Bears Select Matheny, Schumacher for Top Team Honors
May 29, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - After leading Missouri State with standout performances at the plate and on the mound this spring, sophomore outfielder Tate Matheny and senior pitcher Cody Schumacher took home top honors Thursday when the Bears unveiled their team award-winners for the 2014 season. Matheny won his second consecutive A.E. "Ted" Willis Most Valuable Player Award, while Schumacher claimed the Dave Dickensheet Outstanding Pitcher Award and freshman Aaron Meyer was named MSU's Danny Cook Rookie of the Year.
Matheny becomes just the sixth Bear in the 48-year history of the Willis Award to be selected as a repeat team MVP by his teammates following one of the top all-around individual performances in the Missouri Valley Conference this spring. The St. Louis native powered the Bears' offense with a .330 batting mark, while his 10 home runs ranked third in the Valley and marked the first double-digit total for a Missouri State player since 2009. A First-Team All-MVC selection, Matheny led all MVC batters with 35 hits in league play and ranking among the conference's statistical leaders in nearly every significant offensive category during the Valley season. The sophomore batted .412 and slugged .671 with six homers and 57 total bases in MVC play, good for second in the conference in each category, while his 18 runs scored were third and his RBI (18) total ranked sixth.
In addition to posting a team-best 13-game hit streak this spring, Matheny logged a club-high 23 multi-hit games to go along with nine multi-RBI outings. An All-MVC Tournament selection this year as well, he led MSU in slugging (.528), on-base percentage (.421), total bases (115), runs scored (42) and RBIs (37) for the season and was charged with just one miscue in 155 defensive chances while starting 54 of the Bears' 57 games in center field. He joins Danny Cook (1968-69), Jason Hart (1997-98), Dant'e Brinkley (2001-03) and Kevin Medrano (2010-11) as the only Bears to claim back-to-back Willis Awards, while Bill Mueller (1991 and 1993) was selected for multiple team MVP honors in non-consecutive years.
After a shoulder injury ended his 2013 season prematurely, Schumacher capped his three-year MSU career with a dominant 2014 season as the Bears' regular Friday starter. The Topeka, Kan., product led the Bears in mound victories, logging a 6-2 mark for the season to go along with a 2.45 earned run average that not only paced the MSU staff, but ranked seventh overall in the Valley. Schumacher limited the opposition to a .210 batting average--the fourth-lowest in the circuit--and his six wins tied for ninth among all MVC pitchers.
Schumacher opened the season with four wins in his first four appearances, including 17 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. The right-hander is the first MSU senior to earn the Dickensheet Award since Chris Krawczyk in 2006, finishing his career with a 15-4 overall record to rank seventh on the Bears' all-time winning percentage list (.789). Additionally, his 3.05 career ERA ranks as the 10th-best figure in the 51-year history of the MSU program.
Meyer was a force in the Bears' lineup as a rookie, logging a .348 batting mark in Valley play to rank eighth in the conference. Overall, the versatile Millstadt, Ill., native made 32 starts and saw action in 48 of MSU's 57 contests, hitting .226 with 28 total hits while splitting time between the outfield and second base. Meyer recorded a pair of three-hit games this season, in addition to a clutch 2-for-2 effort off the bench to help MSU lock up its MVC series win over the league's regular-season champ Evansville (May 17).
Missouri State's annual team awards are named in honor of three former Bears who made significant contributions to the University's athletics programs. Ted Willis was an MSU football letterman in 1918, and the Bears' team MVP award carries his name through a plaque donated by his widow in memory of his long-standing interest and support of MSU athletics. The Bears' top rookie honor is named for Danny Cook, a standout third baseman for the Bears from 1966 through 1969 who died of leukemia in 1989. Finally, Dave Dickensheet is a Missouri State Athletics Hall of Famer who pitched for the Bears from 1979 through 1982 before succumbing to cancer in 1991.