April 15, 2013
Missouri State Game Notes
Missouri State Bears (21-10) vs. No. 27 Oklahoma State Cowboys (24-10)
Date: Tuesday, April 16
First Pitch: 6:35 p.m.
Location: Springfield, Mo.
Site: Hammons Field (8,000)
Series History: Oklahoma State leads 7-6 (OSU won the last meeting)
TV: Mediacom MC-22 (Don West, Mike McClure)
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM (Art Hains, Terry Clayton)
Live Audio and Video: Bears All-Access
Promotions: Social Media Night
Tickets: (417) 836-7678
The Missouri State Bears return to Hammons Field Tuesday (April 16) to take on the 27th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys in the return match of the two clubs' home-and-home season series. OSU squeaked out a 5-4 win in 10 innings March 5 in Stillwater in the teams' first meeting of the season.
MSU is off to a 21-10 start with six wins in their first nine Missouri Valley Conference games this season after taking two of three meetings from Southern Illinois last weekend. The Bears also suffered a gut-wrenching 5-4 setback to in-state rival Missouri in their lone midweek action last week.
Oklahoma State (24-10) is coming off a 2-2 week as well after dropping two of three games to TCU following a midweek win over Oral Roberts.
MSU will return a home date with Missouri Wednesday (April 17) evening when they travel to Columbia for a 6 p.m. game at Simmons Field, then open a three-game MVC series against Bradley back in Springfield on Friday (April 19).
♦Oklahoma State holds a slim 7-6 edge in its series with the Bears, but MSU has won each of its four previous meetings with the Cowboys in Springfield
♦The Bears are 1-1 against ranked (NCBWA) opponents this season with a road win over No. 28 Southern Miss (Feb. 23) and a loss to No. 27 OSU in the two clubs' first meeting in Stillwater on March 5
♦In each of the Bears' last nine wins, a freshman has recorded either a game-winning RBI or a pitching victory
♦Missouri State's pitching staff ranks 17th nationally with a 2.89 K-BB ratio and 24th in K/9 IP
♦The Bears have outscored the opposition by a combined 29-7 margin in the first inning this season
♦Freshmen Matt Hall and Jon Harris are a combined 10-0 with a 2.47 ERA and 63 K's in 69.1 IP this season
♦RHP Erik Shannahan has stranded 13 of 15 inherited baserunners this season
♦OF Tate Matheny's Matheny's current average of 1.548 hits per game is the highest mark for any freshman in MSU history
♦IF Eric Cheray led MSU with a .636 (7-for-11) batting mark in its series win at SIU over the weekend
The Cowboys hold a slim 7-6 advantage in the series after their win over the Bears in 10 innings earlier this season. MSU had won five in a row against OSU prior to that meeting and the Bears have claimed each of the previous four games against the Cowboys in Springfield. Two of those home victories came against ranked OSU squads--twin 4-3 wins over the 17th-ranked Cowboys in 2009 and again in 2011 against an OSU team ranked 17th in the NCBWA poll.
Missouri State saw its five-game win streak vs. the Cowboys come to an end in the two clubs' first meeting of the season. But the Bears have mounted a recent run of success against the Big 12 Conference, having gone a combined 12-6 against the league over the last two seasons, including a 6-3 mark in 2012.
About the Bears
Coming off a 40-22 campaign and their eighth NCAA Division I Regional appearance, Missouri State is once again on course to compete for the top spot in the Missouri Valley Conference with wins in 21 of its first 31 games this season. For the second straight year head coach Keith Guttin's Bears were tabbed as the MVC's preseason favorite by the league's coaches, thanks largely to the return of 17 letterwinners, including the bulk of a pitching staff that led the nation in team earned run average last spring. Leading the way once again is junior hurler Nick Petree, who was named Louisville Slugger National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball last year after going 10-4 with a Division I-best 1.01 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 115.1 innings pitched. The right-hander is off to a 5-1 start with the best ERA in the MVC (1.12) through eight starts to pace a staff that has recorded a 3.06 team ERA. Freshman right-hander Jon Harris has made a significant impact as well over his first seven collegiate starts, claiming wins in each while posting a 2.68 ERA. Sophomore NCBWA National Stopper of the Year candidate Tyler Burgess has been strong out of the bullpen for MSU, logging three wins and a pair of saves thus far after earning Freshman All-America and MVC Freshman of the Year recognition in 2012.
In the field, the Bears return five regulars from last year's club, including senior catcher Luke Voit, a Johnny Bench Award candidate for the second consecutive season. Voit's five steals lead MSU, while his .300 batting mark ranks second and his 19 RBIs are third on the squad. Freshman outfielder Tate Matheny has been nothing short of outstanding in his first season of collegiate action, ranking among the Valley's top 10 in hitting (.358), slugging percentage (.507), hits (48), home runs (3) and total bases (68). Senior shortstop Travis McComack has been hot at the plate lately, reaching base safely in each of his last 18 of his last 19 games while driving in the game-winning RBI in four contests this year. Senior DH Koby Peebles has been one of the Bears' most consistent contributors, registering 22 RBIs and 10 doubles so far. Senior outfielder Keenen Maddox has been the Bears' hottest hitter of late after batting .529 last week and bringing an active streak of five consecutive multi-hit games into Tuesday's action. Finally, sophomore infielder Eric Cheray ranks among the Valley's leaders in walks and paces the Bears with a .427 on-base percentage to go along with a .293 batting mark.
