The Missouri State baseball team (17-12, 5-0 Missouri Valley Conference) heads to Normal, Ill., this weekend for a three-game set with Illinois State (14-9, 4-3). The Bears have won 13 times in their last 15 games, and picked up their third top-25 win of the year Wednesday versus No. 17 Oklahoma State. Game times at Duffy Bass Field are 6 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday.
Illinois State is 14-9 overall and 4-3 in the MVC. The Redbirds hit .276 as a team, with Evan Kohli leading the charge with a .366 average and 19 RBIs. ISU leads the MVC with 13 triples, but has hit just nine homers.
The pitching staff leads the MVC with a .254 opponent average and boasts a 4.78 ERA. Preseason all-MVC pick Ryan Copeland has a 3.18 ERA and allows opponents to hit .219, while Ryan Camp (3-1, 4.28) and Corey Maines (5-2, 3.14) round out the weekend rotation.
Illinois State has a .961 fielding percentage.
The Bears are 49-34 against Illinois State and have 13 of the last 16 meetings. The home team has swept the series each of the last two seasons.
LIVE STATS INFORMATION
Live stats for all Missouri State baseball games will be available at www.missouristatebears.com. Go to the “Fan Central” link on the left side of the page and select “Live Stats.”
AUDIO AND VIDEO COVERAGE
Coverage of the the midweek games will be as follows:
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM, online at www.radiospringfield.com
Video stream: None
COACH KEITH GUTTIN
Missouri State head coach Keith Guttin (Missouri-St. Louis, 1978) is in his 27th season as head coach of the baseball Bears and has a career record of 921-565 (.620). 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
The Bears won a pair of midweek games at Hammons Field, beating Arkansas-Little Rock 10-2 on Tuesday and downing No. 17 Oklahoma State 4-3 on Wednesday.
Missouri State opened the UALR game with two singles and a three-run homer from Ben Carlson to cruise to victory.
On Wednesday, Brayden Drake doubled in two runs in the first and Aaron Conway score on a wild pitch in the third for a 3-0 lead. The Cowboys battled back to tie it at 3-3, but Carlson doubled with two outs in the eighth, stole third and scored on an error for the winning run.
MINI SEASON TICKETS
Mini-season ticket plans are now on sale. Packages include tickets for 13 games at Hammons Field, including midweek contests with Oklahoma State, Missouri, Arkansas-Little Rock and Saint Louis and weekend series with Wichita State, UNI and Indiana State, all for a cost of only $80.
Ticket packages may be purchased in person at the JQH Arena box office, or by calling Missouri State Tix at (417) 836-7678 or 888-476-7849.
Missouri State has won 13 of its last 15 games, with both losses coming against Arkansas, which is currently ranked No. 1 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.
After opening the year with a 9.36 team ERA through six games, the MSU pitching staff has a 2.78 ERA and is allowing the opposition to hit just .236 in the 23 games since.
Bears starters are 15-3 with a 2.44 ERA and .218 opponent average in the last 23 games.
Missouri State's team ERA has dropped following 21 of the team's last 23 games.
The Bears have turned 26 double plays this season while hitting into 13.
Opposing starters have posted a 9.11 ERA against the Bears this season, while MSU starters have a 3.18 ERA and are allowing opponents to hit just .238.
MSU starters have accounted for 16 of the team's 17 wins.
Brayden Drake set a school record with his 30-game hitting streak that began April 27, 2008 and ended March 29 of this season. The streak ranks seventh in MVC history.
Drake has collected a hit in 72 of his last 80 games.
Tim Clubb has left 20 of his last 21 starts in line for the victory.
Buddy Baumann started the 2009 season with 22 scoreless innings.
Five MSU pitchers; Tim Clubb, Buddy Baumann, Aaron Meade, J.C. Casey and Tyler Ryun, have starts of at least six scoreless innings in their careers.
The Bears' weekend rotation of Tim Clubb, Buddy Baumann and Aaron Meade have combined for a 42-16 record in their collective careers.
They have struck out 438 hitters over 494.1 innings.
The Bears have nine different players with at least 12 RBIs this season and seven with at least 16.
Missouri State has outscored the opposition 146-76 in the first five innings this season, and slugged 19 of the team's 28 homers in the first four.
Missouri State has allowed 47 unearned runs through 29 games, an average of 1.62 per contest, but is outscoring the opposition overall by 56 runs, or 1.93 per game.
In terms of earned runs, the Bears have outscored the opposition 199-116 this year, a margin of 2.86 per contest.
Missouri State is 12-2 on the year when making one or zero errors.
Missouri State leads the MVC with just eight stolen bases allowed 29 games. Catcher Dallas Hord has thrown out nine of 16 potential base stealers.
The next closest MVC team has allowed 17 steals this year.