MO State HS Sports

Road Test Against No. 9 Vanderbilt Awaits Baseball in Nashville

Kerrick Jackson

NASHVILLE – University of Missouri baseball returns to Southeastern Conference play this weekend with a three-game road series against No. 9 Vanderbilt at Hawkins Field in Nashville. The Tigers and Commodores will open the series with a 6 p.m. (CDT) contest Thursday (March 28), before squaring off in single games Friday (6 p.m.) and Saturday (1 p.m.).

Mizzou (10-15, 1-5 SEC) continues to navigate a stout Southeastern Conference slate that could see the Tigers face off against 10 ranked league foes in as many weekends this spring. MU notched its first Southeastern Conference victory of the season last Saturday with a 2-1 victory over No. 21 Kentucky, marking the Tigers’ first victory over a ranked opponent this season.

Saturday’s contest will be broadcast live on the SEC Network, with Sam Ravech and Gregg Olson calling the action. Each of the first two games of the series will be streamed through SEC Network+ (Andrew Harris/Kevin Ingram). Additionally, each of this weekend’s games will be produced by the Tiger Radio Network for broadcast locally in Columbia via KTGR AM/FM (105.1 FM/100.5 FM/1580 AM) and streaming via the Varsity Network app (by searching ‘Missouri’), with Tex Little and Matt Michaels once again handling broadcast duties.


  • Game 1 (Thursday, March 28 – 6 p.m.) – RHP Carter Rustad (Mizzou) vs. Greysen Carter (Vanderbilt)
  • Game 2 (Friday, March 29 – 6 p.m.) – RHP Logan Lunceford (Mizzou) vs. RHP Bryce Cunningham (Vanderbilt)
  • Game 3 (Saturday, March 30 – 1 p.m.) – LHP Javyn Pimental (Mizzou) vs. LHP Carter Holton (Vanderbilt)


  • Missouri travels to No. 9 Vanderbilt for its second SEC road series of the 2024 season.
  • The Tigers and Commodores will meet for the 33rd time in Thursday’s series opener.
  • Vandy has won nine of the last 10 meetings in the series and 27 of 32 overall matchups with the Tigers.
  • Vandy brings a 10-2 home mark at Hawkins Field vs. Mizzou into Thursday’s series opener.
  • The Commodores won two of three from the Tigers last April in Columbia, with MU claiming a 5-4 win (April 7) in the middle game of the series to halt an eight-game skid vs. Vandy.
  • The Tigers have won just one series against the Commodores since joining the SEC, taking two of three games in Columbia in 2018.


  • Missouri posted a 30-24 regular-season finish last spring, including a 10-20 SEC mark.
  • Kerrick Jackson was named the 15th head coach in Mizzou history in June, returning to Columbia to lead a program for which he served as an assistant coach from 2011-15 under Mizzou Hall of Fame head coach (and current pitching coach) Tim Jamieson.
  • The Tigers return three regular starters from last season, led by senior INF/OF Trevor Austin, who batted .311 with eight homers and 10 steals to help bolster the MU offense.
  • Senior INF Matt Garcia turned in a solid debut season with the Tigers, providing clutch hitting and lock-down defense on the MU infield.
  • MU should also receive a lift from sophomore INF Jackson Lovich and junior OF Juju Stevens, who each made key contributions in limited duty in 2023.
  • Several newcomers could also make early contributions, including junior INF Danny Corona, who helped Wake Forest to a 2023 College World Series berth, C Jedier Hernandez, a standout behind the plate for Seton Hall the last two seasons, and sophomore OF Jeric Curtis, a Texas Tech transfer who brings significant speed to the Tiger outfield and batting order.
  • On the mound, sophomore RHP Logan Lunceford is back to help anchor Mizzou’s weekend rotation after posting 68 strikeouts to lead all SEC freshman hurlers last spring.
  • Junior LHP Javyn Pimental also contributed mightily to the Tigers’ mound efforts in 2023, making eight starts for the Tigers.
  • Mizzou should also benefit from the potential return of a pair of veterans who missed significant time last spring; left-hander Ian Lohse and RHP Carter Rustad missed significant portions of 2023 due to injury following promising starts to the campaign.
  • New arms like RHP Xavier Lovett and RHP Bryce Mayer could compete for starting rotation spots, while RHP Jacob Peaden may give the back end of the Tigers’ bullpen a strong presence.


