VIDEO: Longhorns use long ball to best Thomas and Tigers

The Texas Longhorns defeated the Mizzou softball team Saturday at University Field by a score of 2-0. Chelsea Thomas gave up two solo home runs, while Texas pitcher Blaire Luna allowed just two hits en route to a shutout. These two teams will square off again Sunday.

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Mizzou football post-spring depth chart lists Franklin as starting QB

Sophomore quarterback James Franklin scrambles into the open field during the Black and Gold spring game. (Photo by Nick Gerhardt)

The Missouri quarterback battle is drawing interest it hasn’t in years, as the position has formerly been locked up heading into the season. But in 2011, fans aren’t sure if it will be James Franklin or Tyler Gabbert under center for the Tigers come the season opener against Miami (Ohio).

Well, Gary Pinkel and the Mizzou coaching staff have provided one clue towards a decision, and that’s the placement of Franklin at the top of the post-spring practice depth chart released Friday. Franklin edged out Gabbert for the top spot, with Ashton Glaser holding down third place in the quarterback position battle.

Franklin, unlike Gabbert, does have some game experience, however minimal it may be. He appeared in 10 games, completing 11 of 14 passes, and he rushed for 122 yards on 23 attempts. It’s the running ability that would separate his game from that of Gabbert, as well as prior Mizzou QBs, Blaine Gabbert and Chase Daniel.

This depth chart is not the final say on who will start in the season opener, as there are many summer practices before that game on September 3.

The remainder of the depth chart offered few surprises, especially on offense, where quarterback was the only position, besides center, that didn’t feature a 2010 starter in the top spot. Both Blaine Gabbert and center Tim Barnes departed for the NFL Draft, but the remainder of the 2010 offense is intact, including the wide receiver corps of Jerrell Jackson, TJ Moe and Wes Kemp. Tight end Michael Egnew, plus four offensive linemen — Elvis Fisher, Jayson Palmgren, Austin Wuebbels and Dan Hoch — are listed at the top of their respective positions. Junior Travis Ruth is listed as the starting center.

Signs point to another season of running back by committee for the Tigers, as Kendial Lawrence and De’Vion Moore are listed as “EVEN” for the starting tailback job. Sophomores Henry Josey and Marcus Murphy, who both saw plenty of carries last season, follow Lawrence and Moore on the depth chart.

On defense, there are a couple more holes to fill, as defensive end Aldon Smith, linebacker Andrew Gachkar, safety Jarrell Harrison and cornerbacks Kevin Rutland and Carl Gettis all will not return in 2011. Read more of this post

VIDEO: Chelsea Thomas strikeout reel

Mizzou softball pitcher Chelsea Thomas struck out 17 Oklahoma Sooner batters on Sunday en route to a 1-0 Tiger victory in extra innings. Here’s a look at Thomas’ spectacular outing.

HIGHLIGHTS: Mizzou softball defeats Texas A&M, 6-3

The Tigers used a pair of three-run innings to get by the Aggies on Saturday. Chelsea Thomas picked up the win for the Tigers.

Mizzou baseball falls to Jayhawks in Kansas City, 7-1

First-base coach Dan Pietroburgo looks on as Mizzou falls behind 7-1 in the third inning against Kansas on Wednesday, April 6, 2011, at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

Missouri sophomore outfielder Blake Brown led off Wednesday night’s game with a single through the left side of the infield.

That would be the Tigers first and last hit of the game.

Mizzou scored in the top of the first inning, but that would not be indicative of how the Tiger offense would perform throughout the night in a game against rival Kansas on a big stage at Kauffman Stadium.

Kansas starter Thomas Taylor threw a gem against the Tigers on Wednesday night, going six innings and striking out a career-high nine batters. He allowed just one hit and one run en route to another dazzling outing at Kauffman. Wednesday was the second start of Taylor’s career at “The K.” In those two starts, he amassed 17 strikeouts while allowing just three hits and a run in 11.2 innings.

Taylor was untouchable against the Tigers on Wednesday.

But, it was hardly a one-man show, as while Taylor was mowing through the Mizzou lineup, the Jayhawk offense was hanging crooked numbers on Tiger pitching. They scored in each of the first three innings, including a pair of three-run innings in the second and third.

