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Bears Travel to Stillwater to Take on Nationally-Ranked Cowboys Tuesday
 
Head coach Keith Guttin
 
Head coach Keith Guttin
 

March 4, 2013

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

Missouri State Bears (7-2) at No. 27 Oklahoma State Cowboys (9-2)
Date:
Tuesday, March 5 (4 p.m.)
Location: Stillwater, Okla.
Site: Allie P. Reynolds Stadium (4,000)
Series History: Tied 6-6 (MSU has won five straight)
Live Audio and Video: Bears All-Access
Live Stats: MissouriStateBears.com
Twitter: MSUBearBaseball

Leading Off
After keeping their early momentum going by taking two of three games from Northwestern State over the weekend, the Missouri State Bears will make one more trip Tuesday to Stillwater to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys, before finally opening the home portion of their 2013 schedule Friday.

MSU turned in its best offensive stretch of the season in Conway, Ark., to claim its series with NSU over the weekend. The Bears rolled to a 14-3 victory in the opener before suffering an 11-3 setback on Saturday. They recovered, however, behind a pitching staff that combined on a six-hit shutout Sunday, as four Bears pitchers struck out 13 Demons in a 5-0 win.

After three weeks on the road to start the season, the Bears will kick off the home schedule Friday (March 8), when they open a three-game set with Northwestern at Hammons Field.

Prime 9
♦The Bears' 7-2 start is their best since 2008; additionally, MSU has a two-game road win streak vs. ranked opponents following its 5-1 win at No. 28 Southern Miss (Feb.23)
♦Missouri State is 2-0 in true road games, 3-0 in one-run contests and 6-0 when out-hitting the opposition in 2013
♦The Bears have won five straight in their series with Oklahoma State and are 6-6 all-time vs. the Cowboys; MSU posted wins over ranked OSU teams in 2009 and 2011
♦MSU pitching has limited OSU to a .199 (32-for-161) team average over the last five games in the series
♦OF Tate Matheny has hit .480 over his current seven-game hit streak that includes five multi-hit games
♦C Luke Voit went 6-for-12 with a home run and seven RBIs in three games last week
♦With 1,039 wins as Bears' head coach, Keith Guttin enters the week 14th on the NCAA's Division I active coaching victories list; he needs four more wins to move up to 41st on the NCAA's all-time Division I victories list
♦Seven Bears have started all nine contests in 2013, but Guttin has employed nine different lineups to date
♦RHP Nick Petree moved up to fifth on the Bears career wins list with his 21st MSU victory last Friday

Series History
The Bears and Cowboys have split their previous 12 meetings, but MSU has won five straight from OSU dating back to the 2010 season. Additionally, the Bears have won the last two contests against the Cowboys in Stillwater, including a 7-1 victory last February. The Bears also knocked off OSU by a 5-2 score on March 6, 2012, at Hammons Field.

Missouri State's five-game win streak vs. the Cowboys has come in the midst of a recent run of success against the Big 12 Conference. The Bears have gone a combined 12-5 against the league over the last two seasons, including a 6-3 mark in 2012. MSU went 3-2 on the road vs. Big 12 foes last spring, with wins at Texas Tech and Kansas in addition to its victory in Stillwater.

About the Bears
Coming off a 40-22 season and their first NCAA Regional appearance since 2003, Missouri State will welcome back 17 letterwinners, including seven members of its 2012 pitching staff that posted the lowest team earned run average (2.57) in all of Division I baseball last spring. Leading the way once again will be junior hurler Nick Petree, who was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball last year after going 10-4 with a Division I-best 1.01 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 115.1 innings pitched. The right-hander will be backed by a host of veteran returners, including senior weekend starter Cody Schumacher, who went 8-1 with a 3.71 ERA in a school-record 17 starts in his first season with the Bears, senior right-hander Grant Gordon and sophomore lefty Tyler Burgess. Burgess went 5-2 with a 2.08 ERA and 11 saves to lead the Bears' relief corps, notching a victory or a save in each of his first seven appearances without allowing an earned run to earn Freshman All-America and First-Team All-MVC honors, as well as NCBWA National Stopper of the Year consideration. The Webb City, Mo., product served as the linchpin of the Bears' bullpen throughout his freshman season, setting unprecedented standards for MSU rookie pitchers in the process while ranking second in the Valley and 30th nationally in saves.

In the field, the Bears return five regulars from last year's club, including senior outfielder Keenen Maddox, who led MSU with eight homers en route to earning team MVP honors in 2012. Additionally, senior catcher Luke Voit should once again backstop the Bears' infield, following a strong junior campaign in which he drove in a team-high 46 runs. Junior Trey Massenberg returns to patrol the Bears' outfield after a breakthrough sophomore year in which he established career-best numbers in nearly every offensive category. Two versatile sophomores in Dylan Becker and Eric Cheray also return after seeing significant time in the Bears' lineup as rookies last spring. MSU also regains the services of three-year starter Travis McComack at shortstop, after the senior missed the 2012 season as a redshirt.

