April 14, 2014
Missouri State Game Notes
Missouri State Bears (15-17) vs. Missouri Tigers (17-17)
Date: Tuesday, April 15
First Pitch: 6:35 p.m.
Location: Springfield, Mo.
Site: Hammons Field (8,000)
Series History: MU leads 24-23
TV: Mediacom MC-22 (Don West, Mike McClure)
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM (Art Hains)
Live Audio: RadioSpringfield.com
Live Video: Bears All-Access
Tickets: MSU Athletics Box Office
Promotions: Alumni Night, T-Shirt Trade-Up
The Missouri State Bears (15-17) will look to level their season series with the red-hot Missouri Tigers (17-17) when the two clubs meet for the second time in eight days Tuesday (April 15) evening at Hammons Field.
MSU took two of three games from Bradley in Peoria over the weekend after dropping a 9-4 decision to the Tigers in Columbia last Tuesday. The Bears moved into a tie for fourth place in the Valley standings with a pair of come-from-behind victories over the Braves and have won seven of their last 12 contests following their nine-game losing streak. Missouri has won four of its last five games to reach the .500 mark, including an SEC road series triumph over Kentucky in Lexington this past weekend.
Up next, the Bears will host Illinois State in a three-game Missouri Valley Conference series, beginning with a 1:05 p.m game Friday (April 18).
♦ Missouri State brings a 12-9 home mark vs. Missouri into Tuesday's game, but the Tigers have claimed wins in six of the nine previous meetings at Hammons Field and hold a 24-23 overall edge in the series
♦ MSU has logged five runs and/or 10 hits in six of its last nine games after doing so in just one of its previous 10 contests
♦ The Bears are 12-0 when scoring at least six runs this season, but just 3-17 when totaling five runs or less
♦ Eric Cheray is hitting .432 (16-for-37) with six RBIs and eight walks -- good for a .522 on-base percentage -- as well as three steals and 10 runs scored over his career-best 10-game hit streak
♦ With 85 career walks entering the week, Cheray needs just two more bases on balls to catch Ryan Howard in the No. 10 spot on the Bears' all-time chart
♦ Tyler Burgess ranks third among all active Division I pitchers on the NCAA's career list for fewest hits allowed per nine innings (5.60), trailing only UCLA's James Kaprielian (5.29) and Arizona State's Ryan Burr (4.24); Burgess also ranks 45th on the NCAA's active ERA chart (2.35)
♦ Andy Cheray fanned five Tigers over 6.2 innings in his previous start vs. Missouri (April 9, 2013), allowing just two earned runs on eight hits and a pair of walks in the tough-luck 5-4 loss
♦ Zach Merciez earned his first win as a Bear in his 44th career appearance last Friday at Bradley, a 6-5 victory that Sam Perez locked up with a scoreless ninth inning for his first career save
♦ Keith Guttin needs one more victory to tie Hawaii's Les Murakami for the No. 37 spot on the NCAA Division I coaching wins list
With their 9-4 victory in Columbia last Tuesday, the Tigers reclaimed the overall lead with a 24-23 edge in a series that dates back to 1975. MSU is 12-9 vs. MU in Springfield, but just 3-6 since moving into Hammons Field in 2004. The Tigers have won two straight meetings in Springfield, taking a 5-4 decision last year after a 4-3 victory in 2012.
Mizzou emerged victories last week thanks to the pitching of Tuesday's projected starter Peter Fairbanks, as well as a 15-hit barrage that turned a two-run deficit into a 9-2 lead in the span of just three innings. MU's bullpen, led by Austin Tribby and Breckin Williams, closed out the victory with 3.0 shutout innings.
Alumni and Staff Appreciation Night, T-Shirt Trade-Up Return to Hammons Field
For the third straight year the Bears' matchup with Missouri will provide fans the opportunity to upgrade their wardrobes. MSU's "T-Shirt Trade Up" will give the first 100 fans who turn in a shirt bearing the name or marks of any university to the BearWear trailer outside of the main gate at Hammons Field the chance to receive a free Missouri State t-shirt, courtesy of the MSU Bookstore. Additionally, a limited number of BearWear t-shirts will be available for $5 to those fans not among the first 100 to trade up their shirts.
In appreciation of the contributions and support of its faculty and staff members, Missouri State is offering a special ticket offer for Tuesday's game. All MSU faculty and staff will be able to purchase reserved seats for $2 with a current Missouri State University BearPass card. Additionally, the Missouri State University Alumni Association is sponsoring its annual Alumni Night Tuesday. Alumni will have the option of purchasing lower-level reserved seats for $4 (adults) and $2 for children ages 2-12, or a second ticket package that includes an upper-level reserved seat, access to an exclusive pre-game buffet, a Missouri State t-shirt and a ticket voucher for a future Bears baseball game in 2014, all for $20.
Road to Success
By taking two of three games from Bradley over the weekend, the Bears picked up their first road series win since the opening weekend of the season at UCA (Feb. 14-16). MSU also reversed a recent trend versus the Braves, as its series triumph marked the first for a road team in the series since 2008. The home club had posted a remarkable 14-1 cumulative record over the past five regular-season matchups, including three-game sweeps in four of those years.
Cheray Keeps Streaking
Eric Cheray extended his career-best hit streak to 10 games with another red-hot performance at the plate over the weekend in Peoria. The Bears' second baseman totaled five hits in MSU's doubleheader split with the Braves Saturday, including a 3-for-5 effort in the nightcap in which the junior scored twice to help his club lock up a rare road series win over BU. In all, Cheray has hit .432 (16-for-37) with 10 runs scored and six RBIs to go along with three steals, eight walks and a .522 on-base percentage over the course of his streak.
In Rare Company
With the Bears' victory over Abilene Christian on March 7, MSU bench boss Keith Guttin moved ahead of former Indiana State coach Bob Warn on the NCAA's Division I all-time coaching wins list. With a career record of 1,078-692, Guttin needs one more win to catch Les Murakami of Hawaii in the No. 37 spot on the chart.
Additionally, the recent retirement of Rutgers head coach Fred Hill allowed Guttin to move up a spot on the NCAA's active coaching wins list. Guttin, who currently ranks 13th on the chart, became the 46th Division I baseball coach and the third Valley mentor to reach the 1,000 career-win mark with MSU's 3-2 victory at Northwestern State on March 3, 2012. He is the first coach at Missouri State in any sport to reach the milestone and the 20th Division I baseball coach to accomplish the feat while guiding just one school.