Freshman pitcher Myles Smith made his first career start for the Tigers, but he was quickly chased from the game in the second inning. He allowed four runs on the day, including a pair of KU tallies after he exited the game.

Smith’s successor, junior Jeff Emens, didn’t fare well either. He was touched up for five hits and three runs in just two-thirds of an inning. Mizzou couldn’t settle down the Kansas lineup until junior Dusty Ross entered in the game in the third inning. He’d throw three strong innings and put a stop to the Kansas scoring. The Jayhawks wouldn’t score again for the rest of the night.

Missouri’s offense remained stymied even after Taylor bowed out. A pair of Jayhawk relievers shut down the Tigers over the final three frames, and combined for four strikeouts with neither allowing a hit.

With the loss, Mizzou’s record dropped to 13-16 on the season. The Tigers result was the same as their Missouri counterparts earlier, as the Kansas City Royals fell in extra innings to the Chicago White Sox 10-7. Mizzou will start a three-game series against Oklahoma State in Oklahoma on Friday.

A brief history lesson on Frank Haith

Many Mizzou basketball fans had to rush to their search engines Sunday night, when Internet chatter turned into genuine buzz about the possibility that Miami Hurricanes head coach Frank Haith would take over the same role at Missouri. Those initial reports have all since been confirmed, and only a few steps remain before Haith is officially named the Tigers new coach. But, fans still are unfamiliar with the man who is set to replace Mike Anderson.

Haith has spent the last seven seasons as the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Miami. While with the Hurricanes, Haith went 129-101 with one NCAA Tournament appearance and four trips to the NIT. His record in the ACC, a fairly prestigious basketball conference, was 43-69. His tenure at Miami was highlighted by the 2007-08 season, when the Hurricanes finished with an 8-8 ACC conference record and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, defeating St. Mary’s in the first round.

Before joining the Hurricanes basketball program, Haith served as an assistant coach for a long time on many different benches. He began his career as an assistant coach in 1988 at Elon University, his alma mater. After that he held assistant coaching positions at Wake Forest, UNC-Wilmington, Penn State and a pair of Big 12 schools – Texas A&M and Texas. At Texas, he held the title of Assistant Head Coach.

Most notably, while at Texas, Assistant Head Coach Haith recruited a pair of collegiate stars in LaMarcus Aldridge and Daniel Gibson. They played two seasons each for Texas, with their second and final year featuring a share of the Big 12 Championships and a Longhorns appearance in the Elite Eight. Both players are now NBA players, Aldridge with the Portland Trailblazers and Gibson with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While winning has been a challenge in a conference dominated by legendary programs like Duke and North Carolina, Haith was able to land solid recruits while at Miami. In his first recruiting season at Miami, Haith recruited a pair of four-star players (rankings via Rivals.com). Two more four-star athletes came next year, and in 2008 Haith landed his first five-star recruit, a player from Georgia by the name of Dequan Jones. Two more four-star hoopsters came to the Canes over the remainder of Haith’s career there, and he had two four-stars locked up for the 2012 recruiting season, as well.

Aside from being able to land top high schoolers, Haith has proven he can recruit from all over the country. Even in a high school athletics hotbed like Florida, Haith has continuously looked outside the borders of the state to find top-notch talent. He has recruited players from all over the South, as well as “far-off” places such as Connecticut, California and Ohio.

Haith may not have had a high win total or a dazzling record while leading the Hurricanes, but consider that Miami is no basketball powerhouse. The Hurricanes basketball program wasn’t even a member of Division I until 1985, and they weren’t a member of a conference until 1991. Haith’s appearance in the 2008 NCAA Tournament was the team’s fifth all-time.

Folks were quick to disapprove of the future face of Missouri basketball on Sunday night. Hopefully, after this brief history lesson, Mizzou fans can make a more educated assessment of Frank Haith.

Mizzou Hoops Season In Review: Part I – The Mike Anderson Situation

Mike Anderson has been rumored to be in the running for the vacant head coaching job at Arkansas. (Photo by Karen Mitchell)

KBIA Sports Extra held a group chat Monday to review what happened this season in Missouri Tigers men’s basketball. The first post in this series deals with the rumors circulating regarding the future of head coach Mike Anderson. Will he go to Arkansas? Will he remain at Missouri? The guys discussed the rumors and broke down the situation.