  • 1B Jackson Lovich leads the Tigers with 20 RBIs and a .322 batting mark. The sophomore recorded a career-best 13-game hit streak, February 24-March 15.
  • During the course of his 13-game hit streak, Lovich batted .388 (19-for-49).
  • Lovich leads the SEC and ranks 12th nationally with three triples.
  • RHP Brock Lucas brings a streak of 9 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings (spanning three appearances) into the weekend.
  • Lucas worked a pair of 4.0-plus inning relief outings last week, including 4.1 hitless innings against Kansas last Tuesday.
  • Lovich has reached base safely via a hit or walk in 21 of his 23 games, including the Tigers’ first 18 contests.
  • LHP Daniel Wissler has allowed two runs of fewer in all three of his starts this season, including his most recent start March 12 at KU, allowing two earned runs and three hits over his 4.0 frames.
  • OF/INF Danny Corona turned in his best stretch as a Tiger last week, hitting .308 with a pair of RBIs in three total games vs. Kansas and Kentucky.
  • LHP Javyn Pimental has fanned at least five batters in four of his five outings to date, including a career-best nine punchouts vs. Purdue Fort Wayne (March 9).
  • Pimental has been lights-out in his last two starts, holding No. 1 Arkansas hitless through four frames as part of 5.0 shutout innings. He also notched his first win of the season against No. 21 Kentucky on Saturday, allowing just one run on four hits over 6.0 innings.
  • INF Justin Colon registered his first four-hit game as a Tiger vs. Northern Kentucky (March 3). The junior also posted career bests for runs scored (4) and RBIs.
  • OF Kaden Peer brings a career-best four-game hit streak into the series. Peer has batted .353 (6-for-17) over the course of his streak.
  • INF Trevor Austin leads the club with eight home runs, matching his personal season high (2023) and upping his career total to 24 round-trippers.
  • Austin has enjoyed a solid month of March, hitting .316 (18-for-58) with five homers and 14 RBIs.
  • OF Jackson Beaman has been lethal at the plate over the same stretch as well, batting .364 (12-for-33) with four homers, 15 RBIs and a .542 on-base percentage.
  • LHP Ryan Magdic has proven to be a valuable weapon out of the bullpen, logging three scoreless two-inning outings to date. The graduate transfer has struck out at least three hitters in four of his six appearances.
  • RHP Charlie Miller has been equally as dominant from the right side, recording six scoreless appearances and four hitless outings in nine total games.
  • Miller owns a 12.38 K/9.0 IP ratio, which leads all qualifying pitchers on the Mizzou staff.
  • C Jedier Hernandez is hitting a club-best .390 in March, logging five multi-hit performances in 10 games.
  • RHP Ben Pedersen logged three consecutive scoreless relief outings as part of his return from a two-year absence due to injuries. The 6-foot-6 Minnesota native notched his first collegiate save in MU’s 10-inning victory over Kansas on March 12.
  • OF/DH Thomas Curry enjoyed a debut to remember in Missouri’s season-opening series at Cal Poly (Feb. 16-17), as the freshman paced all Mizzou hitters with his .444 average, while homering and driving in four runs.
  • RHP Carter Rustad notched career victory No. 15 March 9 with 6.0 strong innings in MU’s win over PFW.
  • RHP Jacob Peaden ranks seventh in the SEC in saves (3) and sixth in games finished (6).
  • The Tigers rank seventh in the conference in stolen bases (29), led by six steals apiece from INF Drew Culbertson and OF Jeric Curtis.
  • As a team, Mizzou ranks fourth in the SEC in fielding double plays (15).


  • Under 22nd-year head coach Tim Corbin, the Commodores are off to a 20-6 start to the season that has them ranked ninth in this week’s NCBWA Top 25.
  • The Commodores are hitting .305 as a team, led by RJ Austin’s .356 average and 15 steals.
  • Vandy’s cast of regular position players includes seven different starters hitting .300 or better.
  • Austin also leads the club in hits (36), runs scored (27) and RBIs (27) entering the weekend.
  • Vandy ranks second in the SEC in stolen bases, with 55 successful steals in 61 attempts. In addition to Austin’s 15 steals —which rates second in the conference — Calvin Hewett has swiped 14 bags in 15 tries (good for third in the SEC).
  • On the mound, the Commodores have compiled a 4.00 ERA to date, led by RHP Bryce Cunningham’s 3.52 mark to accompany his 3-1 record.
  • LHP Carter Holton paces the staff with 49 strikeouts and an opponent batting average of .188, while going 3-0 with a 3.77 ERA.
  • LHP Ryan Ginther has recorded three saves out of the Vandy bullpen, allowing just one earned run over eight appearances (12.0 innings).


