Baseball continues road trip at Bradley
The Missouri State baseball team (23-12, 8-4 Missouri Valley Conference) travels to Peoria, Ill., this weekend for a three-game set with the Bradley Braves (16-17, 7-5). Separated by just one game in the league standings, this weekend could go a long way in determining the Valley Tournament seeding for both teams. All three games of the series can be heard on KBFL in Springfield.
Bradley is 16-17 overall but 7-5 in the league after sweeping Southern Illinois on the road last week. Offensively, Grant Escue and Jim Clayton lead the team with .333 averages, while Colby Luttrell is the team's top RBI man with 29 to go with a .328 average. The Braves hit .264 as a team.
The BU pitching staff has a 5.95 ERA. Rob Scahill is the Braves' top hurler, sitting at 3-2 with a 4.20 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 49.1 innings. Reliever Kori Jensen (3-0, 4.63) leads the Valley with six saves.
Missouri State leads the all-time series 40-26, and has won seven of the last 10 meetings. The Bears haven't allowed a run against the Braves in Peoria since the 2004 season, winning by scores of 6-0 and 4-0 in a series that was shortened to two games because of rain in 2006. MSU has not lost a season series to Bradley since 2000.
LIVE STATS INFORMATION
Live stats for most Missouri State baseball games will be available at www.missouristatebears.com. Click "Live Stats" on the left side of the page and select the appropriate game.
COACH KEITH GUTTIN
Missouri State head coach Keith Guttin (Missouri-St. Louis, 1978) is in his 26th season as head coach of the baseball Bears and has a career record of 887-548 (.618). Guttin became the first coach at Missouri State (in any sport) to reach the 800-win mark with the May 11, 2005, win over Kansas 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 nine times with three 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 13 years.
LAST TIME OUT
Missouri State split its two midweek contests, beating Arkansas-Little Rock on Tuesday and losing to Kansas on Wednesday. At UALR, the Bears and Trojans ended the ninth inning in a 4-4 tie before the MSU offense erupted for five runs in the 10th for a 9-5 win.
The Bears carried that momentum into the next game at KU, taking a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth. The Jayhawks had forged a tie entering the seventh, but Ben Carlson swatted a solo home run for a 6-5 MSU lead. KU's Nick Faunce used a long ball of his own in the eighth to give KU its first and only lead, a two-run shot good for the 7-6 win.