COLUMBIA — After snow and rain forced Missouri baseball coach Tim Jamieson to cancel four of his team's scheduled 15 nonconference games, he added a game against Division II Truman State to his team's schedule, just two days before its Southeastern Conference opener against divisional powerhouse No. 5 South Carolina.
"We’re still trying to figure out who we are, and that’s why you try to play as many games before conference as you can," Jamieson said. "We’ve only played 12 games, and that’s not enough."
Jamieson said he tried to convince another Division I program to come to Columbia for a mid-week game, but that he had little success.
“We just wanted to play and, unfortunately, there’s not very many Division I teams in the area that want to play, and they don’t want to come here to play," Jamieson said. "So we’ll take whatever opponent that wanted to come, and we’re just appreciative that they’re willing to come down and play.”
The Tigers pummeled the Bulldogs 14-4 on Wednesday with only four starters playing the entire game. The results of the game won't factor into Missouri's RPI because of the Division II opponent, but it offered Jamieson a chance to make some final assessments and adjustments, as well as some last-minute at-bats for his players.
"You could overlook it and just be like ‘oh, we have the big opponent this weekend,’ but I think yesterday and today, what that did, was just dial us in," senior outfielder Scott Sommerfeld said. "We’re not just staying inside and getting reps off the tee, we’re actually facing an opponent."
The game Wednesday also allowed several players who had previously been out of the lineup to get acclimated to being on the field with this year's team.
Dillon Everett played in only his third game of the season Wednesday as the starting shortstop. Everett, who started 60 of 61 games at second base for Missouri in 2012, broke the hamate bone in his right hand during his first at-bat of the season.
Junior college transfer Shane Segovia was in the lineup at third base for only the third time this season after he pulled his hamstring during an intrasquad game before the season began.
"That was another reason we needed to play was to get those guys out there and ready for the weekend," Jamieson said. "They’re probably not a hundred percent, but at least they’ll be able to play."
Nine Tigers recorded hits Wednesday, which Jamieson and several of his players said will serve as a confidence booster going into the South Carolina series. Freshman infielder Josh Lester, who started at first base for the first time Wednesday, said making contact improves morale regardless of the opponent.
"I’ve always thought that a lot of hitting is confidence," Lester said. "See a couple balls go through, hit the ball on the barrel a few times, your confidence starts to build."
Confident or not, Jamieson acknowledged there will be jitters in the Missouri locker room before Friday's SEC opener.
"No matter what we did up until we have to play our first conference game in the SEC and the drama that comes with that, they’ll be nervous,” Jamieson said. "But I think they'll get over that pretty quickly."