Bears Host Big 12 Foes Kansas and Missouri at Hammons Field
Dates: Tuesday, Apr. 13, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, Apr. 14, 6:35 p.m.
Site: Hammons Field
Location: Springfield, Mo.
TV: Mediacom 22 (Wednesday)
Radio: KBFL 99.9 FM
Live Audio: www.RadioSpringfield.com
Live Stats: www.MissouriStateBears.com
Live Video: Bears Live
Live Chat: www. MissouriStateBears.com (Wednesday)
What's On Tap
The Missouri State baseball team (12-19, 1-5 Missouri Valley) hosts a pair of Big 12 schools this week with Kansas (19-13-1, 3-5-1) coming to Hammons Field Tuesday and Missouri (18-13, 3-6) making a visit Wednesday. First pitch for both games is 6:30 p.m. MSU has had the most success of any MVC school against the Big 12 the past two years, leading the league in wins (4) and winning percentage (.500).
Kansas is 19-13-1 on the season a 3-5-1 Big 12 play. The Jayhawks have two wins at then-No. 1 LSU and have scored a one-run victory in all three match-ups with MVC schools this year.
KU hits .299 as a team with four regulars above the .300 mark. Brian Heere leads the team in average (.381) and Jimmy Waters holds the top home run (4) and RBI totals (35).
The Jayhawk pitching staff has a 4.77 ERA and .272 opponent average with a number of solid arms in the bullpen. Brett Bochy, the son of San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy, is 2-0 with four saves, an 0.78 ERA and .117 average, to anchor the KU relief corps.
KU fields .974 as a team with 22 errors in 23 games.
Missouri is 18-13 on the season a 3-6 Big 12 play. The Tigers have one win in each of the Big 12 series and defeated No. 12 Oklahoma 12-11 on Sunday.
The MU offense hits .305 with outfielder/first baseman Aaron Senne hitting a red-hot .460 to lead the charge. Four regulars hit .300 or better and Senne leads the club with 10 homers and 15 doubles and shares the RBI lead with Brett Nicholas at 38.
The Mizzou pitching staff has a 4.74 ERA and allows opponents to hit .289. The Tigers will likely employ lefty Jeff Scardino (2-3, 3.90, 32.1 IP, 15 Ks) to start against the Bears. MU has a pair of local ties in its bullpen with Ryan Clubb, the younger brother of former MSU All-American Tim Clubb, going 3-0 with a 4.74 ERA, and Springfield Catholic graduate Tyler Clark carrying a 4.24 ERA in 16 appearances.
MU fields .963 with 45 errors in 31 games.
Kansas leads the all-time series by a 22-21 margin and has won the last four meetings. KU won 7-6 on March 31 in Lawrence.
Missouri State tied the all-time series with Missouri at 19-all with a 10-5 win in Columbia last season. The Bears had lost three in a row to MU prior to that meeting.
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 950-592 (.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 was swept at Bradley over the weekend in a frustrating MVC series.
On Friday, BU lefty Joe Bircher fanned 10 over eight shutout innings and the Bears failed to put a leadoff man on in the game in a 7-0 loss.
Saturday, three errors led to four unearned runs in a 6-4 setback.
On Sunday, MSU came back from two separate three-run deficits and took the lead 8-6 in the ninth on a Tyler Paxson single. BU loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the ninth, getting two sac flies and a single from Matt Fritz for the 9-8 win.
• Missouri State is hitting .324 with 41 extra-base hits over the last 13 games.
• Missouri State pitchers have struck out 262 batters in 269.2 innings this season, an average of 8.74 strikeouts per nine innings, and lead the MVC in both categories.
The Bears rank 36th nationally in Ks/9 according to the most recent NCAA stat update for games through April 4.
• 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 top seven strikeout pitchers in the MVC with Kickham (2nd), Doyle (3rd), Gordon (6th) and Meade (t-7th).
• 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 22 of the last 29 games and the Bears now sit 0.07 out of the MVC lead with a 4.74 team ERA.
• The MSU pitching staff has a 3.88 ERA and .282 opponent average over the last 28 games.
• Despite hitting 20 points lower than the opposition this season, the MSU offense has generated more extra-base hits (84-73) and loaded the bases nearly twice as much (45-26) as 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 9-4 at home this season and 106-61 all-time at Hammons Field.
The Bears are hitting .310 as a team in their home park and fielding .975, while the pitching staff has a 3.05 ERA and limits opponents to a .245 batting average.
Hard Luck Bears
Missouri State has played in 12 games this season decided in the final at bat (defined as the trailing team brings winning run to the plate), coming out on the short end 10 times.
The Bears have suffered five walk-off losses and have sent the winning run to the plate in the ninthin five other defeats.
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 20-11 and 4-2 in the league.
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 365-294 (.554) through April 11.
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.
Luke 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.
Kevin Medrano hit .706 (12-for-17) and reached base 15 times in 20 plate appearances to win April 5. He went 4-for-5 at Kansas and had eight hits in three games against Oral Roberts, including a four-hit day in the series opener. Medrano scored five runs and drove in two for the week.
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.