Bears Travel to Stillwater for Wednesday Matchup Against Oklahoma State
Keith Guttin
Keith Guttin

Feb. 28, 2012

Missouri State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader
Oklahoma State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Missouri State Bears (5-3) at Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-3)
Dates: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
First Pitch: 4 p.m.
Location: Stillwater, Okla.
Site: Allie P. Reynolds Stadium (4,000)
Radio: KBFL AM 1060 (Art Hains)
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Leading Off
The Missouri State Bears will try to keep their momentum going against the Oklahoma State Cowboys Wednesday at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater, Okla. MSU pushed its win streak to five games before dropping Sunday's Hilton UTA Invitational finale to Houston Baptist. Wednesday's game will be the first of two meetings between the two clubs in a week's span. The Bears and Cowboys will square off again Tuesday, March 6, to open the MSU home slate at Hammons Field.

Prime 9
♦ Missouri State ranked 48th in this week's Perfect Game Top 50 Poll and received five votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll after going 3-1 last weekend in Arlington
♦The Bears bring a three-game win streak in their series with Oklahoma State into Wednesday's contest
♦MSU has gone 7-3 versus the Big 12 Conference over the last two seasons
♦Keith Guttin needs three more victories to become the 46th Division I head coach to reach the 1,000 win plateau
♦Junior righty Clay Murphy is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA and 25 Ks in 20.0 innings over three career appearances vs. OSU
♦Senior second baseman Kevin Medrano needs two hits to crack the MSU career top 10 chart
♦Junior catcher Luke Voit drove in the winning run in each of the Bears' three wins last weekend at the Hilton UTA Invitational and shares the team lead with four multi-RBI games in 2012
♦Spiker Helms hit a blistering .647 (11-for-17) in four games in Arlington last weekend, registering four doubles and his first career grand slam to nearly match his extra-base hit total (7) from the entire 2011 season
♦Freshman left-hander Tyler Burgess became the first Bears' freshman hurler on record to earn wins in each of his first three collegiate pitching appearances with last Saturday's 9-4 win at UTA

Oklahoma State Series
Oklahoma State leads the overall series by a 6-4 margin, but the Bears have taken three straight from the Cowboys dating back to the 2010 season. Since the two clubs began playing home-and-home series in 2009, MSU has registered the only season sweep. The Bears knocked off OSU, 3-2, in Stillwater on March 1, then topped the 22nd ranked Cowboys, 4-3, in Springfield May 17.

About the Bears
Following a disappointing end to an otherwise memorable bounceback 2011 season, Missouri State entered the new year as the preseason choice to capture the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title for the fourth time in the last 12 seasons. The 2012 season promises to be a milestone year for the Bears, who mark their 30th year as a Division I program. It will also be the 30th campaign for head coach Keith Guttin, who enters the week just three wins shy of the 1,000 career win mark.

After a rough start to opening weekend in Lubbock, Texas, the Bears rebounded to win their next five games and bring a 5-3 overall mark into this week's action. Senior outfielder Spiker Helms (.485, 2-HR, 11-RBI) turned in the best week of his MSU career, going 11-for-17 at the UTA Invitational and ranks among the MVC's top 10 performers in 10 different offensive categories. Fellow senior Brock Chaffin (.400, 7-RBI) has come on as of late, going 7-for-14 with six RBIs over the Bears' last three games, while sophomore catcher Luke Voit (.229, 2-HR, 11-RBI) has three game-winning RBIs to lead the club. Senior second baseman Kevin Medrano (.318, 4-2B) returned from a three-game hiatus last weekend and needs just two more safeties to break into the Bears' top 10 for career hits. Additionally, senior third baseman Brent Seifert has reached base safely in all eight games and a career-high 13 straight contests dating back to last season.

The Bears' regular weekend rotation has been strong through the first two weeks, combining to strike-out 36 batters through 37.2 innings of work. Nick Petree (1-1, 3.21), who went 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA to garner Freshman All-America honors last spring, picked up his first win of the season last Friday vs. SFA after losing a tough-luck 3-2 decision in the Bears' season opener. Junior right-hander Pierce Johnson (0-1, 3.86) has shown stretches of dominance in each of his two outings this season. Last Saturday, he held UTA hitless through five innings before leaving after seven innings with a no-decision. Junior right-hander Cody Schumacher (1-0, 8.38) rebounded from a rough first start to pitch a solid 6 1/3 innings last Friday, fanning seven hitters to earn his first victory as a Bear. Junior righty Clay Murphy (0-0, 0.00, 1 S) extended his streak of dominance over Big 12 schools with 6+ innings without giving up an earned run in the Bears' 4-2 win over Texas Tech (Feb. 19). Finally, freshman lefty Tyler Burgess (3-0, 0.00) has been sensational in his MSU debut, notching victories in each of his three appearances without allowing a run.