Darren Hellwege: I talked some guys in Fayetteville this weekend, and I talked quite a bit with (KOMU’s Chris) Gervino about this last night. I really don’t think right now Mike is their number-one target. Buzz Williams at Marquette is going to really be a hot commodity, and I think that he is perfect for Arkansas. The only problem is he’s also perfect for Oklahoma. He’s a guy from Dallas, he recruits very well in Texas. He’s got three or four kids from Texas up to Milwaukee to play for Marquette. That’ll tell you how well this guy can recruit in Texas. I think that’s probably their number-one shot, and I think Turgeon from Texas A&M is a possible target. I think Arkansas likes the idea of Turgeon. Arkansas has a lot of money, they’ve got good facilities, that’s a program that should be doing more than it does. They have made mistakes in the past with this hire a couple of times with sort of this attitude – and I’ve watched it forever because Oklahoma State has done this for as long as I can remember. They like bringing in people from the family. And they’re looking now from trying to get away from that.

And because of that and because they’ve got this connotation with Mike Anderson of “yes, it was a time when they won a national championship,” but there’s also still some negative vibes about the way things ended with Nolan (Richardson). I know there are some people – how many, you can never tell – but there are definitely some people within this fan base that aren’t loving the idea of bringing a Nolan Richardson assistant back. So, I’m not sure Mike is as hot in Arkansas as the people here (in Columbia) want to think. And even if he did get to that point, I’m not sure how excited Mike would be about the idea of leaving.

If for no other reason than what that does to Paul Pressey. I mean, that’s his best friend basically. And, bringing in his two sons to play basketball for this dear friend at Mizzou, and then a year later he packs up and splits for more money. I really think that’s going to be a hard thing for Mike. Seven seniors on this team, I think this is the year he’s been building to be really great in, 2011-12, and I have a hard time seeing him just getting up and leaving.

JJ Stankevitz: I think the point on the Pressey brothers (is valid). I hear a lot of people saying, “well they can just transfer.” But I think, “they have to take a year off of basketball.” For Matt Pressey it may not be as big of a deal. He doesn’t have the kind of pro aspirations as maybe Phil (Pressey) does, even though Phil is undersized. But, I mean, taking a year off for Phil Pressey? I’m not sure that’s good for him developmentally. And, he would have to do that if Anderson left and he wanted to follow him to Arkansas. I think the whole Pressey connection, and then having seven seniors. Mike Anderson does not seem like the cold-blooded guy to leave seven guys who he’s been with – to bring up one of his favorite sayings – who he’s “been through the wars” with through the last three years. He doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who would pack up and leave for $500,000 more a year. Read more of this post

HIGHLIGHTS: Mizzou softball tops Minnesota 2-0

Video by Vinnie Duber, KBIA Sports Extra

Story by Darren Hellwege, KBIA Sports Director

Most of the 2011 Wilson Classic softball tournament games for the Missouri Tigers softball team were comfortable wins. After the opening day battle with North Dakota State ended in a 4-3 win, the Tigers got three straight “mercy rule” wins. That would not be the case in the finale Sunday, as the Tigers ran into one of the nation’s better freshman pitchers, Sara Moulton of Minnesota, and for five and a half innings Moulton and Tiger ace Chelsea Thomas spun a great pitchers duel.

But it only takes one mistake to ruin a great pitching performance, and for Moulton that mistake was coming inside to Ashley Fleming. With the wind blowing strong out to right field, a left-handed pull hitter became an especially scary thing. A left-handed pull hitter hitter like, say…Ashley Fleming. Moulton used good sense and kept the ball away from Fleming all day, but in her final at-bat she came inside, and Fleming smashed it over the right field fence, fair by inches, and gave the Tigers all the offense they’d need as Thomas shut down the Gophers the rest of the way and gave Mizzou the win, 2-0.

“I was just waiting for an inside pitch,” Fleming, a junior from Silex, Mo., said. “Then, I just kept saying ‘Please stay fair, please stay fair.’” The ball stayed inside the pole by inches before bounding onto the practice green at A.L. Gustin Golf Course. And while the homer, Fleming’s fourth of the season, came late in the game, Thomas never doubted the winning hit would come from one of her teammates.

