Missouri's two new pitchers debut during first season game

Tuesday, February 22, 2011 | 8:28 p.m. CST; updated 9:21 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Missouri junior Dusty Ross, No. 17, warms up his arm during practice on Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011 at Taylor Stadium. MU baseball's home season will begin on March 4, 2011.

COLUMBIA – The start of Missouri’s baseball season this past weekend saw the debut of two new pitchers. While Tigers coach Tim Jamieson wasn’t thrilled with their performances, he said both junior Matt Stites, a transfer from Jefferson College, and freshman Rob Zastryzny had good outings for their first starts at Mizzou.

“Rob (Zastryzny) really performed well for a freshman,” Jamieson said. “Stites needs to have better command. He showed good stuff at times, but he needs to have better command.”

Command is something Stites said he has been working on this week. Stites gave up six hits and four runs in five innings to Cal-Poly on Friday at the USC tournament in Los Angeles and said he left too many balls high in the strike zone that led to hits. Stites also said adjusting to the Cal-Poly players took some time.

“They were a really aggressive team, probably the most aggressive team I’ve ever faced,” Stites said. “That was a new adjustment for me, but I think I adjusted pretty well in the later innings.”

After being down 9-4, Missouri rallied to beat Cal-Poly in a six-inning game that saw two rain delays and was called early because of weather. Dusty Ross, who transferred from Vernon College in Texas and is another newcomer to the pitching staff this year, picked up the win in that game, getting the last two outs and giving up three hits and one unearned run.

“It’s pretty nice (to get a win),” Ross said. “I don’t know if I’m too deserving of it, but I’ll definitely take it.”

After the Cal-Poly win, Missouri went on to lose its next two games, falling to Southern California 9-3 Saturday and North Carolina 11-3 Sunday. Jamieson said it was good for the team to finally be playing games again, but he was disappointed with the results.

“I was hoping for a better performance than what we had last weekend,” Jamieson said. “But we found a way to win one out of three games, and we did come back in every game, so we showed some character. But we gotta perform better and we gotta play better.”

Jamieson said the team looked good offensively, but the pitching — especially the relief pitching — was a letdown.

“We gotta be better on the mound,” Jamieson said. “I think we will be. I think we just had a bad weekend on the mound."

Missouri’s pitchers will have a chance to redeem themselves this weekend, when the team heads to Charlotte, N.C., for a four-game series with Charlotte. Just as last weekend, Stites, Zastryzny and senior Zack Hardoin will get the starts. Jamieson said he still hasn’t decided who will start the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader.

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