Bears Primed for Final MVC Road Series at Indiana State
Clay Murphy
Clay Murphy

May 8, 2014

Missouri State Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Missouri State Bears (21-25, 7-8 MVC) at Indiana State Sycamores (30-13, 9-6 MVC)
Friday, May 9 - 5:30 p.m. (Central)
Saturday, May 10 - 1 p.m.
Sunday, May 11 - 12:00 p.m.
Location: Terre Haute, Ind.
Site: Bob Warn Field (2,000)
Series History: MSU leads 61-37
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM (Art Hains)
Live Audio:
Twitter: @MSUBearBaseball

Leading Off
With just two weeks remaining in the Missouri Valley Conference regular season, the Missouri State Bears (21-25, 7-8 MVC) hit the road one final time this weekend when they travel to Terre Haute to meet the Indiana State Sycamores (30-13, 9-6 MVC) in a three-game set at Bob Warn Field. The Bears and Sycamores will open the weekend with a 5:30 p.m. (Central) contest Friday (May 9), before squaring off again at 1 p.m. Saturday and Noon Sunday.

Missouri State posted a 5-3 home win over Kansas on Wednesday (May 7) to sweep its season series with the Jayhawks and run its win streak vs. KU to six games. The Bears lost a Tuesday night contest to Oral Roberts after dropping two of three MVC games at Dallas Baptist last weekend.

Indiana State notched its 30th victory of the season Wednesday with a 9-7 victory over Ball State after enjoying a bye week in Valley play. The Sycamores, who claimed two of three games from Dallas Baptist two weeks ago, enter this weekend's action deadlocked with DBU and Wichita State in the No. 3 position in the MVC standings, two games ahead of the Bears.

Up next, the Bears return home for their final three games of the season at Hammons Field next weekend against league-leading Evansville. The two clubs will meet Thursday (May 15) at 6:35 p.m., then again Friday and Saturday at 1:05 p.m. both days.

Prime 9
♦ Missouri State brings a commanding 61-37 all-time advantage over Indiana State into this weekend's series, including a 25-13 edge in Terre Haute
♦ The Bears have won five straight from the Sycamores after their three game sweep last year in Springfield; MSU took two of three from the 2012 Valley champs in its last trip to Bob Warn Field, and has claimed 14 of the last 17 meetings with ISU in Terre Haute dating back to the 2002 season
Tate Matheny leads all Valley batters with 26 hits during league play; the sophomore is hitting .433 and slugging .733 with five homers and 44 total bases in MVC play, good for second in the conference in each category
Joey Hawkins hit .556 vs. ISU in 2013 and leads the MVC in assists (141) and sacrifice hits (11) this season
♦ The Bears rank 20th nationally as a pitching staff in strikeouts per nine innings pitched (7.9), with Clay Murphy's K/9 IP rate of 10.07 also ranking as the 20th-best individual mark in all of Division I baseball
Jake Powers has fanned 15 batters over six scoreless relief outings--five of them hitless--spanning 11.0 innings since April 12
Spencer Johnson is 7-for-11 (.636) with a home run, four RBIs and three runs scored over his last three games
Keith Guttin matched former South Alabama coach Steve Kittrell for the No. 36 spot on the NCAA's Division I coaching victories list with Wednesday's 5-3 win over Kansas
♦ MSU is 16-1 in 2014 and 31-2 over the last two seasons when scoring at least six runs; conversely, the Bears are just 5-23 when failing to top the five-run mark in 2014

Series History
MSU holds a clear 61-37 advantage in the series, including a 25-13 mark in Terre Haute. The Bears are 5-5 in Valley road games this season and 11-14 overall.

Last year, the Bears swept the Sycamores in their three-game MVC series in Springfield (March 29-31), outscoring ISU 12-1 over the first 26 innings of the series before the visitors erupted for seven runs in the top of the ninth inning in the finale to erase a 4-0 MSU lead. The Bears rallied to send the game to extra innings, and Travis McComack's one-out double in the 11th inning plated Joey Hawkins with the game-winning run.

Familiar Territory
Missouri State has enjoyed an unprecedented string of success at Bob Warn Field over the last decade, claiming wins in 14 of its 17 Valley meetings with the Sycamores. Two years ago, the Bears took two of three road games from an ISU squad that captured the MVC regular-season title.

Prior to that weekend, the Bears had reeled off 11 consecutive road wins against Indiana State from 2002 until their 2010 visit to Terre Haute, when they dropped two of three games to the Sycamores. Since joining the MVC in 1991, the Bears have gone 25-13 on ISU's home field.

Holding Aces
Missouri State's regular weekend rotation consisting of Cody Schumacher, Jon Harris and Clay Murphy has enjoyed a strong second half of the 2014 season to date, combining to post a 3.19 ERA over their last 12 combined appearances since April 11. Clay Murphy has gone 3-1 with a 3.09 ERA in four starts over the same span, striking out 26 while handing out just seven walks. The senior defeated Bradley (April 12) to start the run, then struck out a career-high 13 at UT Martin (April 26) in another victory. Finally, the right-hander pitched MSU past Dallas Baptist last Sunday with a 10-5 win for his 15th career victory.

Harris has been equally as dominant, going just 1-2, but logging the first two saves of his MSU career and holding the opposition to a .196 batting mark while striking out 30 hitters and handing out only five walks. Schumacher, the Bears' usual Friday starter, has bounced back from a nagging groin strain to allow just two earned runs over 9.1 innings over which he has held the opposition to a miniscule .136 average.

Powers Posts Powerful Pen Performance
Senior right-hander Jake Powers has been lights out in his new role out of the Bears' bullpen. Powers has logged six consecutive scoreless relief appearances dating back to an April 12 outing at Bradley in which he worked 3.2 hitless innings to earn his first career save. Over the six-game stretch, Powers has turned in five hitless appearances, fanning a total of 15 batters while yielding just two hits and a single walk over 11.0 innings.



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