“I always knew the bats would come through. I was jumping up and down when she hit it, but I wasn’t surprised. At times like that, the big players come through.”

Read more of this post

How did Big 12 teams do in NCAA Tournament’s second round?

Friday marked the second day of the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. By now, most Missouri fans know all too well that the Tigers’ season ended Thursday night with a 78-63 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats. But, how did the Big 12 Conference’s other teams fare in their first games of this year’s tournament?

Kansas State, who was forced to play with an under-the-weather Jacob Pullen, earned a 73-68 victory over Utah State in their second-round game in the Southeast Region. Pullen led the way for the Wildcats with 22 points scored. While K-State led comfortably most of the way, the Aggies of Utah State made it closer in the end. Utah State shot at higher percentages than the Wildcats both from the field and from beyond the three-point line, however, K-State went to the free throw line 28 times, only missing four attempts. They’ll face the Wisconsin Badgers in the third round on Saturday.

The Texas Longhorns – the fourth-seed in the West Region – squared off against Oakland early Friday. The Golden Grizzlies of Oakland looked to follow in the footsteps of Morehead State, who won as a 13-seed on Thursday. Like the Kansas State Wildcats, Texas led comfortably throughout the game, but the Grizzlies chipped away and cut the deficit to just five with a minute left. The Longhorns went on to win 85-81. J’Covan Brown fueled the Horns off the bench, with 21 points, and freshman forward Tristan Thompson went for a double-double and seven blocks. Brown was a perfect 12-12 from the free throw line. Texas will meet up with Arizona in the third round.

The team that knocked the Missouri Tigers out of the Big 12 Tournament, Texas A&M, had a tough 7-10 matchup against the ACC’s Florida State Seminoles on Friday. A&M led by one with 14 minutes remaining, but the Seminoles scored a basket to go up 32-31 and didn’t trail for the rest of the game. FSU outscored the Aggies 34-24 in the second half, playing great defense. A&M shot just 31 percent from the field, with three players accounting for 37 of their 50 points. The Seminoles won the game by a score of 57-50 and will face Notre Dame in the third round.

Kansas entered their game Friday evening as the No. 1 seed in the Southwest Region and the widely-regarded second-best team in the country. The Big 12 champions played the Terriers of Boston University, and looked like the Jayhawks may have had another Bucknell on their hands, entering the break at halftime up just four points. But, four KU starters scored in double figures, led by the 16 points of Marcus Morris, and the Jayhawks cruised to a big win, 72-53.

Three of the five Big 12 teams that made the tournament advanced to the third round. This year’s tournament has already provided many thrills, and it will most certainly be entertaining as the games continue this weekend.

Mizzou softball wins all four games at DeMarini Invitational

When it comes to the state rivalry between Missouri and Illinois, the softball prowess in 2011 clearly lies on the western side of the Mississippi River.

The Mizzou Tigers softball team swept all four of their games in the DeMarini Invitational this weekend in Columbia, defeating Illinois State and Illinois twice each.

In their two games with the Illinois State, the Tigers outscored the Redbirds 19-0. Each game lasted just five innings.

Saturday, against Illinois, things were much tighter, as the Tigers were victorious by a narrow 4-3 margin. The Fighting Illini struck first on a two-run single from Meredith Hackett in the third inning. Mizzou quickly tied the game up in the next frame. After Ashley Fleming walked, Catherine Lee blasted a two-run home run over the wall in left field. The following inning, Jenna Marston knocked in a pair of runs with a double to right.

Check out highlights from Saturday’s win over Illinois.

The Tigers knocked off the Illini on Sunday, as well, in a much less dramatic fashion. Mizzou earned the victory by a score of 8-0. Lee had two RBI as a part of a three-run first inning for the Tigers.

Missouri pitching was on full display over the weekend, as well. Chelsea Thomas and Kristin Nottelmann teamed up to pick up two wins a piece. Thomas even earned a save in Saturday’s win against Illinois. Nottelmann’s second win of the weekend Sunday against Illinois State improved her record to 8-0, while Thomas’ win over Illinois Sunday was her sixth of the season.

The Tigers will face another team from the Land of Lincoln in their next outing when they take on Southern Illinois on Wednesday.