COLUMBIA, Mo. (MUTigers.com) - Mizzou Baseball fifth-year senior Eric Anderson (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) was named SEC Player of the Week, as announced Monday (April 14) by the league office. The award comes after Anderson did it all for Mizzou in a series win at No. 15 Kentucky, Mizzou's second road series win over a ranked opponent this season. Anderson is the third Tiger to earn SEC weekly praise this season, joining SEC Pitchers of the Week Brett Graves (St. Charles, Mo.) and Keaton Steele (St. Joseph, Mo.). The award for Anderson is the first of his career, and he is the first Tiger to earn Player of the Week distinction since Steele took home the honors on April 8, 2013.
Anderson was a key factor in both Tiger wins at Kentucky and put together a great week. He hit .444 while slugging .778 and reaching base at a .500 clip. He drove in a team-high six runs on the week while scoring two more with a double, triple and homer. He hit .571 with runners in scoring position, tallied a pair of two-out RBI and posted game-winning hits in both of Mizzou's wins at No. 15 Kentucky, including a go-ahead three-run homer in the eighth inning on Friday night as the Tigers posted their first win of the season when trailing after seven this season. In addition, he tallied the game-winning a hit on Sunday, a two-out single to center field that put the Tigers up 4-3 and then added an insurance RBI in the ninth. He led Mizzou in RBI, total bases, extra-base hits, total hits and game-winning hits last weekend.
Not only did Anderson rake at the plate, but he dazzled on the mound in a start on Sunday. In fact, he held the SEC's top offense to just three runs over 7.0 innings while striking out 10 and walking just one. He became the first Tiger to fan at least 10 batters in back-to-back starts since March of last season when second-round MLB Draft pick Rob Zastryzny accomplished the same feat. Over his last two starts, which span 16.0 total innings, Anderson has struck out 22 batters, more than his previous six appearances combined. He earned the win in the start, his second in as many outings as he is now 2-2 on the season. In addition, he was the only Tiger to slow Kentucky phenom A.J. Reed as he struck him out on three pitches in each of his first two at-bats while retiring him in three of four plate appearances.
Anderson has been a spark plug for Mizzou since being inserted into the leadoff spot in the Tiger lineup and his last two starts on the mound are a huge reason why Mizzou has won four of five heading into Tuesday's game at Missouri State. Since moving to the leadoff spot, Anderson has reached base in his first plate appearance in 16 of 24 games, and so far this season, he has reached base in 24 of 45 opportunities when leading off an inning.
Anderson and the Tigers will close out a home-and-home series with Missouri State tomorrow night at Hammons Field in Springfield at 6:35 p.m. The Tigers then welcome Mississippi State to Taylor Stadium for a three-game SEC series this weekend. For all the latest on Mizzou baseball, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on twitter @MizzouBaseball.