  • Junior LHP Javyn Pimental has been one of the Tigers’ key linchpins on the mound through the first six weeks of the season as well, bringing a 1.90 ERA into the week.
  • Pimental has registered dominant starts against top 25 teams in back-to-back weekend starts; this past Saturday, the lefty notched his first victory of the season with 6.0 strong innings vs. No. 21 Kentucky, allowing just one run on four hits while fanning five; the previous week, he held No. 1 Arkansas hitless through four innings and posted 5.0 scoreless frames overall before yielding to his bullpen.
  • For the season, the Hawaii native has fanned 26 batters — a single-season best for the junior — in 23.2 innings spanning five total appearances.
  • In his last four outings (three starts), Pimental has surrendered just two earned runs while striking out 21 batters over 20.0 innings, good for an ERA of 0.90.
  • Over the same stretch dating back to March 1, the lefty has limited the opposition to a .179 batting average.


  • Several Tigers have reached or are approaching significant career milestones this season.
  • INF Danny Corona recorded the 100th hit of his collegiate career in last Tuesday’s contest vs. Kansas at Kauffman Stadium.
  • INF Trevor Austin sits atop the Tigers’ leaderboard for career hits among active players with 134.
  • Austin ranks fourth all-time at Mizzou in HBP (37) to go along with his 24 career homers, which is eight shy of cracking the Tigers’ all-time top 10 list.
  • C Jedier Hernandez enters Thursday’s game four hits shy of 100 for his career.


  • Sophomore RHP Brock Lucas brings a string of 9 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings into Tuesday’s contest.
  • Lucas has turned in three straight scoreless relief outings, dating back to March 17.
  • This past week, the St. Elizabeth, Mo., product logged a pair of 4.0-plus inning efforts out of the MU bullpen, including a 4 1/3 inning hitless stint vs. Kansas (March 19), and four additional scoreless frames, allowing just one hit, against Kentucky on Sunday.
  • For the season, Lucas has compiled a club-best 1.89 ERA, while holding the opposition to a .176 batting average.
  • In his seven outings, Lucas has recorded five scoreless appearances, three of which have extended four innings or more.


  • The Tigers notched their first win over a top 25 foe last Saturday with their 2-1 victory over No. 21 Kentucky.
  • Saturday’s victory also marked head coach Kerrick Jackson’s first conference win — as well as the first SEC win for a Black head coach in the circuit’s history.
  • Mizzou recorded seven wins over ranked opponents last season, but suffered 18 of its 24 overall losses against ranked clubs.
  • This year, the Tigers could face as many as 10 ranked SEC foes in weekend series, as each of their scheduled league opponents have spent time in at least one top 25 poll this spring.


  • The Tigers have been clutch this season with two out, both at the plate and on the mound.
  • Mizzou’s offense has recorded 56 two-out RBIs in just 25 games, while hitting .292 (86-for-295) after the second out has been recorded in an inning this season.
  • Jackson Lovich has been MU’s most productive two-out threat, hitting a scorching .342 (13-for-38) and driving in 13 runs in such situations.
  • Mizzou pitchers have been equally dominant, holding the opposition to a collective .196 (52-for-265) two-out batting average.
  • Brock Lucas has yet to allow a two-out hit, holding the opposition hitless in 21 official at-bats. Carter Rustad has been nearly flawless as well, limiting MU’s opponents to just three hits in 32 two-out at-bats (.094).


  • Missouri is slated to appear in eight linear broadcasts on the ESPN family of networks over the course of the 2024 season.
  • Sunday’s series finale will mark the first Mizzou contest featured on the SEC Network this spring.
  • Mizzou’s SEC matchups, including the first two games of the series, and select non-conference games will stream on SEC Network+.

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This article is provided by University of Missouri Athletics