Baseball opens home season versus Iowa
After seven games away from Springfield to begin the 2008 season, the Missouri State baseball team (5-2) opens the home season Saturday at 2 p.m. against Iowa. The series schedule has been altered to account for cold weather early in the weekend. The Bears and Hawkeyes will hook up as scheduled on Saturday and play a doubleheader beginning at noon on Sunday. There will be no game on Friday.
Saturday's game marks the beginning of a stretch where the Bears play 16 of their next 19 games at Hammons Field.
The Iowa series will be the first of 41 Bears baseball radio broadcasts this season. All three games can be heard on KBFL 1060-AM.
Iowa is 3-3 on the year with an impressive win over then-No. 5 Vanderbilt on its resume. The Hawkeyes are coached by former Creighton skipper Jack Dahm, and boast an offense that is hitting .320 through six games. Caleb Curry leads the Hawkeyes with a .538 average and 10 RBIs while swiping six bases in seven attempts.
The pitching staff has an ERA of 4.70 and will likely start Brock Alberts (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 10 Ks), Michael Jacobs (1-1, 3.75) and Nick Erdman (1-0, 3.12) for the series.
Missouri State leads the all-time series with Iowa by a 31-14 margin, and have won the last two meetings against the Hawkeyes, taking a 2005 series at Hammons Field in the process.
Missouri State has regularly played Big 10 Conference competition over the past several year, going 14-7 against the league since 2001.
LIVE STATS INFORMATION
Live stats for most Missouri State baseball games will be available at www.missouristatebears.com. Just click "Live Stats" on the left side of the page and select the appropriate game.
There will be live statistics for all three contests this week.
COACH KEITH GUTTIN
Missouri State head coach Keith Guttin (Missouri-St. Louis, 1978) is in his 26th season as head coach of the baseball Bears and has a career record of 869-536 (.618). Guttin became the first coach at Missouri State (in any sport) to reach the 800-win mark with the May 11, 2005, win over Kansas 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 nine times with three 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 13 years.
Missouri State has been hot offensively in the final two innings this year, scoring 25 total runs and batting .346. MSU's seven-game total of 25 runs in those two frames is exactly half of the 50 the team scored in the eighth and ninth innings in 57 games last year.
Matt Frevert has not allowed an earned run since giving up a solo homer to the second batter he faced in the 2007 season, a stretch that spans 22.2 innings.
The Bears have scored in the first inning in six of seven games this season.
Nolan Keane and Ben Carlson have each hit safely in all seven games this season.
Missouri State pinch-hitters are hitting .714 (5-7) this season.
Senior Ben Woodbury ranked as the 49th most difficult batter to strike out in the NCAA last season with one every 13.8 at bats. He went 83 at bats and 100 total plate appearances without striking out midway through the 2007 season.
He has gone down on strikes twice this year in 31 at bats, bumping his career average to one strikeout every 13.9 at bats.
Ben Carlson slugged two home runs in the season opener at Dallas Baptist, the 135th multi-homer game in school history.
It was the second multiple home run game in his career, making him the 26th player at MSU to record more than one multi-homer game.
Of the remaining 25 players, nine appear among MSU's top 10 in career home runs.
Missouri State sent four true freshman pitchers to the mound Feb. 24 against Arkansas-Little Rock. Aaron Meade, J.C. Casey, Cody Aycock and Tyler Ryun combined for the nine-inning victory.
Missouri State established two school records for being hit by a pitch in the opener at Dallas Baptist. The Bears were beaned nine times, easily eclipsing the old school record of five.
Ryan Mantle tied the individual record by being hit three times. He now shares the mark with Jud Kindle.
The NCAA record for hit by pitches in a game is 10, done by Washington in 1998.
THE NATION'S ONLY
Missouri State enters 2008 with the distinction of being the only college program in America to have a pitcher drafted in the first round of the MLB Draft each of the last two seasons. Brett Sinkbeil was taken 19th overall in 2006 and southpaw Ross Detwiler went sixth in 2007. This year’s crop of draft-eligible Bears’ pitchers includes Jon Barnes, Kyle Boschert, Tim Clubb, Brant Combs, Matt Frevert, Austin Todd and Sean Toler.
The pitching staff returns its top four hurlers in terms of appearances last season, including Pat Doyle (25) and Austin Todd (23), who turned in the second and fifth highest appearance totals in MSU history, respectively.