About the Cowboys
Oklahoma State is off to a 24-10 start to the season, earning the No. 27 position in this week's National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association poll. Under first-year head coach Josh Holliday, the Cowboys have gotten balanced production from an offense that brings a .295 team batting mark into the week, as well as a deep pitching staff that has posted a 2.87 team ERA to rank among the national leaders.
Leading the way for the OSU offense has been junior transfer Tanner Krietemeier (.368 BA/3 HR/ 30 RBI) and freshman infielder Donnie Walton (.337 BA), who bring the top two averages on the squad into the week. Senior C Victor Romero (.306 BA/4 HR/21 RBI), sophomore OF Zach Fish (.294 BA/5 HR/28 RBI) and senior IF Randy McCurry (.305 BA/1 HR/23 RBI) provide the power for the Cowboys, accounting for nearly half of the clubs' home run and RBI totals.
On the mound, OSU has received quality work from sophomore right-handers Jon Perrin, who is 4-0 with a 3.07 ERA in 11 appearances, and Jason Hursh (3-3, 2.63 ERA), who has logged a team-high 61.2 innings over nine starts. Vince Wheeland has fanned 47 batters in 48.2 innings to go 6-0 with a 1.85 ERA, while fellow junior right-hander Brendan McCurry (3-2, 1.52 ERA) has logged a team-best five saves to anchor the OSU bullpen.
Harris Stays Hot in Carbondale
Freshman right-hander Jon Harris kept his perfect Missouri State record intact Saturday with his seventh win in as many starts for the Bears, who defeated Southern Illinois 14-6 to clinch a series win in Carbondale. The Florissant, Mo., product struggled against the Salukis, giving up six runs on 14 hits--both career highs--but gutted out a rocky start to become the first Bears freshman hurler to go 7-0 in seven starts. Harris, who ranks eighth in the nation in wins entering the week, has completed at least six innings in every start this season.
At Home at The Abe
With last weekend's series win in Carbondale, Missouri State now holds a commanding 60-34 all-time advantage against Southern Illinois, including a 57-30 edge over SIU since joining the Valley in 1991. The Bears have enjoyed sustained success versus the Salukis on their home field, earning a series split or better in 10 of their 12 MVC series in Carbondale, with a 28-14 overall road mark vs. SIU, including 26 wins in 38 conference games at Abe Martin Field.
Maddox Mashes Salukis
Keenen Maddox continued to swing a hot bat for Missouri State, keying the Bears' offensive resurgence by hitting a team-high .529 (9-for-17) with multi-hit performances in all four games last week. The St. Louis native started his week by going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored vs. Missouri on Tuesday, then recorded two more hits and an RBI in the Bears' series-opening 7-3 victory at Southern Illinois on Friday.
Maddox, who slugged .647 for the week, registered three of his five RBIs on the week in Saturday's 14-6 win, matching a season high with three hits--including a pair of doubles--and two runs scored. Since March 13, Maddox has hit .373 and slugged .493 to lead the Bears in both categories. Additionally, he leads the Bears with a .486 slugging percentage in conference play and his .351 MVC batting mark is second on the squad only to Eric Cheray's .407 average. In 12 career games vs. SIU, Maddox has hit at a blistering .438 pace while slugging .792 with four homers and 18 RBIs.
McComack on the Move
Travis McComack may have seen his streak of reaching base safely end at 16 games over the weekend, but the Bears' senior shortstop has made a move up several of MSU's career charts over the first half of the season.
McComack moved up to second on the Bears' all-time walks list with three free passes against Southern Illinois with 106 for his MSU career. He moved past J.J. Scerba (104) on the chart and now needs 48 more to catch Bill Mueller in the top spot on the list. McComack also ranks among MSU's career leaders in fielding assists (5th), double plays turned (8th) and sacrifice hits (10th) and needs to play in two more games to crack the school's top 15 in that category.
Bears Host First-Ever Social Media Night
The Bears will hold their first-ever Social Media Night at Hammons Field on Tuesday with the intention of highlighting the various social media outlets for Missouri State Athletics and encouraging fan engagement while providing opportunities for in-game promotions, prizes and ticket discounts.
Fans who follow @MSUBearBaseball will receive one ticket to Tuesday's game for half of the regular 2013 single-game price. This special offer is available now through the Missouri State Athletics Box Office via the Chevy Pickup Window at JQH Arena. Fans must verify that they follow @MSUBearBaseball with the box office to receive the special rate.