About the Cowboys
After three straight defeats to begin the season, Oklahoma State has righted the ship to post wins in each of its last five outings. The Cowboys finished off a three-game sweep of Bowling Green Sunday, following two mid-week wins. Leading the charge for Frank Anderson's club is junior infielder Robbie Rea (.343, HR, 8-RBI), whose 18 total bases is tops on the team. Freshman infielder Wes Jones (.346, 7-R, 5-RBI) has made an immediate impact in his first seven games as a Cowboy, bringing a team-best batting average and on-base percentage into this week's action. Another freshman, Zach Fish (.276, .552 SLG), paces a squad that is hitting .278 as a team with nine RBIs and a pair of home runs. Senior infielder Mark Ginther (.333, HR, 3-RBI) is OSU's top returning power bat, having hit 10 long balls a year ago.

On the mound, junior right-hander Chase Stevens (2-0, 0.61) is off to a strong start, as is junior lefty Andrew Heaney (1-1, 1.26). The Bears could see either freshman Jon Perrin (0-0, 0.00) or senior Blake Barnes (1-0, 5.40), who held MSU scoreless over 4.1 innings spanning two appearances last year.

Murph's Big 12 Mastery Continues
Junior right-hander Clay Murphy has made a career out of stymieing the Big 12 Conference and his first start of the 2012 season offered more of the same. The Wolf Lake, Ill., native held Texas Tech to two unearned runs on seven hits while striking out five Red Raiders through six innings Feb. 19, to allow the Bears to stay close enough to rally late for an eventual 4-2 victory and run their record to 7-3 vs. the Big 12 over the last two seasons.

Murphy's effort ran his streak of not allowing an earned run to 16 2/3 innings against Big 12 opponents. Overall, Murphy has just a 1-2 career mark and a respectable 4.25 ERA in nine appearances vs. Big 12 foes. But since March 1, 2011--the day his current streak began--Murphy has completed 20 innings over four outings, allowing just one earned run on 14 hits. striking-out 20 Big 12 batters in three MSU victories. Against the Cowboys last year, he allowed just one earned run on six hits, while fanning 14 hitters over 13.0 innings.

Guttin Approaching Milestone
Missouri State head coach Keith Guttin (Missouri-St. Louis, 1978) is currently in his 30th season as head coach of the baseball Bears with a career record of 997-633 (.612). With three more victories, Guttin will become either the 46th or 47th Division I baseball coach to reach the 1,000 career-win mark. Georgia Tech's Danny Hall is nipping at Guttin's heels with 994 career victories entering the week. Additionally, Guttin needs one more win to catch Mike Sheppard in 46th place on the all-time Division I coaching wins list.

Guttin, who entered the season 15th among active Division I head coaches in career victories, became the first coach at Missouri State in any sport to reach the 900-win mark with the Bears' May 11, 2008, win over Middle Tennessee at Hammons Field. During his tenure, 114 Bears have signed professional contracts, including 12 Major Leaguers. Additionally, MSU has made seven Division I NCAA Tournament appearances--six in the last 17 years. In 2003, Guttin led the Bears to the NCAA Division I College World Series for the first time in school history. Guttin has been a conference Coach of the Year 10 times with four of those coming in the Valley and six coming during the Bears' years in the Mid-Continent Conference.

Burgess Making History
Freshman pitcher Tyler Burgess was instrumental in the Bears' two victories at the Red Raider Classic, posting wins in his first two collegiate appearances to earn all-tournament recognition. The lefty from Webb City, Mo., kept his win streak intact last weekend at the Hilton UTA Invitational, working two scoreless innings in relief of Pierce Johnson to earn his third-straight victory in Saturday's 9-4 win over UTA. With the win, Burgess became the first MSU freshman to win his first three collegiate appearances, and the first newcomer to earn victories in his first three MSU appearances since Jerry Logan in 1980.

Hammerin' Helms
Senior outfielder Spiker Helms followed up a strong opening weekend that earned him a spot on the Red Raider Classic All-Tournament squad with a career week at the UTA Invite. Helms torched opposing pitchers for a .647 (11-for-17) average, with team-leading totals for runs scored (6), hits, RBIs (7), and doubles (4) to help the Bears go 3-1 on the weekend. The Washington, Mo., native posted three multi-hit games, slugged a club-high 1.059 and led the Bears with a .700 on-base percentage. In a pair of games against Stephen F. Austin Friday, Helms went 7-for-9, scored four runs, doubled three times and drove in six runs--four of which came on his game-clinching grand slam in an 8-3 win that finished off the Bears' sweep of the Lumberjacks. He went a career-best 5-for-5 in the opening game, a 5-4 MSU win. Helms reached base in three of his five trips to the plate in Saturday's 9-4 win over UTA, then capped his week with a 3-for-5 day Sunday against Houston Baptist.

Helms rates among the MVC's top 10 individuals in 10 different offensive categories and leads the circuit in doubles, homers and total bases entering the third week of the season.

Double Trouble
Spiker Helms wasn't the only Bear to feast on the opposition's pitching last weekend in Arlington. Senior first baseman Brock Chaffin broke out with big days at the plate in MSU's final two games of the UTA Invitational, going a combined 7-for-10 with 6 RBIs. The Stoutland, Mo., product matched a career high with five hits while driving in five runs in MSU's 9-4 win over UTA (Feb. 25). He finished up the tournament 9-for-19 (.474) at the plate with 7 RBIs, after recording two hits in the finale vs. Houston Baptist (Feb. 26).



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