CLOSING IN ON #900
Head Coach Keith Guttin enters the weekend with an 869-536 career record, leaving him 31 wins short of 900 for his career.
Missouri State has had an inning of at least five runs six times so far this season. By comparison, last year's club had just 11 innings all season when it scored five or more runs.
Missouri State welcomes 12 newcomers to the program this season, including seven freshmen and five transfers.
KEEP AN EYE ON...
Kyle Paul. The Bears' senior catcher appears on the Brooks Wallace Award watch list, which is given annually to the nation's top player.
The Bears bring back most of their power hitters from the 2007 season. In all, seven of the team’s top eight home run hitters and 36 of last year’s 44 total long balls are on the roster in 2008.
The Bears are set for four TV games this season on Mediacom Channel 14 in Springfield. All four games will be played at Hammons Field, and the schedule is listed below:
Date Opponent Time
April 1 Arkansas 7:06 p.m.
April 9 Missouri 7:06 p.m.
April 25 Illinois State 7:06 p.m.
May 9 Middle Tennessee 7:06 p.m.
MSU baseball broadcasts will once again air on KWTO and KBFL this season, with a total of 41 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 Iowa.
All broadcasts can be heard live over the internet by visiting www.radiospringfield.com.
A complete listing of this year’s radio broadcasts can be found on page 3.
The Bears enter the 2008 campaign picked to finish fourth in the MVC by the league's coaches. Wichita State is the favorite to repeat as champions, followed by Creighton and Southern Illinois. UNI and Evansville round out the teams projected to make the MVC Tournament field of six.
2008 Player Notes
1 Nolan Keane - Homered and had three RBIs at Texas-Arlington (2/23) ... Stole a pair of bases, scored twice and drove in two runs against Arkansas-Little Rock (2/24) ... Went 3-for-4 and reached safely five times at Central Arkansas (2/29) ... Went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer against Central Arkansas (3/2)
4 Curt Courtwright - Had two hits and an RBI at Dallas Baptist (2/22)
5 Brayden Drake - Finished 3-for-6 with three runs and two RBIs at Central Arkansas (3/1)
7 Ryan Mantle - Doubled twice and drove in two runs at Central Arkansas (3/1)
9 Josh Mazzola - Went 2-for-6 with home run in the win over UALR (2/24) ... Logged a two-hit game with a double at Central Arkansas (3/2)
10 Alex Pickett - Hit a pinch-hit two-run single in his only plate appearance against UALR (2/24) ... Knocked in the game-winning run with a pinch-hit single against Central Arkansas (2/29)
11 Aaron Conway - Had three hits, scored twice and stole two bases at Texas-Arlington (2/23)
14 Cody Aycock - Allowed three hits in 2.2 innings of relief to pick up the win against UALR (2/24)
15 Ben Carlson - Homered twice, drove in four runs and scored three at Dallas Baptist (2/22) ... Hit a home run, a double and scored twice against Texas-Arlington (2/23) ... Had a three-hit game against Central Arkansas (2/29) ... Belted a two-run homer at Central Arkansas (3/2)
16 Kyle Paul - Named to the Brooks Wallace Award watch list
21 Matt Frevert - Tossed two scoreless innings for the win at Central Arkansas (2/29)
24 Ben Woodbury - Went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored at Dallas Baptist (2/22) ... Had three hits and four RBIs in the win at Texas-Arlington (2/23) ... Went 4-for-5, drove in two runs and stole home versus UALR (2/24) ... MVC Player of the Week (2/25) ... Ping! Baseball Spotlight Performance of the Week (2/25) ... College Baseball Insider Central Region Player of the Week (2/27)
25 Dallas Hord - Went 3-for-4, including his first career home run, and scored twice at Central Arkansas (2/29)
26 Aaron Meade - Went 3.2 innings and allowed just one hit while striking out five in a start against UALR (2/24) ... Allowed five hits and a run over five innings to earn the win at Central Arkansas (3/1)
27 Sean Toler - Struck out two batters in a scoreless inning at Central Arkansas (3/2)
30 Kyle Boschert - Earned the victory with three innings of two-hit relief at Texas-Arlington (2/23)
31 Chris Playter - Hit a pinch-hit double and scored twice versus UALR (2/24) ... Went 3-for-6 with four RBIs, a triple and three runs scored versus Central Arkansas (3/1)
34 J.C. Casey - Threw a perfect inning of relief against Central Arkansas (3/2)