The Missouri State baseball team (26-19, 11-5 Missouri Valley Conference) makes the trip north this weekend for a pivotal three-game series with first-place Creighton (28-18, 14-3). The Bears will play CU Friday at 4 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. at the CU Sports Complex on Creighton's campus, but will travel across town to Rosenblatt Stadium Saturday for a noon contest.
Creighton is 28-18 overall and leads the MVC with a 14-3 league mark. The Bluejays have mirrored the Bears this year, getting off to a 3-11 start compared to MSU's 4-10 mark through 14 games before turning the season around.
Pitching and defense is the key as always for Creighton, as CU's 3.70 ERA ranks ninth nationally and its .982 fielding percentage is second.
The Bluejay offense hits .305 to rank second in the MVC with seven starters hitting above .300. Robbie Knight is the batting average leader at .355, Darin Ruf leads the league with 43 RBIs and Elliot Soto hits .332 and put together a 23-game hitting streak earlier this year.
Creighton leads the all-time series 33-32 and is the only Missouri Valley Conference team besides Wichita State to have a winning record against the Bears. Missouri State has won four of the last five overall.
LIVE STATS INFORMATION
Live stats for all Missouri State baseball games will be available at www.missouristatebears.com. Go to the “Fan Central” link on the left side of the page and select “Live Stats.”
AUDIO AND VIDEO COVERAGE
Coverage of the Missouri game will be as follows:
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM and online at www.radiospringfield.com
Video stream: None
COACH KEITH GUTTIN
Missouri State head coach Keith Guttin (Missouri-St. Louis, 1978) is in his 27th season as head coach of the baseball Bears and has a career record of 930-572 (.619). 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
Missouri State won a shootout at Missouri on Tuesday, ending the Tigers' seven-game win streak by a 10-5 score. The Bears never trailed in the game, taking the lead first with back-to-back homers from Chris Playter and Daniel Torrente in the second. Mizzou tied the game at 3-3 and 5-5, but the Bears scored the final five runs of the game. Brayden Drake matched his career high with four hits to go with three RBIs, and Brant Combs pitched 2.1 hitless innings of relief to claim the win over his former team.
Creighton is the second consecutive opponent Missouri State has faced that has a seven-game winning streak. The Bears ended Missouri's streak on Tuesday.
Creighton ranks in ninth in the country with a 3.70 ERA. Missouri State has previously faced this season two other pitching staffs currently ranked in the top 10; Oregon State (sixth - 3.63) and Oral Roberts (10th - 3.73).
The Bears went 4-1 in those five games, averaging 5.8 runs per contest.
Tim Clubb is 3-0 with a 1.85 ERA and .211 opponent average in 24.1 career innings against Creighton.
Saturday's game is at Rosenblatt Stadium and will be Missouri State's fourth game there all-time. The Bears are 0-3 at the facility, losing to Creighton in the 2005 regular season and to Rice and Miami in the 2003 College World Series.
Missouri State leads the MVC in doubles (97), triples (18) and home runs (48), but ranks seventh with 302 singles.
After opening the year with a 9.36 team ERA through six games, the MSU pitching staff has a 3.69 ERA and is allowing the opposition to hit .244 in the 39 games since.
Bears starters are 21-8 with a 3.47 ERA and .235 opponent average in the last 39 games.
Brayden Drake set a school record with his 30-game hitting streak that began April 27, 2008 and ended March 29 of this season. The streak ranks seventh in MVC history.
Drake set the school record with his 63rd career double May 2 against UNI. He now has 64, ranking 11th in MVC history.
Twenty-seven of Ben Carlson's 48 hits this season have gone for extra bases.
Kevin Medrano currently leads MSU with 62 hits. No freshman has led the club in that category since Bob Blakley in 1974.
Opposing starters have posted a 8.15 ERA against the Bears this season, while MSU starters have a 3.83 ERA and are allowing opponents to hit .246.
MSU starters have accounted for 22 of the team's 26 wins.
MSU pitchers have a 2.97 ERA and .209 opponent average at Hammons Field.
Chris Playter has nine game-winning RBIs this year and 15 for his career. Those numbers place him seventh in MSU history for a season and ninth for a career.
Missouri State is hitting .408 (29-71) with the bases loaded this year, while opponents are 11-51 (.216).
Tim Clubb has left 21 of his last 25 starts in line for the victory.
Clubb pitched at least eight innings in six straight starts from 3/20 through 4/24.
Buddy Baumann started the 2009 season with 22 scoreless innings.
Baumann hit 18 batters in 75 innings a year ago, but went 46 innings before plunking a batter this year.
Five MSU pitchers; Tim Clubb, Buddy Baumann, Aaron Meade, J.C. Casey and Tyler Ryun, have starts of at least six scoreless innings in their careers.
The Bears' weekend rotation of Tim Clubb, Buddy Baumann and Aaron Meade have combined for a 47-20 record in their collective careers.
They have struck out 516 hitters over 567.1 innings with 10 complete games.
All three have won MVC Pitcher of the Week at least once.
Baumann and Meade rank 1-2 in the league in wins (8 and 7), 2-4 in the league in strikeouts (78 and 7-) and 3-5 in ERA (2.42 and 2.87) and 1-4 in opponent average (.191-.228).
The Bears have eight different players with at least 23 RBIs this season.
Missouri State has outscored the opposition 210-129 in the first five innings this season, and slugged 29 of the team's 48 homers in the first four.
Missouri State has allowed 58 unearned runs through 45 games, an average of 1.29 per contest, but is outscoring the opposition overall by 87 runs, or 1.93 per game.
In terms of earned runs, the Bears have outscored the opposition 307-195 this year, a margin of 2.49 per contest.
Missouri State is 19-6 on the year when making one or zero errors.
Missouri State leads the MVC with just 17stolen bases allowed 45 games. The next closest MVC team has allowed 28 steals this year.