Category Archives: College Baseball

SEMO Off To Fast Start

Purdue's Black during last season's Big 10 Tourney.

Purdue's Black during last season's Big 10 Tourney.

It was a cold and wet day at Capaha Field but Zac and I braved the elements and headed out to watch Southeast’s home opener.  Okay, we lasted an inning or two.  We had watched baseball in the snow and now we can add freezing rain to our list.

Anyway, the Redhawks continue to tote some serious lumber.   The team rolled over Lyon 11-6 with the help of five home runs on the day.  Matt Wagner led the offensive barage with three hits including two home runs while driving in four runs.

Catcher Jim Klocke muscled a pitch in on his hands over the wall for a solo home run.

Klocke along with teammate James Leigh were named OVC Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively.  I am anxious to watch Klocke progress over the coming months.  With a powerful left-handed stick, he could be an interesting prospect if he is able to handle the duties of a backstop.

Southeast will welcome Purdue of the Big 10 this weekend.  The Boilermakers are 1-3 after winning its first game against Cincinnati in the Big East/Big 10 Challenge .  They then fell to an impressive looking Michigan, South Florida, and finally the Golden Domers of Notre Dame.  Purdue has been led in the early going by Freshman outfielder Tyler Spillner who is batting .429.  Third baseman Dan Black has provided the early power and brings a superb eye to the plate.  In its game against the Fighting Irish, Black drew five walks.

Baseball America picked Purdue to finish fifth in the 11-team Big 10.  Black was a preseason All-Conference as was Designated Hitter Brandon Haveman.  Shortstop Barrett Serrato was rated as the fourth best newcomer to the conference. Black was a monster in 2008 when he hit 18 home runs and drove in 70 runs.   Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 35th round last June, he is the league’s leading returning longball hitter. An intriguing power prospect, he set a Big 10 Championship record with three home runs in a single game.

The switch-hitter is listed as a player to watch for the 2009 Brooks Wallace Award.

Friday starter Matt Bischoff was considered to be one of the top three starters before the season started.  Bischoff is coming off a season in which he posted a record of 6-3 with a 3.96 ERA in 77 IP.  The junior right-hander was drafted by the New York Mets in the 47th round of the 2008 MLB First Year Player Draft. In 2007, he was named the Big 10 Freshman of the Year after posting a 2.85 ERA in 60 innings.

Purdue has not won a Big 10 title since 1909.  That can only be described as Cub-like.

Here is my latest post over at the Birdhouse:  St. Louis Cardinals and the Economic Crisis

Dustin Mattison

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First Weekend of College Baseball

Just adding to what Matt talked about earlier today.

Mizzou had a terrible weekend at the Grand Canyon tournament.  The Tigers lost three of the four games with ace Kyle Gibson earning the team’s only win.  Mizzou fell to number 15 in Baseball America’s Top 25. The team’s hard-throwing sophomores have to step up to solidify the rotation.  If not, this team is in trouble.

Stunningly, the Southeast Missouri Redhawks won two of three at nationally ranked Alabama.  The Redhawks will play its home opener on Tuesday afternoon at Capaha Field.  I hope I see you there.

Performances of those that could fall to the Cardinals at number 19:

Mike Minor (Vandy) The southpaw started out strong, spinning three scoreless innings before giving up and unearned run in the fourth. He ended up giving up three runs, two earned on five hits in 5.2 innings with six strikeouts and no walks in the no-decision.

D.J. LeMahieu (LSU)The talented shortstop collected five hits including three triples in nine at bats.  He also drew a walk and was hit by a pitch.

Mike Leake (Arizona St.) The right-hander struck out seven while allowing only one run in six innings against Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Ryan Jackson (Miami) Two of his three hits were for extra bases over the weekend.  The shortstop also drew four walks in the four game set.

Ben Tootle (Jacksonville St.) Hurled four no-hit innings before leaving after 84 pitches.  Tootle struck out four but struggled with his command which led to three walks.

Kyle Heckathorn (Kennesaw St.) Recently featured at Baseball America, the 6’6″ right-hander did not factor in the decision on Friday after allowing two runs on four hits in five innings while striking out four.

