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April 19, 2014

Missouri baseball loses to Mississippi State 6-2 on Saturday

Photos by Erik Hall

Top center: Missouri starting pitcher John Miles delivers the first pitch against Mississippi  State on Saturday, April 19, 2014, at Taylor Stadium.  Mississippi State won 6-2. Miles was the losing pitcher. He threw 6 1/3 innings and allowed four runs on five hits.

Top left: Missouri baseball players enjoy their time in the dugout during the top of the third inning against Mississippi State on Saturday, April 19, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. Standing in back, from left, are Steven Diel, No. 18, Brett Graves and Case Munson. Standing in front, from left, are Zach Lavy, Alec Rash and Andrew Hohn, No. 52.

Top right: Missouri’s Brett Peel dives back to first base safely under the tag of Mississippi State first baseman Alex Detz, No. 3, during the third inning Saturday, April 19, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. Peel batted 1-for-5 with one RBI in the loss.

Middle: Missouri right fielder Logan Pearson dives to catch a fly ball in the top of the fourth inning against Mississippi State on Saturday, April 19, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. The fly ball was hit by Mississippi State’s Seth Heck.

Bottom left: Missouri catcher Dylan Kelly, No. 55, tags out Mississippi State’s Derrick Armstrong at home in the top of the fifth inning Saturday, April 19, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. Armstrong tried to score after a wild throw got past Missouri third baseman Ryan Howard, but Howard recovered the ball in time to throw out Armstrong at home.

Bottom right: Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kyle McClellan smiles between signing autographs at Taylor Stadium on Saturday, April 19, 2014. McClellan threw out the first pitch before Saturday’s game between Missouri and Mississippi State.

April 18, 2014

Missouri baseball loses 3-2 in 11 innings.

Photos by Erik Hall

Top left: Members of the Missouri baseball team huddle in left field before a game against Mississippi State on Friday, April 18, 2014, at Taylor Stadium.

Top right: Missouri senior Eric Anderson slides into third base as Mississippi State third baseman Matthew Britton attempts to apply the tag Friday, April 18, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. Anderson was called out on the play.

Center top: Third base umpire Todd Henderson calls out Missouri senior Eric Anderson, No. 44, at third base on a fielder’s choice and Anderson objects to the call Friday, April 18, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. Missouri sophomore Josh Lester bunted to try to move Anderson to third base.

Center second from top: Missouri starting pitcher Brett Graves delivers a pitch in the second inning of a game against Mississippi State on Friday, April 18, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. Graves pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on six hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Graves got a no decision.

Bottom left: Players in the Mississippi State dugout signal to Gavin Collins after he hit a two-run double in the fourth inning while Missouri catcher Dylan Kelly waits for play to resume Friday, April 18, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. Collins’ double put Mississippi State ahead 2-1 in the fourth inning.

Bottom right: Missouri senior Dillon Everett shows frustration after striking out swinging in the fourth inning while home plate umpire Jeff Head signals Everett is out and Misissippi State catcher Gavin Collins prepares to throw the ball back to the pitcher Friday, April 18, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. Everett was 0-for-3 with three strikeouts Friday.

April 16, 2014

Missouri diving coach Jamie Sweeney convinced me to jump from the 10-meter platform while I was at their practice today. Watch out David Boudia, I’m getting ready for Rio 2016.

April 6, 2014

Photos by Erik Hall, KBIA

Missouri baseball beat Georgia 4-2 on Sunday, April 6, 2014. Missouri starting pitcher Eric Anderson threw a complete game allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and a career-high 12 strikeouts. It was Anderson’s first complete game of his Missouri career. 

Anderson also batted 1-for-3 with two runs. Dylan Kelly, Ryan Howard, Jake Ivory and Jake Ring each also had one hit Sunday.

The Tigers improved to 14-16 overall, 4-8 in the Southeastern Conference.

Missouri wore special hats with a flag motif to honor “hometown heroes” this weekend.

Missouri freshman Jordan Getzelman is pictured wearing a cast because he underwent left wrist surgery March 25. Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said Getzelman’s recovery will take four to five months, so he will miss the rest of the 2014 season. 

April 5, 2014
Georgia baseball takes a 4-0 lead on Mizzou in the 4th inning

By Erik Hall

Georgia baseball scored four runs in the fourth inning. Missouri put two runners on base in the bottom half of the inning but left them stranded. 

A correction from what the Vine says. Georgia scored two runs on the Lester error to go up 4-0.

April 5, 2014
Food at the ballpark

By Erik Hall

People don’t come to Taylor Stadium for the hot dogs and hamburgers, but they’re a good option once you are there. 

April 5, 2014
Mizzou baseball prepares to play Georgia in Game 2

By Erik Hall

March 19, 2014

Not everyone at Missouri is happy about Michael Sam

By Erik Hall

I asked for emails sent and received by Missouri athletic director Mike Alden following Michael Sam’s announcement. The most revealing email was one sent by a Missouri journalism student.

