Border War is back as Missouri baseball travels to Kansas

Missouri pitcher Lukas Veinbergs pitches against Omaha on Feb. 27 at Taylor Stadium in Columbia. Veinbergs will make the third start of his career Tuesday when the Tigers take on Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., for the 346th meeting between the two schools.

Reid Glenn

The last time Missouri faced off against bitter rival Kansas on the baseball diamond, it was the semifinal of the 2012 Big 12 Tournament.

Missouri won that game and later defeated Texas in the title game. Nine years later, the Jayhawks are back on the schedule.

They are hosting the Tigers at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Lawrence, Kansas, renewing a rivalry that has been dormant for nearly a decade.


Tuesday’s game will be the 346th time Missouri and Kansas have met on the basepaths, with the Tigers leading the all-time series 218-125-2. The series is the most frequently played in Missouri history, with the first meeting dating back to 1901.

Kansas is 14-8 in 2021, with notable series wins against Saint Louis and Omaha. Missouri won its meeting with the Billikens earlier this year and split its series at home against the Mavericks, going 2-2.

Missouri is coming off a series in which No. 1 Vanderbilt all but kicked the Tigers around their own yard. Missouri desperately needs a pick-me-up before hosting Texas A&M for a series on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Beating the hated Jayhawks would definitely be a high point for a disappointing 8-14 Missouri squad.

Tuesday’s game is the first of a home-and-home series between the Tigers and the Jayhawks. Kansas travels to Columbia on May 18 to finish the pair of games, with that game slated to be broadcast nationally on SEC Network.

Lukas Veinbergs is slated to make his third career start. The grad student has been one of Missouri’s most versatile pitchers, starting and coming out of the bullpen when needed.

Like many of Missouri’s arms, Veinbergs has struggled in 2021. He has an ERA of 5.49, with disappointing outings against Grand Canyon, Omaha and Illinois State.

Veinbergs’ counterpart will be Jayhawk hurler Everhett Hazelwood. The junior has appeared in five games this season, with four starts and an ERA of 5.82. Hazelwood earned his first victory of the season against Creighton on March 20, recording three strikeouts in five innings.

Missouri’s Dalton McNamara is expected to see more time as the season goes along. McNamara won the second base job out of fall camp, but an injury held him out of play early this spring. The sophomore pinch-hit in Thursday and Friday’s games against Vanderbilt before starting Saturday.

With Josh Day holding down the shortstop position, it is unclear where that leaves senior Mark Vierling. Vierling has started every season during his time at Missouri, and coach Steve Bieser calls him a “glue guy” because his solid performances and leadership hold the team together.

Vierling has started every game so far in 2021, splitting shortstop and second base duties with Day. After Saturday’s game, Bieser hinted at a potential shift to the outfield for Vierling. Hitting .276 with the most hits on the team, Vierling’s bat is one that Bieser wants to keep in a lineup that averages .242.