Tyler Lyons (Oklahoma St.) The left-handed junior hurled six shutout innings while allowing only two hits to an underrated Manhattan program.  It was his 11th consecutive win.

Dustin Mattison

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St. Louis area spring baseball options in ’09

With the economy in the shape it is, finding baseball alternatives in 2009 might help out your budget this year. I know baseball is a very important part of my entertainment budget. I’m a Cardinal season ticket holder and try to get to as many games as possible. However, for me to go to a game, it’s usually going to set me back $35, minimum. This is just my ticket, transportation/parking, 1 beer, and something to eat. I’m not giving up my season tickets any time soon and will still get to about 15 games this year. That’s going to be a drop from the 20 – 30 I’ve attended at Busch Stadium the past 2 or 3 years. I’m going to get my baseball fix in 2009, and here are some of the other games I will be trying to attend in the St. Louis area.

With the Cardinals not getting to St. Louis until April 6th, there is a lot of other baseball taking place in the region. In less than 2 hours, you can get to Taylor Stadium in Columbia, MO to watch a top 25 college baseball team in the Mizzou Tigers. Mizzou is led by top college prospect Kyle Gibson. Gibson is a top 10 college prospect according to most sources. There are other options for baseball in the St. Louis area that don’t include a trip to Columbia, MO. You can catch Mizzou in the St. Louis area a couple of times this spring.

Kyle Gibson - Mizzou Pitcher

Kyle Gibson - Mizzou Pitcher

You can catch Mizzou at TR Hughes Ballpark in O’Fallon, MO. The Missouri Tigers face Eastern Illinois in a game on April 28th. The Tigers also visit the St. Louis area earlier on April 1st to take on St. Louis University at Busch Stadium. Not exactly sure how the tickets work for this game, but it is another opportunity to catch one of the top collegiate teams in the country.

One of the best places to catch baseball this spring is at GCS Ballpark, the home of the Gateway Grizzlies, in Sauget, IL. The Grizzlies have posted their extra events schedule on their website. Games start on February 28th with a college baseball tournament hosted by Webster University. Webster University plays many of their home games at GCS Ballpark, but the stadium also will host collegiate games between Saint Louis University and SIU-Edwardsville, University of Indianapolis and SIU-Edwardsville, and the Great Lakes Valley Conference tournament. Not only does GCS host all these college games, they have 22 high school games, including many border war contests with Illinois high school teams matching up against Missouri high school teams. The great thing about these games is that the max cost of attending is only $5 and many are free.

The schedules for local colleges are loaded this spring, so catching a good game in your area won’t be to difficult.

Missouri Tigers
Saint Louis University
Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville
Southeast Missouri State University

SEMO actually just defeated the 16th ranked Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday. You can catch some good baseball all over the area this spring.

One more game you may may want to catch would be a Westminster Christian Academy game started by high school pitching phenon Jacob Turner. Turner is projecting to be a top ten pick in this years amateur baseball draft. I’ll try and keep this site updated with dates he will be pitching this spring.

Jacob Turner - Westminster Academy

Jacob Turner - Westminster Academy

I was going to include the Gateway Grizzlies and River City Rascals as other St. Louis area baseball options, but I’ll save these for another post. The Grizzlies and Rascals don’t kick off their Frontier League season’s until late May. I’ll have a full Frontier League preview in a few weeks.

Until then, go out an enjoy some good baseball this spring, while we wait for the Cardinals to leave Jupiter and head back to St. Louis.

Matt Wilson

Kyle Gibson Photo – Baseball America Top Prospecs
Jacob Turner Photo – AFLAC All America Team

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Spring Is In The Air, sort of

Trevor Coleman (Photo by Dustin Mattison)

Trevor Coleman (Photo by Dustin Mattison)

It might be blissfully cold here in Southeast Missouri but Spring is definitely on the way.  The St. Louis Cardinals are in full swing with workouts in Jupiter while the Division I college baseball season kicks off on Friday.

I got a text message from Ian Ostlund earlier this week with his impression of the first few days of Cardinals camp, “It’s wonderful here….what a classy organization!”  Ostlund has become a personal fave and is one to watch when looking at the southpaws competing for a spot in the Cardinals bullpen.  I had the pleasure of interviewing “Oz” recently at the Birdhouse.

