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March 4, 2009

Lollis shines in home opener

No one covers Tiger athletics like PowerMizzou.com. This year, we've added baseball coverage to our top-notch football and basketball beats. To follow the Tigers year-round, sign up today to start your Free Seven-Day Trial.

In front of a crowd of about 400 baseball hungry fans, the Missouri Tigers put together an 8-0 victory over the Western Illinois Leathernecks. For senior Ryan Lollis, being back at home was a boost.

"I love it," Lollis exclaimed. "I am glad to be back from that stuff that happened last week. I wish the crowd was a little bit bigger, but everyone was at the basketball game, so hopefully we win over there, and we get a better crowd this weekend."

Lollis was introduced over the loud speaker tonight to the background music of rapper Lil Wayne. Lil Wayne is known as the "fireman", and Lollis definitely sparked the fire behind the Tigers tonight. When Missouri scored, it seemed as if the senior was always involved. Lollis put the Tigers up 1-0 in the first inning after a wild pitch, and he blew the game open with a bases loaded two-run single in the 8th.

"He (head coach Tim Jamieson) got on us for not doing it with the bases loaded," Lollis said. "We left a lot of men on base out there, and I was with two strikes, and I was just telling myself that he was not going to get me out or strike me out at least. That's the worst feeling in the world, striking out with the bases loaded. I didn't want it to happen."

Lollis finished the game with three hits and three R.B.I's. Although Jamieson was unhappy with the team's overall performance, he agreed that Lollis has been a bright spot this whole season.

"He had a good night," the coach said. "He is the one guy that every time up, he had a pretty good at bat. He has been that way the whole year. He has been the one guy that you can point to and say he has been pretty consistent every game in a good way."

Similar to the tournament in Arizona, the Tigers struggled with the bats early in the game and picked up three quick strikeouts before getting on track. After one look at the stat sheet, Jamieson was quick to dismiss this victory as anything more than just a victory.

"That's how we have been swinging the bat," he said. "We had opportunities to score runs and had some bad at bats in key situations. Finally, we got a little bit more at the end. It was a pretty lethargic performance in my opinion."

Left fielder Greg Folgia helped contribute to the Tigers eight runs with two R.B.I's of his own. Right fielder Aaron Senne also chimed in with a key double in the 5th along with throwing out a runner headed to third base in the first inning. According to the Folgia, the team started to hit better as the night wore on.

"Well, a lot of guys had been getting in deep counts, which just gives you more percentages to strike out after that," Folgia said. "Everyone was getting more aggressive as the game went along and getting a lot looser. I felt a lot looser towards the end of the game. Everyone is getting a lot more comfortable at the plate."

With the weekend series against Ball State a few days away, Jamieson decided to send out nine different pitchers against the Leathernecks. The strategy worked as Western Illinois struggled to muster up any offense. Kelly Fick and freshman Jeff Emens each had two strikeouts in their inning of work.

Even with a dominating performance, it was clear that the coaches and the players were are still looking for improvement.

"We're taking it little by little, and things are starting to look up," Lollis said. "We are still not playing our best baseball, and that's the great thing about it. We got a lot of room to improve and we won by a lot of runs, so it's exciting for things like that."

"We got a long way to go," Jamieson said stoically. "If we play like that in ten days, we are going to be feeling sorry for ourselves. We got to get better. But we have five games between now and Texas to have that happen."

No one covers Tiger athletics like PowerMizzou.com. This year, we've added baseball coverage to our top-notch football and basketball beats. To follow the Tigers year-round, sign up today to start your Free Seven-Day Trial.

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