Bears Set to Renew Oldest Rivalry Tuesday in Cape Girardeau



March 10, 2014

Missouri State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Missouri State Bears (8-5) at SEMO Redhawks (9-6)
Tuesday, March 11
First Pitch: 3 p.m.
Location: Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Site: Capaha Park (2,000)
Series Histories: MSU leads 63-38
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM (Art Hains)
Live Audio:
Live Video: None
Twitter: @MSUBearBaseball

Leading Off
After dropping back-to-back games for the first time in 2014, the Missouri State Bears (8-5) will conclude their season-opening 14-game road odyssey Tuesday (March 11) afternoon with a 3 p.m. game against the SEMO Redhawks at Capaha Park in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

The Bears knocked off Abilene Christian 12-3 Friday, but suffered a tough-luck 6-5 setback at UT Arlington Saturday, then fell to Utah by a 7-3 score Sunday at the UTA Hilton Invitational. SEMO stopped a four-game slide by sweeping a three-game OVC series from Belmont over the weekend and enters Tuesday's game with a 9-6 overall mark for the season.

Prime 9
♦ Southeast Missouri State has been Missouri State's most frequent opponent over the five-decade history of the Bears' program, as Tuesday's game marks the 102nd meeting of the two schools in a series that dates back to May 9, 1964; MSU holds a commanding 63-38 advantage in the series with SEMO, including a 27-22 edge on the Redhawks' home field
♦ The Bears have won three straight in the series with SEMO, including an 8-1 victory two years ago in their last trip to Cape Girardeau; Since 2002, MSU has claimed seven of the 11 meetings at Capaha Park and is 29-12 against the Redhawks as a Division I foe during the tenure of head coach Keith Guttin
♦ MSU's offense has been at its best against SEMO over the past decade, averaging 8.9 runs per outing to claim 12 of the last 15 meetings in the series
♦ The Bears lead the Valley in slugging percentage (.449) and rank second in home runs (9) as a club; last year's team clubbed just 13 long balls for the season and did not hit No. 9 until April 24
Tate Matheny is riding a nine-game hitting streak--a season-long for a Bear--and would record his fourth streak of at least 10 games in his MSU career with a hit Tuesday
♦ Matheny posted a career game vs. SEMO last March, going 4-for-6 with a school-record-tying three doubles and two runs scored in the Bears' 11-4 triumph
Eric Cheray leads the MVC in triples (2), while also ranking among the Valley's top 10 in total bases (4th), hits (4th), home runs (5th), RBIs (6th), runs scored (7th) and slugging percentage (10th)
♦ MSU has recorded at least 12 hits in seven of its 13 games after reaching the same mark just 10 times over the course of its 54-game 2013 schedule; the Bears' 51 extra-base hits leads all MVC clubs with this weekend's opponent, Dallas Baptist, ranking second with 46 for the year
♦ Four different Bears--Patrick Drake, Dylan Becker, Matt Fultz and Conor Smith--have accounted for 21 of MSU's 36 doubles this season, with all ranking among the top five individuals in the Valley in two-base hits

Series Histories
The Redhawks have been the Bears' most-common opponent over the course of the 51-year history of the Missouri State program. MSU holds a 63-38 edge in the series, which dates back to 1964, the Bears' first year as a varsity program.

The Bears have taken nine of the last 12 meetings in the series over the last seven years, including an 11-4 victory in Springfield last season.

The Road Goes on Forever...
As it stands currently, the Bears will play at least their first 14 games on the road (weather permitting), which would represent their longest stretch away from home to start any season in the 51-year history of the program. Including the last six games of the 2013 season, Missouri State will have played 20 games since their last home date by the time the gates at Hammons Field open on Friday for the first time in 2014. During that time, the Bears will have traveled nearly 5,900 miles and played in seven different cities. That stretch marks the Bears' longest stint away from home since a 22-game swing extending from MSU's postseason run to the College World Series in 2003 through the first six games of the 2004 campaign.

Winter Weather Woes
Missouri State has seen six games affected by weather so far in 2014, including the postponement of the Bears' home opener on three different occasions over the last two weeks. MSU, which has lost five home dates to weather, has rescheduled one of its two games against Arkansas State--originally slated for March 4-5--for March 26. Furthermore, the 13 games the Bears have been able to get in have been staged in less than agreeable conditions, with an average temperature of 54 degrees at first pitch, including five different games that have started with a mercury reading of 48 degrees or less.

Additionally, MSU's first home game will mark the latest calendar date for a Bears' home opener since the 1980 season, which did not start until the third week of March. That Bears' squad opened at home against North Dakota on April 3, marking the second latest start to a home slate in school history. The only later start occurred in 1965, when MSU didn't play a home game until May 1.

Getting Offensive
Missouri State has recorded at least 12 hits in seven of its 13 games after reaching the same mark just 10 times over the course of its 54-game 2013 schedule. The Bears have seen their power numbers climb significantly as well, logging nine homers and a Missouri Valley Conference best 51 extra-base hits for a .449 team slugging percentage after registering just 13 long balls and slugging just .346 as a club last spring. So far in 2014, the Bears have recorded at least six extra-base hits on five different occasions, just one year removed from an offense that accomplished the feat just once last season.

MSU pounded out 33 hits in its two wins over Northern Illinois to open play at the Lobo Invite (Feb. 21-22), logging 19 safeties in a 9-8 game one win, then battered the Huskies for 14 hits the following afternoon in an 11-0 pasting. The Bears recorded six extra-base hits in the first contest, and 10 in the second to finish with 28 total bases -- their best single-game total since registering 33 bases in an 11-inning game against Bradley at the 2012 MVC Tournament. MSU's eight doubles in game two vs. NIU also represented their best single-game total in nearly a decade, with their last eight-double outburst coming April 11, 2004 vs. UNI.



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