MSU Opens Three-Game Series With League Newcomer Friday at 6:30 p.m.
May 1, 2014
Missouri State Game Notes
Missouri State Bears (19-22, 6-6 MVC) at Dallas Baptist Patriots (29-15, 7-5 MVC)
Dates/Times: Friday, May 2 - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 3 - 2 p.m.
Sunday, May 4 - 1 p.m.
Location: Dallas, Texas
Site: Horner Ballpark (2,000)
Series History: DBU leads 7-4
Live Video: DBUPatriots.com
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM (Art Hains)
Live Audio: RadioSpringfield.com
After dropping both of their non-conference midweek contests this week, the Missouri State Bears (19-22, 6-6 MVC) return to Missouri Valley Conference action Friday (May 2) when they open a three-game series with the Dallas Baptist Patriots (29-15, 7-5 MVC) at Horner Ballpark in Dallas.
The Bears, who lost a 4-1 home decision to Arkansas on Tuesday and a 10-6 road setback to UALR Wednesday, will be looking to reverse the outcome of their three-game non-conference series with the Patriots in March. DBU blanked MSU in all three match-ups, holding the Bears to just 11 singles and a cumulative .133 team batting mark.
The Patriots are coming off a 9-1 win over Oklahoma on Tuesday, but have dropped five of their last seven MVC games after a 5-0 league start. Last weekend, Indiana State handed DBU its second consecutive conference series defeat in Terre Haute, after Evansville took two of three games from the Patriots the previous week.
Up next, the Bears return to Hammons Field for their final midweek games of the season with 6:35 p.m. tilts against Oral Roberts (May 6) and Kansas (May 7). MSU then departs for Indiana State and its final road MVC series of the regular season, May 9-11.
♦ DBU brings a 7-4 overall edge over the Bears into this weekend's series, including a three-game sweep of MSU in the two clubs' non-conference series in Springfield in mid-March
♦ The Patriots held the Bears scoreless on 11 singles over 27.0 innings and handled all 108 defensive chances without an error in their series sweep at Hammons Field; MSU pitching limited DBU to just four runs on 14 hits in the series
♦ Tate Matheny is a career .348 hitter in MVC play and has hit six of his 11 homers as a Bear during league action
♦ Matheny's .408 MVC batting mark this season is good for third among all Valley hitters, while his four homers and 35 total bases in conference play lead the circuit; the sophomore also ranks second in slugging (.714) and hits (20)
♦ The Bears rank 19th nationally as a pitching staff in strikeouts per nine innings pitched, with Clay Murphy's K/9 IP rate of 10.04 ranking as the 22nd-best in all of Division I baseball
♦ MSU placed four players on the Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-District 6 squad; pitchers Tyler Burgess and Zach Merciez, as well as infielders Eric Cheray and Conor Smith were named to the 12-member team
♦ Missouri State pitching has recorded 57 strikeouts over its last five contests to raise its season total to 322, which is the third-highest total in the MVC
♦ Dylan Becker needs two hits to become the third active Bear to top the 100-career hit mark in 2014 after both Matheny (124) and Cheray (144) reached the milestone earlier this season
♦ MSU is 15-1 in 2014 and 30-2 over the last two seasons when scoring at least six runs; conversely, the Bears are just 4-21 when failing to top the five-run mark in 2014
On the strength of its three-game sweep in Springfield seven weeks ago, Dallas Baptist leads the all-time series with MSU by a 7-4 margin. While Friday's game will mark the first ever MVC meeting between the two programs, the Bears are 3-4 vs. the Patriots in Dallas, having dropped two of three to DBU in April 2012 on their last trip to University Hill.
Four Bears Earn Academic All-District Honors
Four Missouri State Bears were selected for the 2014 Capital One Academic All-District 6 Baseball Team by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Thursday. MSU's four selections tied Florida State for the most Academic All-District picks from one team in all of Division I baseball this season. Senior first baseman Conor Smith, as well as junior hurlers Tyler Burgess and Zach Merciez and junior second baseman Eric Cheray, were chosen for the team, which honors the nation's top student-athletes for their combined performances athletically and in the classroom.
Selected by the voting membership of CoSIDA, the Capital One Academic All-District teams are divided into eight geographic districts across the United States and Canada. Nominees must have maintained a cumulative GPA of at least 3.30 for at least one academic year at his or her current institution and have participated in at least 50 percent of his or her team's games. Academic All-District honorees advance to the Capital One Academic All-America Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month.
Road to Success
Missouri State enters Friday's series opener just 10-12 in true road games this season, but the Bears have won three of their last four Valley road tilts, dating back to a March 23 win at Wichita State. By taking two of three games from Bradley (April 11-13), 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.
This season, the Bears' offense has peaked on the road, logging a .279 team batting average and 13 of the clubs' 21 home runs in MSU's 27 road and neutral field contests. Eric Cheray has batted .336 (36-for-107) with both of his home runs and 21 of his 26 RBIs on the season in those same 27 games.