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Texas Baseball Starts Summerball In Missouri - Friday Thread - 6 PM

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Finals are official over, graduation is set for Sunday, and there are forty students left on the forty acres. The baseball team also vacated campus this weekend for their final Big-12 Series. The Horns take on the Tigers in rainy Columbia, Missouri.  These are the last three regular season games before the Big-12 Tournament kicks-off on Wednesday. Keep in mind that we haven’t been racking up the airline miles this season. Out of fifty-one games, the Horns have left Austin only thirteen times and only six of those games were outside of Texas. Keep out of mind the result of the last time Texas traveled to Missouri for baseball, an embarrassing 32-12 blowout. Writing the football-like score on the ball and burying it in the dugout didn’t solve any karma problems as the Horns dropped the second game 13-2. As you’ve probably noticed, this year’s team is a step up from that 2008 squad. Officially, the Horns are #2 nationally but it would be hard to argue that we’re not the top dog right now. Since the loss to Kansas State two weeks ago, Texas has scored 46 runs while only allowing 18.

After sweeping Nebraska last weekend, Missouri is 27-22. It would be fair to call this a rebuilding year for the Tigers. Who will actually take the field tomorrow night is anyone’s guess. The Tigers have had forty-eight different lineups in the past forty-nine games. The "OR"s in their lineup are worse than the running back section of our roster. Mizzou has a small collection of stellar hitters, most notably Aaron Senne. The senior recently broke the MU record for career hits. He is batting .401 with 21 doubles and 13 homeruns. If the lefty causes trouble, southpaws Milner or McKirahan could be called upon to keep him in line. Brett Nicholas, another lefty who could play catcher or third-base, ranks second in the Big-12 in home-runs, doubles, and RBIs. Both players have had hitting streaks longer than 16 games recently. Also of note, Left-fielder Ryan Gebhart is finding his place in the lineup after returning from an ankle injury and short-stop Michael Liberto is an excellent lead-off man. Get through those first four batters and things start looking good.  Pitcher Nick Tepesch, who has a 4.21 ERA, matches up against Jungman on Friday night. He could be on a roll after recording his first shutout last week. 

Bringing up Big-12 website will tell you what you already know and what you probably wouldn’t expect. Firstly, we "did good" in the classroom. Jungman, Lusson, Moldenhauer, and Lusson earned Big-12 Academic Honors. Back on track, pitching and fielding are both ranked #1 statistically in the conference. No need to act surprised on that one. Cole, Taylor, and Brandon—Ruffin is a couple innings too short--are in the top six pitchers by ERA. Surprisingly, we’re ranked last in hitting. Our team batting average and hits are dead last in the conference. Texas doesn't have a single player on the leaderboards for BA, hits, doubles, triples, RBIs, or stolen bases. A strong performance at the plate this weekend will give us some momentum and confidence in Oklahoma City for the Big-12 Tournament. 

Happy Friday and this your Friday open thread. 

Friday, May 21, 2010 - 6 p.m. Central

Texas: RHP Taylor Jungmann (5-2, 2.18 ERA)
Missouri: RHP Nick Tepesch (5-5, 4.21 ERA)

Saturday, May 22, 2010 - 2 p.m. Central
Texas: RHP Cole Green (10-0, 1.81 ERA)
Missouri: LHP Kelly Fick (2-1, 3.23 ERA)

Sunday, May 23, 2010 - 1 p.m. Central
Texas: RHP Brandon Workman (10-1, 3.50 ERA)
Missouri: RHP Jeff Emens (3-4, 4.42 ERA)