Friday, April 2, 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 3, 2 p.m.
Sunday, April 4, 1 p.m.Site:
J.L. Johnson Stadium (Friday and Saturday)
Hammons Field (Sunday)Location:
Tulsa, Okla. (Friday and Saturday)
Springfield, Mo. (Sunday)TV:
KBFL 99.9 FM (Friday)
KBFL 1060 AM (Sat. and Sun.)Live Audio:
www.ORUGoldenEagles.com (at ORU only)Live Chat:
What's On Tap
The Missouri State baseball team (8-16, 1-2 Missouri Valley) will play a unique weekend home-and-home series with Oral Roberts (11-10, 0-0 Summit) this week, beginning with a 7 p.m. Friday contest at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa. The Bears and Golden Eagles will play at 2 p.m. Saturday in ORU's home park before completing the series Sunday at 1 p.m. at Hammons Field.
This is the second attempt to play the weekend home-and-home after last season's series was altered to a Sunday doubleheader in Springfield because the first two games in Tulsa were snowed out.
Oral Roberts is 11-10 overall and enters the MSU series on a six-game win streak that includes a pair of wins over Wichita State and a victory at No. 7 Texas.
The Golden Eagles bat .277 as a team with four starters above the .300 mark. Colby Price leads the club with a .349 average, Seth Furmanek has a team-high six homers and Chris Elder holds the RBI lead at 25.
ORU pitchers have a 6.02 ERA and .292 opponent average. The Bears will likely face Drew Bowen (2-2, 9.38 ERA), Bryce Smolen (2-1, 4.78) and Furmanek (2-0, 4.67) in the three games. Mark Guest is the team's inning leader with 36.0 over four starts and nine appearances.
ORU holds a 24-11 lead in the all-time series, though Missouri State has won the last three meetings, all in Springfield. Last season, the Bears won by scores of 10-1 and 3-2 while holding the Golden Eagles to five hits in the two games.
Coach Keith Guttin
Missouri State head coach Keith Guttin (Missouri-St. Louis, 1978) is in his 28th season as head coach of the baseball Bears and has a career record of 946-589 (.616). Guttin became the first coach at Missouri State (in any sport) to reach the 900-win mark with the May 11, 2008, win over Middle Tennessee 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 10 times with four 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 14 years.
Last Time Out
Missouri State dropped a 7-6 game at Kansas on Wednesday, clawing back from a 6-0 deficit after two innings.
Beau Stoker's two-out single in the eighth made the score 6-4 before KU added an insurance homer in the bottom of the inning for a 7-4 lead.
In the ninth, Kevin Medrano lashed an RBI double and Luke Voit hit a sac fly to make it 7-6 and push Medrano to third base when the final out was recorded.
• Missouri State is hitting .346 over the last six games.
• Missouri State pitchers have struck out 191 batters in 209 innings this season, an average of 8.22 strikeouts per nine innings, and lead the MVC in both categories.
The Bears rank 46th nationally in Ks/9 according to the most recent NCAA stat update for game through March 28.
• Aaron Meade, Pat Doyle, Grant Gordon, Mike Kickham, Pierce Johnson and Clay Murphy have each struck out at least eight batters in a game this season.
• Missouri State boasts four of the league's top eight strikeout pitchers in Meade (2nd), Gordon (3rd), Kickham (4th) and Doyle (8th).
• Five Bears - Meade, Kickham, Gordon, J.C. Casey and Tyler Ryun - have posted a pitching performance of at least seven scoreless innings in their careers.
• Missouri State's team ERA has stayed level or dropped following 18 of the last 22 games.
• The MSU pitching staff has a 3.94 ERA and .279 opponent average over the last 20 games.
• Despite hitting 30 points lower than the opposition this season, the MSU offense has generated more extra-base hits (63-58) and loaded the bases nearly twice as much as (33-19) opponents in 2010.
• Missouri State started the season 0-4 for the fourth time in school history and 0-5 for just the second time since the program's inception in 1964.
