Dates: Friday, March 5, 3 p.m.
Saturday, March 6, 12 p.m. doubleheader
Sunday, March 7, 1 p.m.
Site: Hammons Field
Location: Springfield, Mo.
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM (Sunday only)
Live Audio: www.RadioSpringfield.com (Sunday only)
Live Stats: www.MissouriStateBears.com
Live Video: None
Live Chat: None
What's On Tap
The Missouri State baseball team (1-5) opens the home season Friday at 3 p.m. with the first game of a four-game series with North Dakota State (1-2) at Hammons Field. The Bears have posted a winning home record in all six seasons at Hammons Field and are 97-57 all-time at the venue, including a 38-13 mark the last two seasons.
North Dakota State is 1-2 on the year after dropping a series at Lamar to open the season. The Bison hit .315 against the Cardinals while scoring 22 runs in the three games. Outfielder Nic Obey (.556) and catcher Tanner Adam (.545) each hit above .500, while second baseman Wes Satzinger doubled three times and drove in six runs.
Summit League Pitcher of the Week Anthony Kliniske (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 7 Ks, 3.2 IP) leads a pitching staff that surrendered a .340 opponent average and 9.72 ERA through the first week of play.
The NDSU defense has committed four errors for a .963 fielding percentage.
Missouri State is 2-0 against North Dakota State with both meetings coming in the 1969 NCAA Division II Regional. The Bears won by scores of 6-1 and 4-2 to advance to the World Series, where they eventually fell in the national finals at Meador Park.
Coach Keith Guttin
Missouri State head coach Keith Guttin (Missouri-St. Louis, 1978) is in his 28th season as head coach of the baseball Bears and has a career record of 939-578 (.619). Guttin became the first coach at Missouri State (in any sport) to reach the 900-win mark with the May 11, 2008, win over Middle Tennessee at Hammons Field. 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. During Guttin’s tenure, the Bears have made seven Division I NCAA Tournament appearances -- six in the last 14 years.
Missouri State dropped the first two games of its series at UT Arlington before winning Sunday's finale.
Friday's game featured an NCAA-record 43 combined strikeouts between the two pitching staffs before UTA ultimately prevailed 1-0 in 14 innings. Aaron Meade allowed one hit over six innings, and reliever Grant Gordon followed with eight strikeouts in seven innings to win MVC Pitcher of the Week.
Saturday, the Bears fought back to tie or lead after three separate deficits, taking a 6-6 score into the bottom of the ninth when the Mavericks got a three-run walk-off homer from Steffan Guest.
On Sunday, MSU scored five two-out runs in the fourth, using two-run doubles from Travis McComack and Luke Voit and an RBI single from Kevin Medrano. Mike Kickham tossed seven strong innings and Blake Barber earned the save.
• Missouri State pitchers have struck out 69 batters in 55 innings this season, an average of 11.29 strikeouts per nine innings.
As a comparison, Oral Roberts led the nation with 10.6 Ks/9 last season and was joined by North Carolina as the only teams to average at least 10 strikeouts per game.
• Missouri State started the season 0-4 for the fourth time in school history and 0-5 for just the second time since the program's inception in 1964.
The slow start is not necessarily a bad thing, as the Bears rebounded from an 0-5 start in 1997 to make the NCAA Tournament, and an 0-4 start in 2009 to win the MVC title.
The other 0-4 start came in 1964, the program's first season of existence.
• MSU has dropped five consecutive extra inning games dating to a 13-inning win over Middle Tennessee on May 11, 2008.
• Missouri State's team ERA has stayed level or dropped each of the last four games after peaking at 13.50 after the second game of the year.
Strength of Schedule
Missouri State opponents are a combined 70-59 through March 2.
The Missouri State and UT Arlington pitching staffs combined to set an NCAA record with 43 strikeouts in their Feb. 26 game in Arlington. The previous mark was set at 41 in a 1994 game between Arkansas and Auburn.
Four separate pitchers struck out at least eight hitters in the 14-inning contest, and UTA also tied an NCAA all-division record by tossing 26 strikeouts as a staff.
Players of the Week
Grant Gordon was the first Bear of the season honored with an MVC weekly award when he was named the league's pitcher of the week on March 1. Gordon pitched seven innings of scoreless relief and struck out eight batters in MSU's 14-inning game at UT Arlington the on Feb. 26.
MSU baseball broadcasts again air on KBFL 1060 AM this season, with a total of 46 regular season games and all postseason action. Art Hains and Rob Evans will describe the action. The first broadcast will originate from Hammons Field on March 7 when the Bears host North Dakota State.
As a general rule, night games will be broadcast on 99.9 FM and day games on 1060 AM.
All broadcasts can be heard live over the internet by visiting www.RadioSpringfield.com.
Up-to-date schedule and station assignments, as well as links to listen live, can be found on the baseball schedule page of www.MissouriStateBears.com.
New Tourney Format
The 2010 State Farm MVC Tournament will have a new look, welcoming all eight league members to Wichita the final week of May.
This year's version will divide the eight teams into two pods based on regular season finish. Each four-team bracket will be a double-elimination format, with the winners squaring off in a one-game championship on Saturday evening.
Three Bears made the preseason all-MVC team while Aaron Meade was honored as a preseason third-team All-American by Ping!Baseball.
Joining Meade on the all-conference squad are junior outfielder Aaron Conway and 2009 MVC Freshman of the Year Kevin Medrano at second base.