Date: Tue., May 3 vs. Missouri, 6:35 p.m.
Site: Hammons Field
Location: Springfield, Mo.
TV: MC 22
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM
Live Audio: www.RadioSpringfield.com
Live Stats: www.MissouriStateBears.com
Live Video: Bears Live - www.MissouriStateBears.com
The Missouri State baseball team (24-17, 6-5 Missouri Valley Conference) plays Missouri (19-25, 6-11 Big 12) for the second time in a week Tuesday when the Tigers come to Hammons Field for a 6:35 p.m. contest. Missouri State is 4-2 against Big 12 schools this season and beat the Tigers 5-2 on April 27 in Columbia.
Nine things to know about the Bears against Missouri...
1. Missouri State leads Missouri 21-20 in the all-time series after taking the first meeting this season. An MSU victory Tuesday would give the Bears the first two-game series lead for either school since Missouri State led 18-16 after the 2005 season.
2. Missouri State scored the final five runs of the game and held Missouri scoreless after the third in a 5-2 win April 27 in Columbia. Derek Mattea hit a tying two-run single in the fourth, Luke Voit hit a two-run homer in the sixth, and Jake Powers pitched 3.2 innings of shutout relief. Dan Kickham recorded the final four outs for the save.
3. MSU's offense has hit at least .300 against 12 of the 22 teams the Bears have played this season. MSU has logged at least seven hits in 38 of 41 games.
4. Missouri State went 24-16 through 40 games, the ninth time since 1995 the Bears have won at least 24 times in their first 40 tries. MSU has had great success the previous eight times, averaging 37.9 wins per season, posting an average MVC finish of 2.0 while making five NCAA Tournament appearances. The Bears also won two of their first three league games for the 14th time in 21 MVC seasons, which has historically resulted in an average MVC finish of 2.46, while winning their first three league series for the third time in school history.
5. Missouri State's offense is hitting .303 this season, moving from last to first in the MVC and jumping 250 spots to 30th in the national rankings as of April 24, the largest improvement of any team in the country.
6. Missouri State is hitting .304 against opposing starting pitchers and outscoring opponents 31-15 in the first inning. Starters have a 5.50 ERA against the Bears and average just 4.89 innings per start.
7. Missouri State has hit eight of its last nine home runs off left-handed pitching while hitting long balls at a run of one very 46 at bats off southpaws versus once per 82.8 at bats against righties.
8. MSU has collected 13 pinch hits in 38 tries this season for a .342 average, while the opposition has a mere two pinch hits in 41 games and is batting .087 in those situations.
9. Keith Guttin is now 17 wins shy of the 1,000 mark in his 29th season at Missouri State.
Missouri is 19-25 overall and 6-11 in the Big 12 after winning a home series from No. 6 Texas A&M over the weekend. Jonah Schmidt at .315 is the only Tiger above .300 for an offense that hits .262. MU averages 4.6 runs per game but has stolen 81 bases with six players swiping at least nine bags.
Missouri pitchers have a 4.59 ERA and .283 opponent average. The Bears will likely see a number of hurlers Wednesday, as 10 Tigers have at least nine appearances on the season.
MU fields .966 as a team with 58 errors in 44 games.
Coach Keith Guttin
Missouri State head coach Keith Guttin (Missouri-St. Louis, 1978) is in his 29th season as head coach of the baseball Bears and has a career record of 983-624 (.612). 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 15 years.
Last Time Out
The Bears suffered their first series loss since March 11-13 by dropping two games at Evansville before a Sunday rain out. Friday, MSU was held to a season-low three hits - one after the first inning - in a 3-1 loss to the Purple Aces.
Saturday, the Bears left runners on the corners in the eighth and then grounded into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded in the ninth in a frustrating 5-4 defeat.
• Missouri State closed the month of February with a winning record (4-3) for the fourth time in the 2000s. The Bears have gone on to win at least 40 games the other three times. MSU also had a winning February record in 1999, and though it failed to reach 40 wins, it did go 38-19 and make the NCAA Tournament.
• Juniors Travis McComack and Kevin Medrano have started 116 games together on the middle infield in their careers and rank 10th (87) and 11th (82), respectively, in career double plays turned. The duo has worked together for 54 of those double plays.
• Missouri State has struck out 245times in its first 41 games, or 6.16 per nine innings, a 31.7 percent decrease from its 2010 rate.
• Fourteen of the 27 players on Missouri State's roster did not see action for the Bears last season, and 12 of those are new to the program altogether.
• Missouri State is holding opponents to a .248 batting average with runners in scoring position.
Missouri State pitchers have put together several notable streaks this season. The Bears went 29.2 innings from March 15-19 without allowing an earned run; 14 innings from Feb. 26 to Mar. 1 without issuing a walk; 50.2 innings from April 16-27 without allowing a home run; and 74 innings from April 16-30 without hitting a batter.
Home Sweet Home
Missouri State is 13-5 at home this season and 124-73 all-time at Hammons Field.
The Bears are hitting .324 as a team in their home park and fielding .965, while the pitching staff has a 3.33 ERA and limits opponents to a .254 batting average.
Strength of Schedule
Missouri State opponents are now 607-491 (.553) for games played through May 1.
Players of the Week
Aaron Conway became Missouri State's first award winner of 2011 with an MVC Player of the Week nod March 7. Conway batted .650 (13-20) in four MSU wins, scoring seven runs with five doubles, three RBIs and three stolen bases.
Three Bears made the preseason all-MVC team while Kevin Medrano was honored as a preseason third-team All-American by College Baseball Lineup.
Joining Medrano on the all-conference squad were senior outfielder Aaron Conway and sophomore pitcher Grant Gordon.
All Missouri State games beginning March 15 and beyond will be broadcast on Meyer Communications stations with the exception of March 25 at Oral Roberts and April 1 and 2 at Saint Louis.
Art Hains and Rob Evans will describe the action on KBFL 1060 AM and live over the internet at www.RadioSpringfield.com. Up-to-date schedule and station assignments can be found on the baseball schedule page at www.MissouriStateBears.com.
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 Wichita State (April 8, 6:30 p.m.), Arkansas (April 12, 6:30 p.m.) and Missouri (May 3, 6:30 p.m.).