March 18, 2013
Missouri State Game Notes
Missouri State Bears (13-5) at New Mexico Lobos (8-10)
Dates/Times: Tuesday, March 19 (DH)
First Pitch: 3 p.m. (Central)
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Site: Isotopes Park (11,124)
Series History: New Mexico leads 10-7
Live Audio and Video: Bears All-Access
After logging their second straight home series win over the weekend, the Missouri State Bears head west for a two-game midweek set against the New Mexico Lobos in Albuquerque. The two clubs will meet at Isotopes Park for a doubleheader at 3 p.m. Tuesday (March 19).
MSU took two of three games from Western Illinois over the weekend to improve to 13-5 on the season. The Bears' start is one game ahead of their pace from a year ago when they breached the 40-win plateau for the ninth time en route to an NCAA Regional appearance.
New Mexico (8-10) snapped out of a recent funk to claim its Mountain West Conference opening series against nationally-ranked UNLV over the weekend. The Lobos took two of three games from the Rebels after dropping three of their previous four contests.
After returning from The Land of Enchantment, the Bears will enjoy the lone weekend break in their schedule this weekend. MSU will then host Kansas (March 26) and SEMO (March 27), before opening Missouri Valley Conference play March 29 against defending league champ Indiana State at Hammons Field.
♦New Mexico brings a 10-7 series lead over the Bears into Tuesday's action
♦Bears' starters have recorded a 2.04 ERA and 104 strikeouts over 106.0 innings of work
♦Missouri State pitchers have posted a 2.61 team ERA through the first 18 games of the season
♦The Bears are 3-1 in extra-inning games and 6-1 in one-run contests this season
♦With 1,045 wins as Bears' head coach, Keith Guttin enters the week 14th on the NCAA's Division I active coaching victories list and 41st on the NCAA's all-time Division I victories list
♦RHP Grant Gordon's 68 career pitching appearances ranks fourth on MSU's all-time list, just two shy of Chris Krawczyk in the third spot
♦OF Tate Matheny leads all MVC freshmen in batting (.394), hits (28), RBIs (14) and home runs (2)
♦MSU freshmen Andy Cheray, Matt Hall and Jon Harris have combined to strike out 39 batters, allowing just seven earned runs over 39.0 innings pitched, good for an ERA of 1.62
♦C Luke Voit brings a career-high eight-game hit streak into the week and has reached base safely in 13 straight contests, which also marks a personal best for the senior
This year's trip to Albuquerque marks the Bears' seventh visit to the Lobos home turf, but their first venture to New Mexico since 1987. The Lobos hold a 10-7 lead in the series, including a 10-2 win vs. MSU in the two clubs' last meeting in 2003.
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 Lobos
New Mexico returns 17 letterwinners from last year's club that went 37-24 and captured the Mountain West title. Head coach Ray Birmingham's squad relies on a potent offense that enters the week hitting .317, slugging .458 and averaging nearly eight runs as a club. Leading the way is junior All-American D.J. Peterson, who has already clubbed 10 homers and driven in 30 runs. The third baseman is slugging over 1.000 and has accounted for 59 runs (29 runs scored, 30 RBIs). Fellow All-American candidate Mitch Garver gives the Lobos a strong one-two punch with Peterson in the middle of the lineup. The senior catcher is hitting .342, while junior outfielder Chase Harris is second on the squad with a .356 mark to go along with six steals. The UNM lineup boasts four additional regulars hitting above the .300 mark, including Luke Campbell (.325, 19 RBIs) and Alex Real (.328).
On the mound, New Mexico relies on a deep bullpen, led by junior right-hander Josh Walker (1-0, 3.10 ERA, 3 saves). Taylor Duree (0-0, 0.00 ERA) and Gabe Aguilar (2-1, 2.25 ERA) have also been strong for the Lobos, while LHP Alex Estrella (0-0, 3.00) is expected to make his second start of the years against the Bears Tuesday. Freshman RHP Drew Bridges (0-0, 5.14 ERA) is slated to start the nightcap for a staff that has recorded a 5.22 team ERA to date.
Just 18 games into the 2013 season, the Bears have already turned in a series of heart-stopping finishes to match their best start to a season since 2002. Missouri State has already taken four games into extra frames this season after playing just four extra-inning games all of last year. The Bears set the tone in their season opener, needing 11 innings to pull out a 3-2 win at Texas State. Earlier this week they took Arkansas State to 11 innings as well, and have also played 10-inning games against Oklahoma State (March 5) and Northwestern (March 8), posting wins in three of the four games.
Additionally, the Bears have recorded walk-off wins in three games (Feb. 24 vs. Eastern Illinois and March 8 and 10 vs. Northwestern) and have claimed victories with scoring rallies in their last at-bat in a total of five contests to date (including the 11-inning road wins at Texas State and Arkansas State). MSU also lost in walk-off fashion March 5 at No. 27 Oklahoma State, dropping a 5-4 decision on a walk-off, bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Petree Climbing the Charts
Junior right-hander Nick Petree, notched his 22nd win as a Bear with MSU's 3-2 win over Western Illinois last Friday. Petree moved into sole possession of fifth place on the Bears' career victories list, surpassing the MSU win totals of Tim Clubb (2007-09), Scott Geitz (1995-98) and Ken Watkins (1967-70). The Clinton, Mo., product needs one more win to climb to third on the chart. Brad Ziegler (2000-03) heads the list with 32 victories.
Petree also moved up to sixth on MSU's career win percentage list (.786) as well as the Bears' all-time innings pitched chart (244.1). With nine K's over eight innings vs. Western Illinois, Petree moved up to fifth in the Bears' career top 10 for strikeouts (229). He needs just 15 more K's to climb to fourth and just 18 additional punchouts to reach the third spot on the chart.
In Rare Company
With last Friday's win over Western Illinois, head coach Keith Guttin moved past Mark Johnson (Texas A&M, Sam Houston State) for the 41st spot on the NCAA's all-time Division coaching victories list. Guttin, who enters the week with a career record of 1,045-657 (.614), also ranks 14th on the NCAA's Division I active coaching wins list.
Guttin became the 46th Division I baseball coach and the third Valley mentor to reach the 1,000 career-win mark with MSU's 3-2 victory at Northwestern State on March 3, 2012. He is the first coach at Missouri State in any sport to reach the milestone and the 20th Division I baseball coach to accomplish the feat while guiding just one school.