Date: Tuesday, May 4, 6 p.m.
Site: Taylor Stadium at Simmons Field
Location: Columbia, Mo.
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM
Live Audio: www.RadioSpringfield.com
Live Stats: www.MissouriStateBears.com
Live Video: www.MUTigers.com
Live Chat: None
What's On Tap
The Missouri State baseball team (18-24, 4-8 Missouri Valley) looks to complete a season sweep of in-state rival Missouri (23-19, 7-10 Big 12) Tuesday at 6 p.m. in Columbia. The weather forecast looks as if the teams will be able to get both games of the yearly home-and-home in for the first time since 2005. The Bears won the April 14 meeting at Hammons Field on a Keenen Maddox walk-off home run.
Missouri is 23-19 overall and 7-10 in Big 12 play after losing a weekend series at Texas Tech.
The MU offense hits .295 with school all-time hits leader Aaron Senne (.415, 12 HR, 46 RBIs) leading the way. Brett Nicholas is the team leader with 49 RBIs and Michael Liberto bats .354 as the only other regular above .300.
The Mizzou pitching staff has a 4.68 ERA and allows opponents to hit .288. The Tigers will start Springfield native Tyler Clark (1-0, 3.91 ERA, 29 Ks, 23 IP) against the Bears.
MU fields .962 with 63 errors in 42 games.
Missouri State has taken a 21-19 lead in the all-time series by winning the last two meetings.
Earlier this year, the Bears won 5-4 in Springfield on a walk-off homer from Keenen Maddox. Mike Kickham started and struck out 11 Tigers over seven innings, and Grant Gordon retired all six batters he faced, the last five via strike out, for the win.
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 956-597 (.616). 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 dropped a series at Indiana State over the weekend.
On Friday, ISU starter Jacob Petricka fanned 11 in a complete game as the Sycamores won 8-1.
The Bears had endless opportunities Saturday, drawing 11 walks and being hit twice, but ultimately left 15 runners on base and went 1-for-21 with runners in scoring position in a 10-3 loss.
Sunday, Aaron Meade held the Sycamores to no earned runs in eight innings as the Bears won 5-3.
• Missouri State is hitting .291 with 70 extra-base hits over the last 24 games while posting a 13-11 record.
• MSU is 16-4 when scoring at least five runs.
• Bears opponents are fielding .993 with only two errors in the last eight games.
• Missouri State pitchers have struck out 350 batters in 365.2 innings this season, an average of 8.61 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 second-highest in the Division I-era. The 2001 team fanned 8.74 per nine as the most since the jump in divisions in 1983.
That staff featured four future major leaguers.
• 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 three of the top seven strikeout pitchers in the MVC with Kickham (2nd), Doyle (4th), Gordon (7th).
• 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 27 of the last 39 games and the Bears rank second in the MVC and 56th nationally with a 4.63 team ERA.
• The MSU pitching staff has a 4.00 ERA and .278 opponent average over the last 39 games.
• Despite hitting 20 points lower than the opposition this season, the MSU offense has generated more extra-base hits (113-96) and loaded the bases nearly twice as much (56-30) 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 six 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 517-423 (.550) through May 2.
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.