COLUMBIA — It was quite evident the Missouri baseball team was looking forward to the Big 12 Conference Tournament while playing the final two games of the regular season.
The team committed errors, threw away pick-off attempts, took bad swings and even trailed 4-0 early in Sunday’s game against Cal. St.-Bakersfield, a first-year Division I team that is 11-34.
Wednesday: Missouri vs. Texas A&M, 4 p.m.
Friday: Missouri vs. Texas Tech, 3 p.m.
Saturday Missouri vs. Oklahoma, 4 p.m.
Sunday Championship Game, 1 p.m.
Where: Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City
Radio: KTGR /580 AM; KTGR.com
Streaming Video: big12sports.com
Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said he wasn't surprised that his team struggled in their weekend series, especially after not playing for six days and with the Big 12 tournament starting Wednesday in Oklahoma City.
“Their focus was in the past with the finals they just took, and in the future with the Big 12 tournament and the postseason around the corner,” Jamieson said. “We want to win the Big 12 tournament and build towards winning a regional.”
It’s easy to understand why the Tigers would be looking ahead. The players love the experience of going to Oklahoma City, playing in a 13,000 seat venue against teams in one of the country’s toughest conferences. According to a Rivals.com projection, six of the 10 Big 12 baseball teams are projected to make the NCAA tournament.
“It should be a battle and everyone has a shot to win it,” senior Kyle Mach said.
Missouri ace Kyle Gibson is expected to start against the Texas A&M Aggies at about 4 p.m. Wednesday at Bricktown Ballpark. Missouri won two of three games against the Aggies in Columbia.
“Getting a win in that first game would be really big,” Gibson said. “We really want to go out and do really well in the Big 12 tournament and win.”
Gibson is able to start today because Friday’s game with Cal. St.-Bakersfield was rained out. Gibson pitched one inning in Sunday’s game. Pitching today would also allow for Gibson to possibly pitch an inning or two if the Tigers win their pool and play in Sunday’s championship game.
“I think since I’ve got a lot of rest lately, depending on the pitch count on Wednesday, I might be able to pitch a relief inning or something,” Gibson said. “If I go seven, eight, or nine innings on Wednesday, I probably won’t pitch, just so I can set up for regionals.”
A free video stream of the tournament can be found all week at Big12sports.com. The Big 12 tournament uses a pool-play format to determine who plays in the championship. After playing the Aggies on Wednesday, the Tigers have a bye on Thursday and play Texas Tech at 3 p.m. Friday and Oklahoma at 4 p.m. Saturday. If Missouri wins its pool, it would then play for the Big 12 title at 1 p.m. Sunday.
Outfielder Greg Folgia and Gibson were named to the All-Big 12 team Tuesday. Catcher Trevor Coleman, third baseman Kyle Mach and outfielder Aaron Senne were given an honorable mentions.