COLUMBIA —The Missouri baseball team is running out of time.
The Tigers have made six consecutive NCAA baseball tournaments but if the season ended today, the Missouri players would be starting an early summer vacation.
"I really think if we finish .500 and near .500 in the league we'll get in because our schedule and conference is so good," Tigers coach Tim Jamieson said. "There's several teams ahead of us that are ranked. We just have to take care of business these last four weekends."
The only other team in the Big 12 Conference to make the tournament each of the past six years is Texas. Only 15 other teams in the country have been in the tournament the past six years.
Missouri improved to .500 after Wednesday's 12-2 win over Indiana State at Taylor Stadium. The Tigers scored six runs in the fourth inning in which 11 Tigers came to the plate. Right fielder Aaron Senne went 2-for-2 with a walk against the Sycamores.
"We had a lot of great at-bats this series," Senne said. "It showed on the scoreboard."
Missouri once again used the pitcher-by-committee approach and improved to 9-3 using at least nine pitchers. On Tuesday, 10 Tigers pitchers limited the Sycamores to only seven hits.
Missouri has four Big 12 series remaining and are eighth in the conference standings. Only the top eight out of 10 teams make the conference tournament. The winner of the Big 12 tournament earns an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
"Hopefully we can crawl back into the Big 12 standings and get a good seed in the tournament," Senne said.
The Tigers players say they don't care about the national rankings, but every conference series they've played this year has been against a ranked team. Several players pointed out how confidence is growing among the team on offense and it's contagious.
"If you feel more confidence in the box, you have a great at-bat," left fielder Greg Folgia said
Boydsworld.com, an NCAA baseball Web site that predicts RPI much like comparable sites do for the NCAA basketball tournament, gives the Tigers an RPI of 52, which is good for a team that is only .500 and has a strength of schedule of 36.
Jamieson said he isn't thinking about the RPI.
"For us, we first of all have to make the conference tournament," Jamieson said. "Our RPI could be 10 and if we're below .500, we're not going anywhere."
After losing seven straight games at the beginning of the season, the Tigers haven't won more than three games in a row. First baseman Steve Gray said the team has been putting pressure on itself to recover after starting the year so poorly.
"We've known that the whole year." Gray said. "I feel like we've played the best teams in the conference so far. We have a chance to win each series the rest of the way."