Dates: Wednesday, April 28, 6:35 p.m.
Site: Baum Stadium
Location: Fayetteville, Ark.
TV: Cox Sports on NW Arkansas Cable Systems
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM
Live Audio: www.RadioSpringfield.com
Live Stats: www.MissouriStateBears.com
Live Video: Bears Live
Live Chat: None
What's On Tap
The Missouri State baseball team (17-21, 3-6 Missouri Valley) opens a five-game road trip Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. with a tough challenge at seventh-ranked Arkansas (33-8). The Bears are looking to snap a six-game losing streak to Arkansas before traveling to Terre Haute, Ind., for a three-game weekend series with Indiana State.
Arkansas is 33-8 overall and 13-5 in Southeastern Conference play. The Razorbacks are ranked between seventh and ninth in the four major college baseball polls and boast a 24-3 record at home.
Arkansas hits .327 as a team with 59 home runs and a .514 slugging percentage. Third baseman Zack Cox hits a team-high .432 and had a 24-game hitting streak earlier this season. Center fielder Brett Eibner leads the club with 13 home runs and Andy Wilkins leads UA with 52 RBIs.
The Razorback pitching staff has a 3.70 ERA while limiting opponents to a .252 average. All but two pitchers have an ERA of 4.40 or better.
Arkansas fields .965 as a team with 54 errors in 41 games.
Arkansas leads the all-time series 47-22. The Razorbacks have won the last six meetings, shutting the Bears out 10-0 and 2-0 last season. MSU's last victories came in 2006 when the Bears swept the season home-and-home series.
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 955-594 (.617). 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
The Bears took two-of-three from Creighton at Hammons Field. On Friday, The Bluejays won 8-2 as the Bears left 10 runners on base and struggled offensively.
After a Saturday rainout, Missouri State swept a doubleheader Sunday by scores of 5-4 and 6-5.
In game one, Tyler Paxson hit a three-run homer in the first and the Bears led 5-1 after three innings before holding off the Jays late. Pat Doyle struck out a career-high 10 and Grant Gordon got the save.
In the second game, Christian Overstreet hit a walk-off homer after an RBI double in the seventh as MSU overcame deficits of 2-1 and 5-3 for the win.
• Missouri State is hitting .304 with 62 extra-base hits over the last 20 games while posting a 12-8 record.
• MSU is 15-4 when scoring at least five runs.
• Missouri State pitchers have struck out 331 batters in 332.2 innings this season, an average of 8.95 strikeouts per nine innings, and lead the MVC in both categories.
The Bears rank ninth nationally in Ks/9 according to the most recent NCAA stat update for games through April 25.
• The Bears' strikeout rate this year is the highest in the Division I-era and best since 1970. The 2001 team fanned 8.74 per nine as the most since the jump in divisions in 1983.
• 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 eight strikeout pitchers in the MVC with Kickham (2nd), Doyle (3rd), Gordon (4th) and Meade (8th).
• 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 26 of the last 35 games and the Bears now lead the MVC and rank 56th nationally with a 4.57 team ERA.
• The MSU pitching staff has a 3.88 ERA and .279 opponent average over the last 35 games.
• Despite hitting 16 points lower than the opposition this season, the MSU offense has generated more extra-base hits (105-84) and loaded the bases nearly twice as much (52-27) as opponents in 2010.
• MSU has dropped five consecutive extra inning games dating to a 13-inning win over Middle Tennessee on May 11, 2008.
• 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.
Home Sweet Home
Missouri State is 13-6 at home this season and 110-63 all-time at Hammons Field.
The Bears are hitting .294 as a team in their home park and fielding .970, while the pitching staff has a 3.25 ERA and limits opponents to a .251 batting average.
Hard Luck Bears
Missouri State has played in 15 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 ninth in five other defeats.
MSU also has five wins this season when the opponent brought the winning run up in the ninth.
Strength of Schedule
Missouri State's 2010 opponents are a combined 464-381 (.549) through April 25.
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.
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.
Clay Murphy won pitcher of the week honors April 26 after going 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in nine innings over two relief appearances. He pitched 4.1 scoreless to beat SIUE and 4.2 innings with one unearned run to beat Creighton. Murphy struck out eight against five hits.
Champions Committed to Kids
The Baseball Bears added a new team member in April as Jacob Trammell joined the squad as part of the Champions Committed to Kids program.
Trammell, a Willard native who is winning the battle against cancer, dons the #35 MSU jersey in the dugout at home games.
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 on KBFL 1060 AM. Art Hains and Rob Evans will describe the action.
All broadcasts can be heard live over the internet by visiting www.RadioSpringfield.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.