MSU Looks to Rebound From Tough Road Stretch vs. Red-Hot Red Wolves
March 26, 2014
Missouri State Game Notes
Missouri State Bears (9-13) vs. Arkansas State Red Wolves (14-10)
Date: Wednesday, March 26 - 5:35 p.m.
Location: Springfield, Mo.
Site: Hammons Field (8,000)
Series History: MSU leads 37-22
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM (Art Hains)
Live Audio: RadioSpringfield.com
After opening Missouri Valley Conference play this past weekend, the Missouri State Bears will play a pair of midweek non-conference games, traveling to Stillwater to meet the Oklahoma State Cowboys Tuesday (March 25) evening before returning to Hammons Field to open a five-game homestand against the Arkansas State Red Wolves (13-10) Wednesday at 5:35 p.m.
The Bears halted a nine-game losing streak with their 4-3 win over Wichita State Sunday, rallying for a run in the top of the ninth inning after the Shockers had pulled even in the bottom of the eighth. Oklahoma State dropped two of its three road Big 12 games with Baylor over the weekend, while Arkansas State took two of three from UT Arlington. The Red Wolves have won eight of their last 10 contests after starting the year 6-8.
♦ MSU holds a commanding 37-22 edge over Arkansas State; the Bears are 17-9 at home vs. the Red Wolves
♦ MSU has won two of its last three games at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium after going winless in its first six games at the venue
♦ Tate Matheny recorded his 100th career hit Sunday and has at least one hit in 16 of his last 17 games
♦ Matheny and fellow sophomore Spencer Johnson combined to go 7-for-17 (.412) with a home run and six RBIs in two games vs. Arkansas State last year
♦ Tuesday's anticipated starter Clay Murphy is 3-1 with a 2.15 ERA in six career outings vs. the Cowboys
♦ MSU is 7-0 when scoring six or more runs, but just 2-12 when tallying five runs of less
♦ The Bears lead the Valley in triples (7) and rank 28th nationally in doubles per game (2.05); MSU ranks second overall in the conference in total extra-base hits (60)
♦ Joey Hawkins's 6 SAC bunts lead the Valley in rank 25th in all of Division I baseball
♦ Trey Hair has hits in four of his last five at-bats after going 0-for-7 to start his collegiate career
Oklahoma State enters Tuesday's game with a 9-6 advantage over the Bears in a series that dates back to 1987. The Cowboys claimed a 6-0 victory last week in the two clubs' first meeting of the season in Springfield and have won three straight from the Bears under second-year head coach Josh Holliday. MSU, just 2-6 vs. OSU in Stillwater, suffered a 5-4 setback to the Cowboys in their last trip to Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in March 2013.
The Bears split their 2013 season series with Arkansas State, taking a 6-2 win in extra innings before dropping a 7-5 decision in Jonesboro last March. MSU has won 17 of the previous 26 meetings in Springfield, including both games played by the two clubs at Hammons Field in 2012. Head coach Keith Guttin has enjoyed a successful run against ASU over the years, going 34-19 in the series since 1990.
Fresh Look Boosts Bears' Lineup
Missouri State's offense received a lift from a pair of freshmen over the weekend in Wichita, as Aaron Meyer and Trey Hair combined to go 9-for-22 (.409) at the plate in the Bears' three-game Valley opening series with WSU. Hair, who drew his first four starting assignments as a Bear this past week, logged his first collegiate hit Saturday as part of MSU's ninth-inning scoring rally. The Firth, Neb., product was even better in the Bears' win Sunday, going 3-for-4 with a key two-run single to finish the week as MSU's leading hitter with a .364 average. Meyer checked in as the club's second-leading hitter with a .357 mark for the week, thanks to a pair of two-hit games versus the Shockers. His ninth-inning double Sunday initiated the Bears' game-winning rally, as the Millstadt, Ill., native came around to score the go-ahead run on Matt Dezort's pinch-hit single.
After being outscored by a 19-1 margin in the ninth inning over their first 19 games of the season, the Bears rallied to score in the final frame of each of their last two games against Wichita State over the weekend. Sunday's victory also turned the tables for MSU, which dropped all three games with Dallas Baptist a week earlier after the Patriots scored in the ninth to snap scoreless ties in each contest.
Powers Leads Powerful Pen Performance
Missouri State relied on its bullpen in putting an end to its recent skid, as senior right-hander Jake Powers came through with 5.2 solid innings of relief in the Bears' 4-3 win Sunday at Wichita State. Powers earned his first win of the season after allowing just one unearned run on three hits, despite issuing a career-high five walks to go along with five strikeouts. In all three MSU relievers held the Shockers to five hits and just the one run over 7.1 innings. Four Bears hurlers dealt a total of 196 pitches, thanks to a season-high 10 walks. But junior Adam Anawalt closed out the victory with a scoreless ninth for his fourth save after MSU rallied to score the go-ahead run in the top half of the frame. The Bears' relief corps carried a heavy load in the series, combining to limit the Shockers to just one earned run in 10.0 innings over the final two games.
Taking One for the Team
Junior shortstop Joey Hawkins enters the week with an MVC high six sacrifice bunts on the season, good for 25th in all of Division I baseball. The act of self-sacrifice is nothing new for the Whitby, Ontario native, who moved into a tie for third place on the Bears' career list with his sixth sac bunt of the season Sunday at Wichita State. Hawkins matched the career totals of Travis McComack and Brooks Colvin with his 20th sacrifice and needs just three more to catch teammate Eric Cheray in the No. 2 spot. The MSU duo ranks first and second on the Bears' single-season chart, with Cheray holding the record with 14 SACs in 2012, and Hawkins right on his tail with 13 last spring. The Bears have used the sacrifice much more readily in recent years, with five of the top six single-season totals in program history coming within the last decade.