March 13, 2014
Missouri State Game Notes
Missouri State Bears (8-6) vs. Dallas Baptist Patriots (12-4)
Dates/Times: Friday, March 14 - 3:05 p.m.
Saturday, March 15 - 2:05 p.m.
Sunday, March 16 - 1:05 p.m.
Location: Springfield, Mo.
Site: Hammons Field (8,000)
Series Histories: Tied 4-4
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM (Art Hains)
Live Audio: RadioSpringfield.com
Live Video: None
With their season-opening 14-game road swing finally complete, the Missouri State Bears (8-6) return to the friendly confines of Hammons Field to open the home portion of their 2014 season with a three-game non-conference series against the Dallas Baptist Patriots (12-4). The two clubs, who will meet again in Dallas for their three-game Missouri Valley Conference series in May, are slated to square off this weekend at 3:05 p.m. Friday (March 14), 2:05 p.m. Saturday and 1:05 p.m. Sunday.
The Bears enter Friday's series opener against the newest MVC member having dropped three straight games for the first time this season. MSU has lost a pair of one-run games to UT Arlington and SEMO, as well as a 7-3 setback to Utah Sunday at the UTA Hilton Invitational. Dallas Baptist, meanwhile, is riding a three-game win streak after taking two of three contests from Oral Roberts last weekend, followed by a Monday victory over BYU.
♦ Missouri State is 6-4 in home openers at Hammons Field and 161-91 (.639) overall in its 10 seasons at the facility; The Bears have won 39 of their previous 50 home openers overall
♦ The Bears have won all four of their weekend openers this season after going 12-4 in the first games of tournaments or series in 2013
♦ MSU's offense has plated an average of 9.8 runs in the Bears' four wins vs. DBU, but just 4.3 in their four losses
♦ Missouri State has recorded at least 12 hits in seven of its 14 games after reaching the same mark just 10 times over the course of its 54-game 2013 schedule; the Bears' 56 extra-base hits lead all MVC clubs, with Dallas Baptist ranking second with 51 for the year
♦ The Bears lead the Valley in slugging percentage (.449) and rank second in home runs (10) as a club; last year's team clubbed just 13 long balls for the season and did not hit No. 10 until April 26
♦ Tate Matheny is riding a 10-game hitting streak to mark his fourth streak of at least 10 games in just 65 career contests as a Bear
♦ Matheny is a career .396 (40-for-101) hitter in 23 games at Hammons Field, while Conor Smith has batted .343 (23-for-67) at home over his three-year career as a Bear; on the mound, Clay Murphy is 8-2 with a 2.89 ERA at home over the course of his MSU career
♦ In his last three starts at home, Cody Schumacher has worked at least 8.0 innings each time out, allowing just two runs on 11 hits while striking out 23 and walking just four over a total of 25.0 innings; the senior is 4-1 with a 3.40 ERA over eight career starts at Hammons Field
♦ Four different Bears--Patrick Drake, Dylan Becker, Matt Fultz and Conor Smith--have accounted for 24 of MSU's 39 doubles this season, with all ranking among the top seven individuals in the Valley in two-base hits
The Bears and Patriots have split their previous eight meetings, all coming in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. DBU took two of three games from MSU two seasons ago in Dallas, claiming 6-5 and 10-6 wins, while the Bears managed an 8-4 victory in the middle game of the series. Prior to that series, the Bears had won two straight from the Patriots, including a 17-3 win in Arlington three years ago.
After 14 games away from home over the first month of the season, the Bears will finally open their 11th season at Hammons Field this weekend. MSU will also be looking for its fourth-straight win in a home opener and its seventh opening-day victory at Hammons. Last year, the Bears clipped Northwestern, in their home opener en route to an 8-1 start to the home season.
Missouri State has been hard to beat at home throughout its occupancy at Hammons Field, especially over the last three seasons. The Bears have gone a combined 51-23 (.689) at home since the beginning of the 2011 season, registering an 18-5 mark three years ago, before wrapping up the 2012 season with a 19-9 mark and finishing 14-9 at Hammons last spring. The Bears' record in their first home series has been even more impressive, as MSU has gone a combined 15-3 over the last six seasons in its initial home set. Overall, the Bears have compiled a 161-91 (.639) home record in 10 years at Hammons Field.
A Family Affair
Missouri State junior outfielder Cory Kay will encounter a familiar face this weekend when Dallas Baptist makes its first visit to Hammons Field. Kay, one of three Division I playing siblings in his family, will square off against younger brother Gunnar, a freshman pitcher for the Patriots who has yet to see action this season. The duo's older brother, Brett, was a standout shortstop at Illinois State, concluding his collegiate career by earning First-Team All-MVC and MVC Defensive Player of the Year honors last spring.
Double Your Pleasure
The Bears have seen their power numbers climb significantly, having logged 10 homers and a Missouri Valley Conference best 56 extra-base hits for a .449 team slugging percentage through their first 14 games 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. Four different Bears -- Dylan Becker (7), Patrick Drake (6), Matt Fultz (6) and Conor Smith (5) -- have accounted for 24 of MSU's league-leading 39 doubles this season, with all ranking among the top seven individuals in the Valley in two-base hits.
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.