He’s a broadcast journalism student from Kansas City and Catholic is all that can be told about his identity from the email. But whoever it is, he makes it clear that Michael Sam did not have the full support of the University of Missouri. 

The essence of his email to Alden is in the paragraph he says, “Mr. Alden, I cannot support your stance on the recent situation with Michael Sam. To contradict one of the founding principles of human nature is something I will never do, nor should anyone else.”

Alden’s response to the student’s email is succinct. Alden says, “Thank you for your letter (redacted name). I’m sorry it has taken me so long to respond. We appreciate your thoughts and your personal position. Best wishes. Mike Alden.”

The student sent the email Feb. 10, 2014, at 1:40 p.m. Alden responded to the email Feb. 12, 2014, at 1:15 p.m.

In Alden’s response, he CC’d the following people: Chad Moller, Cathy Scroggs, Struby Struble, Mary Jo Banken, Ann McGruder, Marv Austin, Douglas Giffin, Kevin Hayward, Timothy Hickman, Bryan Maggard, Sandy Matheny, and Sarah Reesman.

March 10, 2014

Photos by Erik Hall

Missouri baseball lost to Southern Mississippi 2-1 on March 9, 2014, at Taylor Stadium. 

Photos originally published by KBIA Sports Extra on March 9, 2014. 

March 9, 2014

(Photos by Erik Hall)

By Erik Hall

COLUMBIA — The Missouri baseball team clinched its first series win of the season Saturday.

Missouri beat Southern Mississippi 6-4 in the second game of the three-game series. Missouri won Friday’s series opener 4-1.

“Winning series, it’s awesome,” Missouri center fielder Jake Ring said. “It’s what’s expected. We expect noting less than to just win a series like this, ’cause we definitely have the talent.”

Ring batted 1-for-4 with a run and a stolen base Saturday. Ring stole home on a double steal in the eighth inning.

Missouri designated hitter Eric Anderson and first baseman Kendall Keeton both had multiple hits for the Tigers. Anderson went 2-for-5 with one run scored, and Keeton batted 2-for-4 with two runs.

Starting pitcher John Miles earned the win on the mound. The junior right-hander improved to 2-0 after throwing 5 1/3 innings allowing four runs, two earned runs and five hits with six strikeouts and one walk.

The Missouri offense aided Miles early with three first-inning runs and two more in the second. The runs gave Missouri an 5-0 lead.

“It just gives us confidence. That’s the biggest thing,” Miles said of the team’s early offense. “If you have confidence, you can win. That’s the bottom line. If you don’t have confidence, you’re never going to win. No matter how good you are if you never have confidence, you’re never going to win. If you’re horrible and you have confidence, you still got a chance to win.”

Keaton Steele earned the save Saturday — his fourth of the season. A.J. Glasshof took the loss for Southern Mississippi.

Missouri improves to 6-6 overall entering Sunday’s series finale at noon. Southern Mississippi is now 6-9 this year.

“Very seldom do you have an opportunity to sweep somebody,” Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. “You want to make sure you give it your greatest, best effort. We are at .500 now. We get over .500 if we win tomorrow. And that’s another thing you want to be able to do.

If we win tomorrow, it will be because we outplayed Southern Mississippi. If we lose tomorrow, it will be because we weren’t ready.”

Story originally published by KBIA Sports Extra on Saturday, March 8, 2014. 

March 8, 2014
Tigers win home opener in front of record crowd

By Erik Hall

COLUMBIA — Missouri right-hander Brett Graves made his first career Friday-night start in his team’s home opener against Southern Mississippi.

He earned the win with eight strikeouts allowing one run and five hits in eight innings.

Missouri second baseman Josh Lester helped the Tigers earn their first win of the season at Taylor Stadium.

Lester went 2-for-4 with the game’s first hit and first run. He added a seventh-inning RBI for insurance in the Tigers’ 4-1 victory.

It was the first time a crowd as large as Friday’s 1,028 attendees saw a Missouri home opener, since at least 1997.

“That’s the most people we’ve played in front of all year,” Missouri designated hitter Eric Anderson said. “I think the excitement level was up and our guys were ready. When you see people in the seats, your intensity is there and your focus is there. It’s a good feeling.”

Missouri used the energy of its home debut and scored two runs in the opening inning.

Lester batted second in the bottom of the first. His blooper single over the shortstop started a string of four consecutive Tigers to reach base. Lester scored on catcher Dylan Kelly’s single for Missouri’s first run, and first baseman Kendall Keeton came home when third baseman Zach Lavy put the ball in play.

Missouri claimed a 2-0 lead early in the year’s first 60-degree day in Columbia.

“Sometimes if we don’t score early, we kind of try a little too hard to score. But scoring two runs in the first inning kind of kept us relaxed,” said Lester, a sophomore. “We knew Brett was going to go out there and throw well.”

Graves allowed no hits the first inning, but he struggled some to start the second inning. He allowed one run on two hits, which cut Missouri’s lead to 2-1.

But a popout to Lester ended the second inning with two men on base.

