FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –- Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said his team can contend in this weekend’s postseason baseball regional for several reasons.
First, the Tigers were in the postseason last season, meaning they won’t be thrilled just to be here.
Second, the Tigers are on a hot streak and scored at least nine runs in all four Big 12 Conference Tournament games last week.
The Tigers’ greatest chance of success, though, seems to rest on one of the most consistent facets of the team this season: pitching.
“Last year, we had one legitimate starter in Justin James,” he said. “This year, we have two.”
Righties Danny Hill and Garrett Broshuis, who are penciled in to start today and Saturday in the NCAA Regional against Wichita State and either Le Moyne or Arkansas on Saturday, are those legitimate starters. The regional is double-elimination.
Hill is 5-4 with a 4.52 ERA in 18 appearances, and Jamieson said it helps that Hill has experience pitching Friday games of weekend series. Jamieson also said, “It helps he’s a senior, and he’s pitched in a regional before.”
Hill will face Mike Pelfrey, who is 10-2 with a 2.36 ERA.
Broshuis is 10-0 with a 2.57 ERA and has batters hitting .228 against him this season. He isn’t pitching the opening game because his past two games, both in last week’s Big 12 Tournament in Arlington, Texas, were pitched without the benefit of a full break between starts.
“I pitched on short rest last Wednesday, and I was on three days’ rest when I pitched Sunday, so I had back-to-back games without full rest,” he said. “The day off will be good for me.”
Broshuis pitched the Tigers to a 9-2 lead in the eighth inning of the conference tournament championship game against Oklahoma State before the Tigers’ bullpen lost the lead. The Cowboys won 10-9 in 13 innings.
Going into the title game, the Tigers (37-21-1) were on a hot streak that they hope will continue into this weekend’s tournament. They have won 10 of 13, but Jamieson isn’t ready to compare his team’s recent successes with his opponents’.
“Relative to the Big 12, we were one of the hottest teams in one of the best conferences in baseball,” he said. “We like how we’re playing right now.”
Earlier in the season, Jamieson didn’t like how the Tigers were playing. He said the low point for the Tigers came after being swept at Oklahoma on April 11.
“We were 4-10 in our conference and staring at Nebraska, Texas and Texas Tech three weekends in a row,’’ Jamieson said. “We were wondering if … we had a chance to make our conference tournament.”
The Tigers responded by winning those three series, including taking the first two games from then-No. 1 Texas. Hill and Broshuis beat the Longhorns.
“We’re definitely playing more confident these days,” Broshuis said. “I think last season, we were just kind of happy to be here. This season, that’s out of our system and we expect to win a few.”
No matter the outcome of the regional, there are worse things Jamieson could do this weekend.
“It beats the heck out of doing exit interviews this time of year,” he said.