So it took only a couple of days for some controversy to come out of the Cardinals camp.  Seems that Joel Pieneiro has taken exception to being left out of the Puerto Rico rotation.  First off, he is not better than Javier Vazquez, Ian Snell, or Jonathon Sanchez.  Secondly, didn’t he learn from the Adam Kennedy experience that he needs to keep things in-house?

In a couple of weeks, the minor leaguers will be ascending on RDS as the minor league phase of ST will be starting up.  I had a chance to talk shortly with left-hander Jonny Bravo recently and he let me know that he is leaving for Florida on March 9. I really believe he has a chance of starting the 2009 season at the Quad Cities.

Over at the Seamheads Historical League, my All-Time Cardinals team continues to struggle.  It looked like the team was ready to bounce back maybe using Derrick Goold’s recent blog as motivation.  But it was short lived as the team has lost three straight.

It seems to me that the more players that get busted for steroids, the better Mark McGwire looks.  It seems Joe Posnanski at Sports Illustrated feels the same way.  He has an interesting piece on McGwire and that infamous Congressional hearing. 

On the college front, a few of the teams I follow closely will be in action this weekend.

The Missouri Tigers will be in Phoenix to play a round robin tournament with Gonzaga and Nevada. The Tigers are experienced and talented at the top of their rotation with Kyle Gibson, Ian Berger, and Nick Tepesch. Behind the plate, Trevor Coleman is one of the top backstops in the country. Both Gibson and Coleman were named preseason All-Americans by Baseball America. The team is ranked number 10 by BA while ranking at number 20 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.

The College Baseball Blog ranked Gibson as the fourth best college player in the country in its Top 50.

Vanderbilt will making the trek across country for a 2-game series with Stanford before traveling up the road for another 2-game series with Cal.  Left-hander Mike Minor could continue the trend of a Commodore being picked at the top of the draft.

The Southeast Missouri Redhawks hit the road for a series against the 21st ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.  The Redhawks return most of its offense but appears to be weak on the bump.  JUCO transfer Kyle Gumenley is a southpaw that is hoping to bring consistency to the rotation.

Sikeston native and Blake Dewitt’s cousin, J.R. Bizzell, has started off strong for Rhodes College.  The senior is hitting .400/.457/.467 through his first seven games.

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Dustin Mattison

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Jacob Priday

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First Weekend of March

Mizzou had a good weekend, winning 3 of 4 at the San Diego tournament.  In Sunday’s action, Jacob Priday moved in the fifth place on the Missouri All-Time home run leaderboard. Before the end of the season, he will be number 1.  It was a good weekend that should help prepare the Tigers for regional action at the end of the year.

I was able to watch some of both the UCLA and USC games on ESPN on Saturday.  Why can’t ESPN show more college baseball instead of poker?   Brandon Crawford, who should be around when the Cards pick 13, really impressed me.  He shows above average range, a plus arm, and good speed on the bases.  He gets pull happy at times, but has good power for a middle infielder.  And, unlike many college shortstops, he should be able to stay at the position.

 For USC, I was hoping to get a look at shortstop Grant Green.  Unfortunately, he is out with an injury.  DH/C/P Robert Stock shows tremendous bat speed.  Another player that caught my eye was Trojan CF Nick Buss.  He has a long, lean projectable body with good speed and range in CF. 

 J.R. Bizzell is hitting .340/.377/.380 for Rhodes College. 

SEMO won a shootout on Sunday afternoon to keep from getting swept.  The Indians, I mean Redhawks, topped Northern Colorado 14-13.  The Redhawks are now 3-4.

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Opening Weekend

Baseball America’s new Top 25 is out.  Mizzou moved up to the number 5 spot after its’ three victories over the weekend.  In his chat today, Aaron Fitt believes the Tigers have the best pitching staff in the country. 

 Mizzou won three games over the weekend in impressive fashion.  Sunday, Kyle Gibson struck out 10 in six innings.  In Sunday’s game, Jacob Priday hit his first HR of the year, he is now just 11 from the top spot on the Missouri All-Time HR mark.

In Saturday’s game, Priday drove in three and scored three runs. 

 Southeast won its series against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 2 games to 1. 

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