Mizzou baseball flirts with history – STLtoday.com
COLUMBIA, MO. • A lot has happened in Mizzou sports the last five weeks. Athletics director Jim Sterk fired his men’s basketball coach (Kim Anderson) and hired his replacement (Cuonzo Martin). Prized recruit Michael Porter Jr. entered college basketball’s version of free agency and has said he could pick Mizzou. Wrestler J’den Cox and long-distance runner Karissa Schweizer both captured national championships. The women’s basketball team earned another trip to the NCAA Tournament.
Throughout the school’s eventful month, one constant has stayed true day after day: Steve Bieser’s baseball team cannot lose.
The Tigers, ranked No. 18 by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Baseball America, enter their weekend home series against No. 24 Arkansas on a 20-game winning streak, going undefeated since the season’s first game, a 6-2 loss to Eastern Michigan on Feb. 17. It’s the longest active winning streak in Division I baseball and one short of the team record set in 1964.
That means history will be on the line at Taylor Stadium this weekend — and the 1964 team will be watching. Earlier this week, the 1964 team sent Bieser a letter, signed by team captain and former catcher John Sevcik. The team shared the letter with the Post-Dispatch:
“Coach, on behalf of all the members of the 1964 Missouri baseball team we congratulate you and the team on its success. We were a good team and obviously so is this one. We wish the team continues to win and set all kinds of records. Our ’64 team’s winning streak is one we hope you surpass this weekend … 53 years is long enough for it to stand.
“We all know you play the games one at a time. This series is no exception. We are rooting for the Tigers fabulous run to continue not only against the Razorbacks but beyond that. If fortune continues to smile who knows what the future may hold. Attitude is everything! You are on the right track.”
Under Bieser, Mizzou is barely two-thirds through the regular season and already six wins from matching last year’s total. An afterthought in the Southeastern Conference three of their four years in the league, the Tigers suddenly look like a contender among the SEC’s perennial powers.
“This locker room is very confident,” shortstop Robbie Glendinning said. “There’s no panic. We haven’t gone into a game expecting a loss or thinking this this team is better than us.
The Tigers take that same mentality into the weekend series against Arkansas. Friday’s game was moved to noon because of projected rain in the area Friday night. Mizzou’s Tanner Houck (3-1) will take the mound against Arkansas’ Blaine Knight (2-1).
Mizzou’s 20-game win streak is tied for fifth among the longest in SEC history. Here are the longest win streaks by SEC teams, including their postseason results.
24: Texas A&M, 2015, NCAA Super Regional
23: LSU, 2008, College World Series
22: South Carolina, 2000, NCAA Super Regional
22: Kentucky, 2012, NCAA Regional
20: South Carolina, 20, NCAA Super Regional
20: Vanderbilt, 2007, NCAA Regional