Dates: Tue., Apr. 12 vs. Arkansas, 6:30 p.m.
Site: Hammons Field
Location: Springfield, Mo.
TV: Friday - MC 22 in Springfield
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM
Live Audio: www.RadioSpringfield.com
Live Stats: www.MissouriStateBears.com
Live Video: Bears Live - www.MissouriStateBears.com
The Missouri State baseball team (19-11, 2-1 Missouri Valley Conference) closes its four-game homestand Tuesday by hosting 16th-ranked Arkansas (23-8) at 6:30 p.m. at Hammons Field. The Bears are looking to snap a seven-game losing streak to Arkansas before traveling to Carbondale, Ill., for a three-game weekend series with MVC-leading Southern Illinois.
Nine things to know about the Bears against Arkansas...
1. Arkansas leads the all-time series 48-22 and has won the last seven meetings. MSU's last victories came in 2006 when the Bears swept the season home-and-home series.
2. MSU's offense has hit at least .300 against 10 of the 16 teams the Bears have played this season while registering at least seven hits in all but one contest. Missouri State has totaled at least 10 hits in 22 games, matching its 2010 total of 10-hit games.
3. Missouri State is 10-5 this year in games decided by one or two runs, and has a 10-11 record in games in which it has trailed at any point.
4. Missouri State is 19-11 through 30 games, the eighth time since 1995 the Bears have won at least 19 times in their first 30 tries. MSU has had great success the previous seven times, averaging 38 wins per season, posting an average MVC finish of 2.0 while making four NCAA Tournament appearances. The Bears also won two of their first three league games for the 14th time in 21 MVC seasons. The previous 13 times have resulted in an average league finish of 2.46.
5. The Bears are outscoring opponents 30-9 and hitting .341 in the first inning with a .444 on-base percentage. MSU has been even more dominant in the seventh, holding a 32-8 scoring advantage while hitting .349 and slugging .550.
6. Missouri State is hitting .316 against opposing starting pitchers. Starters have a 5.71 ERA against the Bears and average just 4.62 innings per start.
7. Missouri State's offense is hitting .313 this season, moving from last to first in the MVC and jumping 266 spots to 14th in the national rankings as of April 3, the largest improvement of any team in the country. Aaron Conway ranked sixth nationally in hits last week.
8. MSU has collected 11 pinch hits in 31 tries this season for a .355 average, while the opposition has a mere two pinch hits in 30 games and is batting .125 in those situations.
9. Keith Guttin is now 22 wins shy of the 1,000 mark in his 29th season at Missouri State.
Arkansas is 23-8 overall and 6-6 in SEC play after a home sweep of LSU over the weekend. The Razorbacks hit .274 as a team with four regulars above the .300 mark. UA has stolen 68 bases in 81 tries.
Arkansas pitchers have a 3.09 ERA and limit opponents to a .230 average. The Bears are schedule to see Ryne Stanek (1-0, 5.00 ERA) on Tuesday.
UA fields .962 with 45 errors in 31 games.
Coach Keith Guttin
Missouri State head coach Keith Guttin (Missouri-St. Louis, 1978) is in his 29th season as head coach of the baseball Bears and has a career record of 978-618 (.613). 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 15 years.
Last Time Out
Missouri State opened the conference season by taking a home series from Wichita State.
Friday, the Bears jumped ahead 8-0 behind a five-run seventh before holding on for an 8-6 win.
Saturday, WSU's Charle Lowell outdueled Grant Gordon as the game went scoreless into the eighth with the Shockers prevailing 3-1.
Missouri State overcame four separate deficits Sunday, scoring four in the seventh, capped by Luke Voit's pinch-hit three-run homer, to win 8-7.
• Missouri State closed the month of February with a winning record (4-3) for the fourth time in the 2000s. The Bears have gone on to win at least 40 games the other three times. MSU also had a winning February record in 1999, and though it failed to reach 40 wins, it did go 38-19 and make the NCAA Tournament.
• Juniors Kevin Medrano and Travis McComack have started 105 games together on the middle infield in their careers, combining to turn 49 double plays.
• Fourteen of the 27 players on Missouri State's roster did not see action for the Bears last season, and 12 of those are new to the program altogether.
• Missouri State has struck out 181 times in its first 30 games, or 6.19 per nine innings, a 31.4 percent decrease from its 2010 rate.
• The Bears went 29.2 innings from March 15-19 without allowing an earned run, and went 14 innings over three games from Feb. 26 to Mar. 1 without issuing a walk.
• Missouri State is holding opponents to a .243 batting average with runners in scoring position.
Home Sweet Home
Missouri State is 11-3 at home this season and 122-71 all-time at Hammons Field.
The Bears are hitting .333 as a team in their home park and fielding .964, while the pitching staff has a 3.74 ERA and limits opponents to a .261 batting average.
Strength of Schedule
Missouri State opponents are now 435-350 (.554) for games played through Apr. 10.
Players of the Week
Aaron Conway became Missouri State's first award winner of 2011 with an MVC Player of the Week nod March 7. Conway batted .650 (13-20) in four MSU wins, scoring seven runs with five doubles, three RBIs and three stolen bases.
Three Bears made the preseason all-MVC team while Kevin Medrano was honored as a preseason third-team All-American by College Baseball Lineup.
Joining Medrano on the all-conference squad were senior outfielder Aaron Conway and sophomore pitcher Grant Gordon.
All Missouri State games beginning March 15 and beyond will be broadcast on Meyer Communications stations with the exception of March 25 at Oral Roberts and April 1 and 2 at Saint Louis.
Art Hains and Rob Evans will describe the action on KBFL 1060 AM and live over the internet at www.RadioSpringfield.com. Up-to-date schedule and station assignments can be found on the baseball schedule page at www.MissouriStateBears.com.
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 Wichita State (April 8, 6:30 p.m.), Arkansas (April 12, 6:30 p.m.) and Missouri (May 3, 6:30 p.m.).