The slow start is not necessarily a bad thing, as the Bears rebounded from an 0-5 start in 1997 to make the NCAA Tournament, and an 0-4 start in 2009 to win the MVC title.
The other 0-4 start came in 1964, the program's first season of existence.
• MSU has dropped five consecutive extra inning games dating to a 13-inning win over Middle Tennessee on May 11, 2008.
Home Sweet Home
Missouri State is 7-4 at home this season and 104-61 all-time at Hammons Field.
The Bears are hitting .300 as a team in their home park and fielding .973, while the pitching staff has a 3.06 ERA and limits opponents to a .250 batting average.
Hard Luck Bears
Missouri State has played in 11 games this season decided in the final at bat, coming out on the short end nine times.
The Bears have suffered four walk-off losses and have sent the winning run to the plate in the ninth another five times.
MSU also has two wins this season when the opponent brought the winning run up in the ninth. If those outcomes were reversed, the Bears would be 15-9 and sitting atop the MVC standings at 3-0.
The Missouri State and UT Arlington pitching staffs combined to set an NCAA record with 43 strikeouts in their Feb. 26 game in Arlington. The previous mark was set at 41 in a 1994 game between Arkansas and Auburn.
Four separate pitchers struck out at least eight hitters in the 14-inning contest, and UTA also tied an NCAA all-division record by tossing 26 strikeouts as a staff.
Strength of Schedule
Missouri State's 2010 opponents are a combined 283-218 (.565) through March 31.
Bears on TV
Missouri State will have three games this season televised live on Mediacom Connection Channel 22 in Springfield. Mediacom will broadcast games against Missouri (April 14, 6:30 p.m.), Illinois State (May 7, 6:30 p.m.) and Southern Illinois (May 22, 2 p.m.).
Players of the Week
Grant Gordon was the first Bear of the season honored with an MVC weekly award when he was named the league's pitcher of the week on March 1. Gordon pitched seven innings of scoreless relief and struck out eight batters in MSU's 14-inning game at UT Arlington the on Feb. 26.
The Bears swept the league's weekly awards March 8 with Christian Overstreet winning Player of the Week and Mike Kickham being honored as the league's top pitcher.
Overstreet batted .727 (8-for-11), slugged 1.455 and reached base safely 14 times in 17 trips to the plate. He hit two homers, two doubles, drove in six runs and scored seven while adding a stolen base, five walks, one HBP and an outfield assist.
Kickham pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out 10 against five hits to defeat North Dakota State. He took a one-hitter through five innings and fanned seven Bison hitters over his last three frames.
Voit won the award March 29 after hitting .550 with 13 RBIs in five games. The freshman had four multi-RBI games and three multi-hit outings while slugging two homers and three doubles.
MissouriStateBears.com will have a live chat for select home games, offering updates and giving fans a chance to make comments or questions during the game.
Check the Bears Live or baseball schedule pages for the listing and chat icons to participate.
MSU baseball broadcasts again air on KBFL this season, with a total of 43 scheduled regular season games and all postseason action. Art Hains and Rob Evans will describe the action.
As a general rule, night games will be broadcast on 99.9 FM and day games on 1060 AM.
All broadcasts can be heard live over the internet by visiting www.RadioSpringfield.com.
Up-to-date schedule and station assignments, as well as links to listen live, can be found on the baseball schedule page of www.MissouriStateBears.com.
New Tourney Format
The 2010 State Farm MVC Tournament will have a new look, welcoming all eight league members to Wichita the final week of May.
This year's version will divide the eight teams into two pods based on regular season finish. Each four-team bracket will be a double-elimination format, with the winners squaring off in a one-game championship on Saturday evening.
Three Bears made the preseason all-MVC team while Aaron Meade was honored as a preseason third-team All-American by Ping!Baseball.
Joining Meade on the all-conference squad are junior outfielder Aaron Conway and 2009 MVC Freshman of the Year Kevin Medrano at second base.