After tough road trip, Tigers baseball returns for home opener

Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | 9:39 p.m. CST; updated 10:27 p.m. CST, Wednesday, March 4, 2009

COLUMBIA — The Missouri baseball team is finally home.

The Tigers are set to host Western Illinois (0-5) 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Taylor Stadium in the team's home opener.  Last season, the Tigers lost to the Leathernecks 5-3.

Wednesday's Game

Tigers Home Opener

Who: Missouri(2-7) vs. Western Illinois(0-5)

When: 6:30 p.m.

Where: Taylor Stadium

Mizzou finished its road trip to Arizona 2-7.

"We flat-out didn't play well all week," catcher Trevor Coleman said.

Coach Tim Jamieson said that the team struggled in every aspect of the game and it showed in the results. The team struck out 88 times in the nine games and the defense committed 13 errors.

"Ryan Lollis was pretty consistent," Jamieson said. "Beyond that there wasn't anything that was consistently good." 

Lollis carries a six-game hitting streak into the game against the Leathernecks.

The trip included some fun for the Tigers. About 15 players and coaches went to the Royals-Rangers spring training game last Wednesday. Former Tiger Ian Kinsler plays second base for the Rangers.

Jamieson said that the depth of the pitching staff continues to be an issue especially in weeks where the teams play five games, like this week.

"Kelly Fick was okay but not sure he established himself as a weekend starter," Jamieson said. "Right now he is one by default because Ian Berger has struggled so badly. If we get him going, the pitching side of things should be fine." 

Berger, a senior, went 0-1 with a 7.71 ERA in two starts in Arizona.

Today's game will be a staff game. Berger and Fick will each pitch an inning with the rest of the Tiger bullpen pitching an inning or two each.

The road trip could have finished worse for the Tigers. Entering the final game, MU was on a seven-game losing streak and tied 2-2 in the top of the eighth inning before the Tigers scored a run and Coleman came to the plate with a man on base. 

Coleman then hit a home run to put the Tigers up three runs.

 "I got a pitch to hit and didn't think too much about it," Coleman said. "Getting the victory on last day on that trip, as tough of a trip as it was, was key and will be key for us moving on."

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