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Tigers get four perfect innings from Scooter Hicks in win over Texas Tech

Saturday, April 25, 2009 | 5:31 p.m. CDT; updated 7:34 p.m. CDT, Saturday, April 25, 2009
Missouri's Ryan Gargano pitches in relief of senior Scooter Hicks, who started and pitched four strong innings.

COLUMBIA — Missouri pitcher Scooter Hicks pitched so well on Saturday that Missouri coach Tim Jamieson couldn't remove him from the game.

"I wanted to make it hard for them to take me out," Hicks said. "Just tried to stick to my approach and I couldn't have asked for anything better."

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 Jamieson expected Hicks to at most throw two innings in Saturday's game at Taylor Stadium as part of the pitcher-by-committee approach that Missouri has used successfully all year.

"Two innings is what we were hoping for," Jamieson said. "When they haven't put a good swing on him in two innings you put him back out there."

Instead, Hicks pitched four perfect innings to start the game and allowed three earned runs in the fifth before being removed with the lead.

Missouri beat Texas Tech 9-5 to win its second consecutive Big 12 conference series and move to 10-10 in conference play. Outfielder Greg Folgia hit a lead-off home run in the second inning to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. The next six Tiger batters reached base, scoring five runs to take a six-run lead after two innings.

"You're seeing multiple guys in the lineup having confidence," Jamieson said. "When you have confidence you're more patient at the plate and when you have more patience you're going to see better pitches to hit. That's what's happening."

Hicks' road around college baseball has taken some weird and long turns to arrive at Missouri.

Hicks originally enrolled at Tulane University in the fall of 2005. Then Hurricane Katrina ruined those plans two days after he moved into the freshman dorms. Hicks evacuated permanently to Texas A&M for his freshman season.

"Class was supposed to start on Wednesday (at Tulane)," Hicks said. "Once that hit my dad came up to me and he said it's too dangerous to go to school down there."

Hicks pitched only 2 2/3 innings for the Aggies his freshman season and he wasn't happy.

Texas A&M coach Rob Childress allowed Hicks to transfer away after his first season with a full release, which means that the player can go play with any team. That meant Hicks was looking to attend his third school in two years.

"When I got there (Texas A&M) I was going through a whirlwind of things," Hicks said. "I arrived on campus a week and a half after they started classes. It was my first time going to college classes and I wasn't used to it."

Tiger outfielder Ryan Lollis went to high school with Hicks and suggested he should go to Missouri because it's a fun program with relaxed coaches. That's what Hicks wanted, compared to the strict Texas A&M program.

"Those weren't my type of coaches and I'm not their type of player but no hard feelings there,"Hicks said. "My high school buddy Ryan Lollis told me nothing but good things about this program and after talking to (pitching coach) Tony Vitello he backed up with what Ryan told me that it's a fun program."

Hicks is only 5-foot-9 and weighs only 175 pounds, but Hicks has made the most of his small stature. Hicks is fourth all-time in saves for Missouri with 14 in his career. He had three saves this season before changing roles to be apart of the pitcher-by-committee approach.

Hicks uses his off-speed pitches a lot more than most pitchers would. He has a curve ball that buckled a couple of Red Raider batters Saturday striking out six. Hicks says that when he's locating his breaking pitches around the knees, it's going to be a good day. That's what he did against Texas Tech along with locating his fastball well. Hicks also takes pride in his command and rarely walks batters.

"I'm more of a command guy," Hicks said. "I throw strikes and don't walk people."


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