The success of the Missouri baseball team this season is no surprise. It is how they are winning that few outside the team expected.
After returning seven position starters, including All-Big 12 Conference Second Team catcher Brad Flanders and All-Big 12 honorable mentions Cody Ehlers and Ryan Rallo, the offense seemed poised to carry the team. It has been the pitching, though, that has frustrated opponents.
“The guys had a little chip on our shoulder because we weren’t expected to be doing this well and we were supposed to be trying to keep in games,” right-hander Danny Hill said. “Instead we’ve been putting people away pretty well.”
TheTigers begin their conference season at 6:30 tonight against Kansas State.
The Missouri pitching staff has a combined ERA of 2.85 that has led the Tigers to a 19-4-1 record.
Tiger pitchers have struck out 209 batters and have held opponents to a .228 batting average.
“(The pitchers) are rolling right now and we need for them to keep winning,” Coach Tim Jamieson said.
Junior right-hander Garrett Broshius leads the Tigers in victories, with six wins in five starts. Broshius is second on the team with 35 strikeouts and has a 2.18 ERA.
He said he is not surprised the pitching staff has been dominant.
“It has probably surprised some people, but within the pitching staff we knew we had this potential,” Broshius said.
Erik Dessau, a junior transfer from Forest Park Community College, has been a solid addition for Missouri. Dessau is 5-1 in six starts and leads the weekend starting staff, which also includes Hill and Broshius, with a 1.53 ERA.
“In the Fall World Series we pitched really well; I mean all year we’ve been pitching really well and consistent,” Dessau said. “Everybody else thought the pitching would be a problem, but we always thought we would have a pretty good staff going into the season.”
Although Hill has had decisions in three of his six starts for a 2-1 record, he leads the team with 42 strikeouts, including 11 against Chicago State on Feb. 19. Hill also leads Missouri with 37.1 innings pitched, ahead of Broshius at 37.
“It’s kind of our approach to go out there and make them beat us,” Hill said. “If we give them walks and hit guys then we’re helping them out.”
Missouri has given up 48 walks, compared to 149 walks allowed by Tigers opponents. Jamieson said he is impressed that the staff has displayed so much control.
“If you’re under two walks a game, teams like that go to (the College World Series),” Jamieson said.
Missouri pitchers said they expect difficulties in their series against Kansas State this weekend.
“We’re just going to try to carry it over,” Broshius said. “(This weekend) will be our first big test.”