Lester catching the popup was the first of eight consecutive batters Graves retired. Graves retired 13 of the 15 batters he faced from the final out of the second inning through end of the sixth inning.

“I was using my curveball pretty effectively,” Graves said. “The fastball felt pretty good once we got to the later innings. I didn’t feel like the control was as good in the early innings as it was the later innings.”

He struck out six batters in that stretch of 13 outs, and the defense took care of the rest.

“If I do fall behind a hitter, I know I can just throw the ball in there and let them hit. I don’t have to worry too much,” Graves said of Missouri’s defense Friday. “So the defense plays great, it helps that confidence.”

Missouri freshman Ryan Howard was a Taylor Stadium rookie entering Friday’s game. He committed the Tigers’ only error Friday, which came in the top of the first inning.

“I talked to him right after. I told him to just kind of relax,” Graves said. “All of us have been there before and knows what that feels like to have to come out here to play your first game, especially as a freshman on Friday night. I just told him, ‘You’re there for a reason. You’re a stud. You’ll make the next one. I know you will.’”

That “next one” came in the fifth inning. He fielded back-to-back grounders to end the Bulldogs’ at-bat. Howard then turned a double play to end the seventh inning.

Missouri’s offense followed double play that ended the top of the seventh with a two-run bottom of the inning.

Center fielder Jake Ring walked then Anderson and Lester hit back-to-back doubles. Missouri’s lead grew to 4-1.

“It was fun,” Lester said of the seventh inning. “It is fun to play. It’s fun when you’re scoring runs, and winning ballgames is always fun.”

Graves earned the win and is now 2-1. Keaton Steele faced five batters in the ninth to earn the save. The loss went to Southern Mississippi right-hander Conor Fisk, who threw 6 2/3 inning and allowed four earned runs and five hits while striking out eight.

Missouri’s win improves the Tigers to 5-6 overall while Southern Mississippi fell to 6-8. The teams are scheduled to play a 2 p.m. game Saturday and a game at noon Sunday.

The Tigers will try to make the encore as good as opening night.

Story originally published by KBIA Sports Extra on Friday, March 7, 2014. 

February 23, 2014

How competitive is Greg DeStephen? Hear his former Missouri teammate Dante Jones give a couple examples in an interview with Erik Hall.  (1:13)

This weekend, The Associated Press picked up the story on Missouri diver Greg DeStephen. I thought I would add some audio anecdotes here that I was not able to use in the original Missourian story. My favorite anecdote that I did not use was about a cupcake fight Greg had with his roommate Keely Brooks, but Dante’s comments seem more pertinent.

Here are the links I was able to find online to publications that picked up the DeStephen story. They are:

The Kansas City Star

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Miami Herald

The Washington Times

The Jefferson City (Mo.) NewsTribune

February 21, 2014
Photo by Erik Hall
Missouri’s baseball coaches experimented with moving Dillon Everett, shown at Taylor Stadium in Columbia, Mo., on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, from the infield to the outfield this season. But an injury to second baseman Brett Peel caused Everett to return to the infield before the end of the season’s second game.

Photo by Erik Hall

Missouri’s baseball coaches experimented with moving Dillon Everett, shown at Taylor Stadium in Columbia, Mo., on Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, from the infield to the outfield this season. But an injury to second baseman Brett Peel caused Everett to return to the infield before the end of the season’s second game.

February 21, 2014

By Erik Hall

Dillon Everett started 112 games as an infielder for the Missouri baseball team entering his senior year. This year, Missouri coach Tim Jamieson asked Everett to try something new — move to the outfield.  KBIA’s Erik Hall tells us how Everett handled the transition during Missouri’s opening weekend. Length: 2:11.

February 15, 2014
In the middle of the Sam storm

By Erik Hall

Michael Sam’s announcement Sunday that he is gay has been a huge story this week. It’s definitely the biggest story I have ever covered with Deron Williams breaking his jaw a distance second. 

I was interviewed by four media outlets Monday. One of them was a live interview with Sports Talk 1080 in Orlando. Click here to hear that interview.

There were three stories that mentioned me in their coverage of Sam. There was Greg Bowers’ column in the Missourian

Teddy Mitrosilis of Fox Sports did an interview with Bowers for Tuesday, Feb. 11, that mentioned me. Yahoo’s Pat Forde did a column for Friday, Feb. 14, that looked at several media angles of the Sam story, and it included several references to me. 

Joan Niesen of Sports Illustrated had a story Monday that talks about the Missourian having an interview with Sam. 

The Sam coverage was nice, but my favorite story of the week was my story on Missouri All-American diver Greg DeStephen. He was Missouri’s first openly gay athlete, and the only one to come out while an active athlete.

Both and linked to the story. The OutSports reference gave me quite a bit of praise for the story. The excerpts Queerty chose focus on DeStephen’s struggles, but the website also raided DeStephen’s Facebook for photos to objectify him.

Greg DeStephen prepares for a dive at the Big 12 Swimming and Diving Championships at the Mizzou Aquatic Center on Feb. 25, 2009. (Photo by Phil Franzone)