUPERMANN TAKES FLIGHT
• Luke Mann became the second Tiger in 10 days to hit three home runs in a game last Friday at No. 4 South Carolina as part of a career-best four-hit performance.
• Mann continued his climb up the Mizzou home run chart (see above), hitting his 34th, 35th and 36th career home runs in Friday’s contest to move into sole possession of the No. 7 spot on the list.
• Mann needs one more long ball to tie Cody Ehlers (37) in the No. 6 spot and two more to match Griffin Moore (38) and climb into Mizzou’s top 5.
• The St. Louis native logged a career-best 12-game hit streak (Feb. 24-March 15).
• The fifth-year third baseman hit .400 (18-for-45) with four homers and 11 RBIs during his hit streak.
• Mann was tabbed for first-team preseason laurels, becoming the first Tiger honoree since Kameron Misner’s second-team selection five years ago.
• Mann’s 17 home runs in 2022 were the most by a Tiger since Ehlers hit 18 round-trippers in 2004.
• Mizzou’s 14-3 mark against non-SEC foes continues a string of recent dominance in nonconference play.
• The Tigers went 18-3 in nonconference play last spring, giving them an overall mark of 32-6 in non-SEC competition since the start of the 2022 season.
• Mizzou hit .310 against non-league foes and averaged more than nine runs per game, while also posting a 3.76 team ERA in those contests.
• Individually, Dalton Bargo is hitting .385 with one homer and nine RBIs during nonconference play.
• During Steve Bieser’s tenure as head coach, the Tigers have posted a cumulative 113-39 record in nonconference play, good for a .743 win percentage.
• Ty Wilmsmeyer has enjoyed a torrid start to his senior season, bringing a .325 batting average and 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts into the week.
• The Springfield, Mo., native ranks 67th nationally with his 11 steals.
• Wilmsmeyer, who has logged three multi-hit performances in SEC play, carried the Tigers in Saturday’s doubleheader at South Carolina, both at the plate and on the mound.
• He recorded two-hit performances in each contest, then worked the final 5.0-plus innings of the night cap to bolster a depleted Mizzou pitching staff and keep the Tigers in the contest.
• Wilmsmeyer struck out a career-best four batters and held one of the nation’s top offenses scoreless over his first five innings.
• Mizzou’s pitching staff is off to a blazing hot start, with 16 double-digit strikeout totals in its first 23 games.
• With 251 K’s to date, the Tigers are on pace to shatter the program’s single-season record for strikeouts (559 in 2019).
• The Tigers rank eighth nationally as a staff in strikeouts per nine innings (11.7).
• Mizzou’s team WHIP of 1.18 ranks 11th among all Division I pitching staffs, while the Tigers’ two shutouts on the season rank 36th nationally.
• As a staff, the Tigers have limited the opposition to a collective .196 batting average, with seven different pitchers logging averages against of .200 or less.
• Individually, Zach Franklin’s four wins are tied for 25th among all Division I pitchers.
• Rorik Maltrud has been dominant as well, ranking among the national leaders in WHIP, walks allowed per nine innings and hits allowed per nine innings.
TO BE FRANK
• Mizzou graduate transfer Zach Franklin has made an immediate impact in his first season with Mizzou, going 4-1 with a team-best 38 strikeouts in just 19.0IP.
• Franklin is the SEC’s active leader in career wins (20) and strikeouts (252), ranking third among all active NCAA Division I pitchers in those two categories as well.
• The Marion, N.C., native has also recorded 12 saves in his career, which rank third on the active SEC list.
• Franklin has also recorded the top velocity by a Tiger pitcher, topping out at 98.26 MPH vs. TCU on Feb. 19.
• In his eight 2023 outings to date, Franklin has registered at least six punchouts in four of those.
• Franklin has limited left-handed hitters to .161 (5-for-31) hitting, while averaging a whopping 18.0 K’s per nine innings so far in 2023.
• Mizzou head coach Steve Bieser is in his seventh year guiding the Tigers, entering the week with a 175-137-1 record as MU’s bench boss.
• Bieser topped the 300-victory mark with Mizzou’s 10-4 win at FIU on Feb. 25, and enters Tuesday’s game with a career 313-234-1 mark in 11 seasons as a collegiate head coach.
• The Tigers have finished with an overall record above .500 in five of Bieser’s six seasons.
• Bieser’s 104 wins from 2017-19 were the most ever by a Mizzou baseball coach in his first three campaigns.
• Additionally, Bieser’s win total marked the winningest three-year stretch by the Tigers since 2008-10 (103 victories).
• Mizzou produced 39 wins in Southeastern Conference play from 2017-19 as well, marking its top three-year stretch in league play since joining its new conference in 2013.
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