Missouri baseball team completes sweep of Kansas State

Sunday, April 22, 2012 | 5:23 p.m. CDT; updated 10:05 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 25, 2012
The Missouri baseball team completed a three-game weekend series sweep against Kansas State with a 7-0 victory Sunday. It was the first time the Tigers shut out a Big 12 Conference opponent all season and was the first time the they swept a conference opponent since 2010.
Game notes

  • Sunday marked the first time Missouri shut out a Big 12 opponent all year.
  • Missouri's sweep of Kansas State is its first conference sweep since 2010, when it swept Nebraska. 
  • Brannon Champagne extended his on-base streak to 30 games. 

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COLUMBIA — For the first time since early March, the Missouri baseball team has a definite No. 3 starting pitcher.

Since an injury to Eric Anderson's throwing arm on March 9, the Tigers have shuffled their Sunday starts between several pitchers, none of whom have proven to be a long-term solution.

On Sunday, freshman Brett Graves made his case in his third Big 12 Conference start by holding Kansas State scoreless over 6 2/3 innings. Behind his performance, the Tigers completed a three-game sweep of the Wildcats with a 7-0 win. 

"It was something we were looking for all year," Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said of Graves' performance. "Going into next weekend, for the first time in a while, I think I know what the rotation is."

The win moves Graves' record to 3-4, a noticable improvment after a rocky start to the year. Graves had his first good start of the season with a six-inning, three-run effort against Illinois at Busch Stadium. He also started last Sunday's game at Oklahoma.

Graves induced fly balls for 12 of the 19 outs he made. Rather than pitching for strikeouts, he said, he was looking to induce contact.

"When I go out there I’m not trying to strike guys out," Graves said. "I’m not trying to throw the ball really hard. I’ve fallen subject to that a lot this year. That’s one of the big things I’ve been working on."

With the win, the Tigers moved to 6-9 in conference play and separated themselves from Kansas State, which they had shared last place with before the weekend started. Next weekend, the Tigers will travel to Lubbock to play Texas Tech — a team that is currently 3-12 in conference games — and try to gain more ground on the league leaders.

"What I think they recognize is the fact that there's still a lot of baseball to be played, and you can't get it all back in one game or one weekend," Jamieson said. 

Missouri outfielder Dane Opel, who hit his seventh home run of the season on Sunday, said the team has a renewed sense of urgency after being swept in consecutive weekends by Baylor and Oklahoma.

"That was what we talked about all weekend," Opel said. "We weren’t just going to win two. We’re in the part of the season where we need to start winning three and not be happy with two."

Missouri will play Wednesday at Missouri State before continuing Big 12 play against Texas Tech.

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