Missouri continues Border Showdown with Kansas on the diamond
The No. 23 Jayhawks will come to Columbia for three-game weekend series.
May. 07, 2009
This year, the Tigers football team lost a heartbreaker to its archrival, the Kansas Jayhawks. The men's basketball team won a thriller against Kansas, then dropped a dud. On Friday, Missouri's baseball team gets a chance to take part in the rivalry when the Jayhawks come to Columbia for a weekend series.
"This is a huge series," senior shortstop Kyle Mach said. "I mean, it's KU. It's the series we've been waiting for all year."
Missouri and Kansas have already met on the diamond once this season, squaring off at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. In the non-conference game, the Jayhawks came away with a 7-3 win.
"It will be fun," junior centerfielder Greg Folgia said. "We're looking forward to it. It's a rivalry game and we have something to prove after we played them at Kauffman."
Immediately following that loss, Missouri went on a seven-game winning streak - its longest of the season. The Tigers swept two Big 12 series on the road at Texas Tech University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and added a victory against Eastern Illinois University in between. The streak has vaulted the Tigers into fourth place in the Big 12.
"We're feeling good," Mach said after Missouri State University handed the Tigers a loss Tuesday. "You can't win them all, but we were on a good streak and hopefully we can jump back on there on Friday."
Kansas will be stiff competition. They sit sixth in the Big 12 and are ranked No. 23 in the Baseball America poll.
But the Tigers are no strangers to tough opponents. They had a seven-week stretch in which they played seven ranked teams. Not coincidentally, six of those seven opponents were Big 12 teams and Missouri's recent string of strong play has put them in the thick of the conference standings.
"It doesn't make any difference if it's Kansas or Oklahoma State," coach Tim Jamieson said. "The bottom line is we're bunched together in the standings. We've still got a chance to win the league."
He said if the Tigers get one of the top two spots, they have a chance to host the next rung of competition.
"So there's a lot at stake this weekend, and we need to have our best performance," Jamieson said. "And then on top of that, it happens to be Kansas."
As the Tigers begin their final home stand of the season, they are keeping the past and future in mind.
"We want to keep getting further and keep winning," Folgia said. "We didn't do too much winning in the beginning, so we'll carry it over to the end of the season."
Jamieson is confident his team will be prepared for the weekend's big games.
"We're in a position to accomplish every one of our goals," he said. "And they'll come out with a great effort this weekend, and the team that plays best is going to win. We control our own destiny."