COLUMBIA — Senior Ryan Lollis gets too excited.
Lollis, the Missouri baseball team's 6-foot-1, 193-pound center fielder, gets overeager when he sees a pitcher make a mistake. A jolt of excitement often causes him to foul off or miss completely instead of making a pitcher pay by crushing the ball into the gap.
Ball State (4-2)
at Missouri (3-7)
WHEN: 6:30 p.m. Friday; 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday; 1 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: Taylor Stadium
This hasn't prevented Lollis, a four-year starter, from leading the Tigers' offense through the first 10 games of the season.
While the rest of the lineup has struggled, Lollis has excelled. He is hitting .395 with 11 RBIs and five extra-base hits.
Lollis looks to extend a career-high seven-game hitting streak when Missouri (3-7) hosts Ball State (4-2) at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Taylor Stadium. In the home opener on Wednesday, Lollis went 3-for-4 with 3 RBIs and scored three runs.
"He has been the one guy that you can point to and say he has been pretty consistent every game in a good way," Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said.
Ace pitcher Kyle Gibson will start for the Tigers. Gibson is 1-1 with a 1.38 ERA, with 14 strikeouts in 13 innings. Ball State is expected to start senior Brenden Stines, who has a 3.00 ERA in six innings pitched.
Lollis said the coaches haven't tinkered with his swing much since he arrived from Houston Christian High School, where he led the Mustangs to the 2005 Texas state championship and a No. 4 national ranking in USA Today. Lollis is the Mustangs' all-time career leader in hits, doubles, home runs and RBIs.
In his freshman season at Missouri, Lollis made an immediate impact at the plate and in the field. He started 25 games, hit .327 and had 20 RBIs.
Also, Lollis had the winning pinch-hit single in the 14th inning against UC-Irvine in the first elimination game of the 2006 NCAA regional. Mizzou went on to win the regional, becoming the first No. 4 seed to do so.
Baseball players are eligible to be drafted directly out of high school or, if they enroll at an NCAA school, players can be drafted after their junior and senior seasons. Lollis has been drafted both times he has been eligible, but both times he has opted to stay at Missouri instead of turning pro.
"After high school, I really wanted to come to Mizzou and improve my game," Lollis said.
Lollis was drafted in the 20th round out of high school. In the June draft last season, Lollis was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 20th round again, but Lollis opted to spend another season at Missouri .
Lollis spent the summer in Columbia lifting weights and hitting with first baseman Steve Gray.
"I wanted to come back and win with this team," Lollis said.