March 17, 2014
Missouri State Game Notes
Missouri State Bears (8-9) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (14-6)
Date: Tuesday, March 18
First Pitch:6:35 p.m.
Location: Springfield, Mo.
Site: Hammons Field (8,000)
Series Histories: OSU leads 8-6
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM/99.9 FM (Art Hains)
Live Audio: RadioSpringfield.com
Live Video: None
After dropping their first three home games of the 2014 season to Dallas Baptist over the weekend, the Missouri State Bears (8-9) will look to rebound Tuesday (March 18) evening against the Oklahoma State Cowboys (14-6). The Bears will be shooting for their fifth home win over the Cowboys in six tries when the two clubs square off in a 6:35 p.m. contest at Hammons Field. Currently riding a six-game losing streak, the Bears enter the game having gone scoreless in all three of their meetings with DBU and in 32 consecutive frames overall. The Cowboys, meanwhile, took two of three games from UT Pan American over the weekend after falling to MVC foe Wichita State last Tuesday.
? Missouri State is 4-1 vs. Oklahoma State at home, with its lone loss at Hammons Field coming last April; OSU won both meetings with the Bears last spring to stop a five-game losing streak in the series
? Bears starting pitchers have allowed just two earned runs over their first 25.0 innings at Hammons Field this season
? MSU is hitting just .220 as a team over its current six-game losing streak, but the Bears pitching staff has logged a 2.77 ERA during the same stretch
? Missouri State has recorded at least 12 hits in seven of its 17 games after reaching the same mark just 10 times over the course of its 54-game 2013 schedule; the Bears' 56 extra-base hits leads all MVC clubs
? The Bears have been shut out in three consecutive contests for the first time in 2,370 varsity games covering the entire 51-year history of the program; their current 32-inning scoring drought also represents the longest in school history
? Tate Matheny is riding a 13-game hitting streak to mark his fourth streak of at least 10 games in just 68 career contests as a Bear; Matheny is a career .389 (44-for-113) hitter in 26 games at Hammons Field
? Clay Murphy is 8-2 with a 2.89 earned run average at home and 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA in five career appearances vs. Oklahoma State
? MSU will bring a sub-.500 record into play Tuesday for the first time since Feb. 19, 2012 -- a span of 128 games over 755 days
? Matt Fultz has thrown out 8-of-11 (.727) would-be basestealers on the season, while slugging .529 with six multi-hit games and four multi-RBI performances in his first 16 games as a Bear
The Cowboys hold a slim 8-6 edge in the series that dates back to 1987. OSU claimed its only road win vs. Missouri State last April to complete a two-game season sweep of the Bears. Prior to 2013, MSU had taken the last five meetings, including three straight at home, since 2010.
Home Sweet Home?
After spending the first four weeks of the season on the road, the Bears' first appearance of 2014 at Hammons Field was supposed to be a happy homecoming. But MSU's three-game series with Dallas Baptist was anything but a party for the Bears, who were held scoreless by the Patriots in all three games, hitting just .133 for the weekend and extending a recent trend of inconsistency on their home turf. Since starting the 2013 season with nine wins in their first 10 home games, the Bears have dropped 11 of their last 16 contests at Hammons, including nine of their last 11. MSU's 0-3 start at home is its first since beginning the 1997 home slate with three consecutive losses to Iowa State and its worst in 11 seasons at Hammons.
Not in the 9th
Dallas Baptist pulled out all three weekend victories in the ninth inning after the two clubs played to scoreless ties through eight frames. The Bears have been outscored in the ninth by a combined 17-1 margin this season and have dropped five games in which the opposition has plated the deciding run(s) in its final turn at the plate.
Rotation Rounding Into Form
Despite the Bears' recent six-game slide, Missouri State's starting pitching turned in its best work of the season over the weekend. MSU's weekend rotation of Cody Schumacher, Jon Harris and Matt Hall combined to hold Dallas Baptist to three runs (two earned) on just 13 hits over 25.0 innings, fanning 21 while issuing only four bases on balls. Over the Bears' current six-game losing streak, MSU has posted a 2.77 ERA as a staff, while Bears starting pitchers have registered a 2.76 ERA for the season.
Matheny Makes His Move
One bright spot for the Missouri State offense during its recent skid has been the consistency provided at the top of the order by Tate Matheny. The Bears sophomore center fielder accounted for four of MSU's 11 hits over the weekend vs. Dallas Baptist and hit .353 for the week to extend his career-best hitting streak to 13 games. Matheny's current tear represents the fourth different hit streak of at least 10 games in his MSU career, which numbers just 68 games to date.
Missouri State has found itself on the short end of a series of close decisions this season, having dropped four of its six one-run contests in 2014. Furthermore, five of the Bears' six setbacks on their current losing streak have been by two runs or less, as have six of their nine losses overall. Conversely, the Bears have scored an average of 8.8 runs in their eight wins, besting the opposition by an average of nearly six runs per victory. Last spring, the Bears lost 12 of their final 17 contests, with all but one resulting in a final margin of more than three runs. Additionally, MSU was beaten by an average of just 2.5 runs in their 23 losses last year, including 20 that were decided by three runs or less.