MSU Will Take on ACU, Kansas State and Grand Canyon as Part of Four-Team Classic in Abilene
Feb. 27, 2014
Missouri State Game Notes
Missouri State Bears (6-2) at Bourland-Ardoin Classic
Dates/Times: Friday, Feb. 28 (7 p.m.) at Abilene Christian
Saturday, March 1 (7 p.m.) vs. Kansas State
Sunday, March 2 (11 a.m.) vs. Grand Canyon
Location: Abilene, Texas
Site: Crutcher Scott Field (4,000)
Series Histories: KSU leads 12-10
First meetings with ACU and GCU
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM (Rob Evans)
Live Audio: RadioSpringfield.com
Live Video: None
After expected inclement weather forced the cancelation of their home-opening series for the second straight year, the Missouri State Bears (6-2) will travel to Abilene, Texas to take part in the Bourland-Ardoin Classic this weekend at Crutcher Scott Field. The Bears will meet the host Abilene Christian Wildcats at 7 p.m. Friday (Feb. 28), before taking on the Kansas State Wildcats at 7 p.m. Saturday, and the Grand Canyon Antelopes Sunday at 11 a.m.
Missouri State posted a come-from-behind 3-2 win in 10 innings at Oral Roberts Tuesday, thanks to Tate Matheny's 3-for-4 day at the plate and some outstanding work by the Bears' bullpen. MSU is 6-2 for the second year in a row, matching their best start to a season since 1999. In addition to last year's 6-2 start, the 2002 and 2008 Bears also won six of their first eight. The 1999 MSU club won their first eight before dropping three straight contests.
♦ Missouri State is off to a 6-2 start for the second straight season and the fourth time in the last 13 years
♦ The Bears have recorded at least 13 hits in four of their eight games after reaching the same mark just eight times over the course of their 54-game 2013 schedule
♦ The Missouri Valley Conference is the top rated league in all of Division I baseball according to WarrenNolan.com's RPI metrics; all eight MVC clubs rate among the top 88 teams in the nation, with four ranking in the top 18
♦ MSU will play six of their next eight games in Texas, with a trip to the UTA Hilton Invitational on tap next week
♦ Cody Schumacher climbed to No. 3 on the Bears' all-time win percentage (.846) chart for pitchers with his 11th career victory last Friday vs. NIU
♦ Schumacher has worked 9.1 consecutive scoreless innings dating back to opening day, while Jon Harris has posted 9.0 consecutive scoreless frames thanks to his complete-game shutout of Northern Illinois last Saturday
♦ With this week's retirement of Rutgers head coach Fred Hill, Keith Guttin moved up to 12th on the NCAA's active coaching wins list
♦ Tate Matheny and Patrick Drake made triumphant returns to the Bears' lineup Tuesday after missing the previous three games due to injury; Matheny logged his first three-hit game of the year, while Drake doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the 10th inning of the 3-2 win over ORU
♦ Bryan Young earned his second win in relief Tuesday and has now worked 4.1 consecutive scoreless innings
Kansas State holds a slim 12-10 edge in the series with Missouri State, with the two clubs meeting just four times in the last 21 seasons. The Bears have taken three of the last five games in the series since halting a five-game slide vs. the Wildcats in 1992, including a 3-0 decision in Springfield two seasons ago. MSU has also enjoyed a recent run of success against Big 12 foes, claiming a 12-7 mark against the league over the last three seasons. Overall, the Bears bring a 47-52 record against the current makeup of the conference into this weekend's action.
Missouri State will be taking on a pair of first-time opponents in Abilene Christian and Grand Canyon this weekend, but the Bears won't wait long to get reacquainted with host ACU. The two squads are scheduled to meet next Friday (March 7) in Arlington, Texas to open play at the UTA Hilton Invitational.
While the Bears' offense has been clicking at a high rate early in the season, the MSU pitching staff played a key role in their big weekend in Albuquerque as well. The Bears' four starting pitchers teamed up to hold the opposition to just four earned runs in 27.1 innings at the Lobo Invite, good for a 1.32 ERA. The group logged all three MSU victories after failing to complete five innings in any of the first three games last weekend at UCA. In Saturday's doubleheader sweep, MSU hurlers were particularly stingy, as Jon Harris and Matt Hall combined to hold NIU and UNM to one run on 11 hits over 16.0 innings.
Those perfromances followed Cody Schumacher's near-perfect start Friday, as the senior retired the first 15 batters of the game and turned in six hitless frames while fanning five to notch his second win of the season. The Huskies would not record a hit until a lead-off single in the eighth against sophomore Sam Perez, who logged a career-best 2.0 scoreless innings.
Valley Peaking Early
If the early-season returns are any indication of things to come, the 2014 campaign figures to be a memorable one for the Missouri Valley Conference. According to WarrenNolan.com's RPI report, the Valley is the top league in the nation with a cumulative 42-15 record to date. All eight MVC squads are rated among the top 88 teams in all of Division I baseball, with the Bears currently sitting at No. 83. Additionally, four teams (Indiana State-7th, Evansville-15th, Bradley-16th and Illinois State-18th) are ranked in the top 18.
In Rare Company
With the Bears' win over Bradley on April 19, head coach Keith Guttin moved past Bob Hannah (Delaware) for the 40th spot on the NCAA's all-time Division coaching victories list. Guttin, who ended the season with a career record of 1,069-677 (.612), also ranks 12th on the NCAA's Division I active coaching wins list.
Guttin became the 46th Division I baseball coach and the third Valley mentor to reach the 1,000 career-win mark with MSU's 3-2 victory at Northwestern State on March 3, 2012. He is the first coach at Missouri State in any sport to reach the milestone and the 20th Division I baseball coach to accomplish the feat while guiding just one school.