About the Cowboys
Oklahoma State is off to a 9-2 start to the season, earning the No. 27 position in this week's National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll. Under first-year head coach Josh Holliday, the Cowboys have gotten balanced production from an offense that brings a .300 team batting mark into the week, as well as a deep pitching staff that has posted a 3.60 team ERA to date.

Leading the way for the OSU offense has been junior transfer Tanner Krietemeier (.429 BA/1 HR/ 12 RBI), sophomore OF/C Gage Green (.375 BA/2 SB) and senior infielder Robbie Rea (.351 BA/.622 SLG). The trio has combined to score 25 of OSU's 78 runs on the year, while senior C Victor Romero (.314 BA/3 HR/12 RBI), sophomore OF Zach Fish (.333 BA/2 HR/10 RBI) and senior IF Randy McCurry (.298 BA/1 HR/11 RBI) have accounted for nearly half of the club's RBI total in 2013.

On the mound, OSU has received quality work from sophomore right-handers Jon Perrin, who is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA in four appearances, and Jason Hursh (1-0, 2.37 ERA), who has logged a team-high 19.0 innings over three starts. Junior Vince Wheeland has fanned a team-best 14 batters in 16.0 innings to go 2-0 over five appearances thus far, while sophomore lefty Tyler Nurdin has struck out 13 in his two starts spanning 10.0 innings.

The Streak That Murph Built
While senior right-hander Clay Murphy has yet to make an appearance in 2013 while he continues his rehabilitation from Tommy John surgery, it's worth noting the contributions of the Wolf Lake, Ill. product in the Bears' recent good fortunes against Oklahoma State. Last season alone, Murphy turned in a pair of standout performances to go 2-0 with a 1.15 ERA against OSU. He worked 6.2 innings to beat the Cowboys, 7-1, in Stillwater (Feb. 29), then bested OSU again March 6 by a 5-2 score in MSU's home opener. Murphy also extended his streak of consecutive innings against Big 12 opponents without giving up an earned run to 26 innings before allowing a third-inning home run to Jared Womack. Murphy responded by working his first-ever complete game, striking-out eight in the process.

Over his three-year career against the Cowboys, Murphy has been downright dominant in five appearances. In 2011, he allowed just one earned run on six hits, fanning 14 hitters over 13.0 innings, after helping start the Bears' current five-game win streak in the series by fanning 11 Cowboys as a freshman in a 7-5 win on April 7, 2010. With his two victories last season against OSU, Murphy improved to 3-0 with a career ERA vs. the Cowboys of 1.77.

Matheny Makes His Mark
Freshman outfielder Tate Matheny has adjusted quickly to life at the Division I level. The St. Louis native will bring a seven-game hit streak -- including five multi-hit games -- and a team-high .375 batting average into the week. Matheny has started all nine games in centerfield for the Bears and became the first MSU freshman since Kevin Medrano in 2009 to start his collegiate career with at least two hits in three of his first six games with his 2-for-3 effort in a 5-4 win over Eastern Illinois (Feb. 24). Since starting his career 0-for-7 at the plate, Matheny has hits in 12 of his last 25 at-bats (.480) over his seven-game hit streak and has reached base safely in each of the last eight contests.

Petree Cracks Career Wins List
Junior right-hander Nick Petree, notched his 21st win as a Bear with MSU's 14-3 victory over Northwestern State (March 1). Petree moved into a tie for fifth place on the Bears' career victories list, matching the MSU win totals of Tim Clubb (2007-09), Scott Geitz (1995-98) and Ken Watkins (1967-70). The Clinton, Mo., product needs two more wins to climb to third on the chart. Brad Ziegler (2000-03) heads the list with 32 victories.

Petree also moved into a tie for seventh on MSU's career win percentage list (.778) and ninth on the Bears' all-time innings pitched chart (229.1) with the win vs. Northwestern State. He needs to record three more strikeouts (212) to move into the school's all-time top 10 in that category as well.

Road Warriors
Thanks to uncooperative weather, the Bears unexpectedly continued their early road swing with three neutral-field contests against Northwestern State last weekend in Arkansas. But life on the road has been good to the Maroon and White in recent years. The Bears' 2-0 road start marks the second time in three seasons they have won at least their first two true road games. Additionally, the Bears' 5-1 win at No. 28 Southern Miss (Feb. 23) marked their second consecutive victory over a ranked opponent, including their win over Miami (No. 22) in last year's NCAA Regional. The victory was MSU's first regular-season win against a ranked opponent since March 15, 2009, when it upended No. 23 Oregon State in Portland.

MSU started 3-0 on the road in 2011, then began last season with six straight road wins after an opening-day setback at Texas Tech.

 

 

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