Tigers lighten mood before crucial series

Missouri hopes to upset No. 12 Nebraska this weekend.
Friday, April 16, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 1:32 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Coach Tim Jamieson is willing to endure ridicule from his players if it will help the Missouri baseball team get back on track.

Jamieson took batting practice Tuesday at Taylor Stadium, attempting to lighten the mood of a team that needs encouragement after snapping a six-game losing streak Wednesday by beating Southwest Missouri State 5-4 in 10 innings.

“They’re pretty loose, they’re having fun and then when the game starts it’s the same way,” Jamieson said. “You try to still have fun, you try to come out here and be loose, but yet get stuff accomplished and believe that it’s going to turn around.”

After entering the Big 12 Conference season 19-4-1, the Tigers have lost eight of 11. Tonight the Tigers (22-12-1, 2-7 Big 12) start a three-game series at Taylor Stadium with Nebraska (25-7, 6-3), which is ranked in the top 20 in every major poll, including No. 12 in the ESPN poll.

“We feel confident that we can beat anybody in the league, but we can’t do it the way we’re playing,” Jamieson said.

Jamieson said he thinks the Tigers’ inconsistency at the plate is their biggest problem.

Missouri began the conference season March 24 hitting .301 but has since dropped to .289, leaving it seventh in batting in the Big 12.

“We’re kind of forcing mistakes by pressing a little bit too much up at the plate and in the field, and so we just need to be a little more relaxed,” senior outfielder Ryan Rallo said.

Although offense has been Missouri’s main problem, the pitching staff has struggled at times in the conference season, allowing ninth-inning comeback wins against Kansas State and Oklahoma.

Sunday against the Sooners, starter Garrett Broshuis (6-0) took a 3-1 lead into the ninth inning, but allowed two more runs before leaving the game with a no decision. The eight-inning effort was Broshuis’ longest of the season in his ninth start.

Jamieson held a team meeting Monday to try to get the Tigers focused for the difficult schedule they face in the next three weeks. After the Cornhuskers, Missouri plays Texas A&M and Texas on consecutive weekends. The Longhorns are No. 1 in all four polls and the Aggies are in the top 25 in three polls.

“We had aspirations of winning the league when the year started, and now that’s pretty unrealistic,” Jamieson said. “Our focus is to try to finish in the top half and make it to the conference tournament.”

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