Missouri baseball coach Tim Jamieson has met an entire roster of new players this week since beginning his stint as manager of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. In fact, the only familiar face in the locker room is that of Eric Anderson, a Missouri pitcher who was selected as an alternate for the national team.
Jamieson served as an assistant coach for the Collegiate National Team in 2005, which featured two Missouri players, Max Scherzer and Hunter Mense. Jamieson said being joined by a member of his Missouri squad makes the experience more special.
The USA Baseball Collegiate National Team won its first game of the summer Friday.
Team USA starter Brady Rodgers (Arizona State) allowed just three hits in six innings without walking a batter, and shortstop Devan Marrero (Arizona State) went 3-for-4 with three runs driven in.
“It just adds to the experience,” Jamieson said. “You’re sharing it with someone that you’re close to and you kind of see it through their eyes and are able to enjoy it that much more.”
There’s no guarantee, however, that Anderson stays with the team for more than one start. With more permanent selections joining the national team after the College World Series, there will be only a few spots for Anderson and the other alternates to remain with the team for the duration of the summer.
“It’s really going to come down to how well he pitches relative to the other guys that are here,” Jamieson said. “There’s only a couple spots left, and I think we have four or five pitchers here as alternates. So he’s got a chance to make the roster, but he has to outperform the other guys that are here.”
Anderson’s audition was to take place Saturday night when the Collegiate National Team was scheduled to play the Holyoke Sox of the New England Collegiate Baseball League in an exhibition game. The game was rained out, however.
Before the game, Anderson said he planned to treat it like any other start, despite what may be at stake.
“I think the biggest thing is just to be myself and just doing what I’ve done in the past that has got me to this point,” he said. “So if I just do what I do best, throwing a lot of strikes and attacking hitters earlier in the count, I think that’s the biggest thing. Let them get themselves out.”
Since the members of the team came together Wednesday in Keene, N.H., Anderson said he has enjoyed getting to know his teammates and has taken the opportunity to learn from some of the best players in the country.
“I’ve been playing catch with Kevin Gausman (of LSU) and he’s a real hard thrower,” Anderson said. “I’ve been asking him questions here and there about what he focuses on to get a little extra velocity and stuff. I think I’ve picked up a couple things from him that I’ve put some thought into. Just stuff like that is the coolest part about this whole thing.”
Knowing that he might not be with the team for the whole summer, Anderson said he has will make an effort to make the most of each experience he has with the national team.
“My personal goal is to make the permanent squad and on top of that just have fun with it,” Anderson said. “It’s a good opportunity to represent the country even if it is only one start. Even if it doesn’t last long, I want to have fun and make it a good experience.”