March 28, 2016
- Missouri State is off to its best start ever, bringing a 19-4 record into Tuesday's game; the Bears are a perfect 7-0 in true road games this season
- The Bears dropped six spots to No. 16 in this week's Collegiate Baseball Division I poll, while also falling to No. 21 in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 and to No. 19 in the NCBWA Top 30 poll
- MSU holds a 29-24 all-time advantage in its series with Kansas and owns an eight-game win streak vs. the Jayhawks dating back to 2011; the Bears are 12-14 vs. KU in Lawrence, but have won four in a row at Hoglund Ballpark
- MSU homered in 17 of its 20 games before failing to go deep in all three of its weekend contests with Minnesota, marking its longest homer drought of the season; the Bears rank third in the nation in home runs (34) just four shy of their entire 2015 season total of 39
- Both Aaron Meyer and Hunter Steinmetz bring 15-game hit streaks into the week; Meyer is hitting .367 over his hot stretch, while Steinmetz is batting a team-best .464 (26-for-56) with 21 runs scored, six RBIs and 10 of his league-leading 11 steals during his streak
- Spencer Johnson brings a streak of 38 consecutive games reaching base safely via a hit, walk or hit by pitch into Tuesday's game; over the course of his streak, which includes the final 15 games of the 2015 season, Johnson has hit .331 (45-for-136) with 10 homers and 39 RBIs
- Jake Burger has hit all 11 of his MVC-leading home runs in Missouri State victories; the sophomore leads the Valley in batting, hits, slugging, RBIs and total bases as well
- Johnson is a career .364 hitter in four previous games vs. Kansas, while Meyer has recorded hits in six of his eight career at-bats against the Jayhawks
- MSU is 10-0 when scoring the first run this season and 17-1 when out-hitting the opposition; the Bears are also 16-1 when leading after seven innings and 59-1 in such instances since the beginning of the 2015 season
After wrapping up a successful nine-game home stand, the Missouri State Bears return to the road for a non-conference match-up with the Kansas Jayhawks Tuesday (March 29) at 6 p.m. in Lawrence.
The Bears (19-4) saw their 10-game win streak come to an end vs. Minnesota on Saturday, but MSU won seven of nine contests on their recently-completed home stand. MSU has been tough to stop away from Hammons Field this spring as well, bringing a 7-0 road record into Tuesday's game.
Kansas (7-13) dropped both of its Big 12 contests against West Virginia this past weekend and brings a five-game losing streak into the week. The Jayhawks have faced a difficult early schedule that has included games with nationally-ranked Oregon State, BYU and Stanford.
Missouri State brings a 29-24 overall advantage over the Jayhawks into this season's home-and-home series. The Bears have dominated the match-up over the last five years, claiming all eight meetings since 2011. Tuesday's game will be the second of three games against Big 12 foes this season for MSU, which dropped a 6-5 decision in 10 innings to Oklahoma State on March 8.
Last year, the Bears won a 15-9 slugfest vs. KU in Springfield, then claimed a 3-0 pitcher's duel in Lawrence. Tate Matheny and Matt Fultz homered, while Joey Hawkins and Aaron Meyer chipped in with three-hit nights in the MSU home win. Andy Cheray and Sam Perez then teamed up to hold KU hitless for 7 2/3 innings, with Perez working the final 6.2 innings to earn the victory.
MSU has proven to be hard to stop on the road over the past two seasons. The Bears are off to a 7-0 road start this year after finishing with a program-record 21 wins in 27 road contests in 2015. Last spring, the Bears' 0.857 win percentage on the road represented their best since 1978, when they went 12-2 (0.857).
Coupled with their 9-3 record in neutral field contests, the Bears' total of 30 wins away from home was second only to national champion Virginia in the Division I ranks last season and the best in school history. The Bears also posted the longest road win streak in Division I baseball last season, claiming 11 straight victories from March 15 to April 25 - their longest since the 1994 season.
Several Bears extended impressive streaks over the weekend, including Aaron Meyer and Hunter Steinmetz, who recorded hits in all three games vs. Minnesota to stretch their matching career-best hit streaks to 15 games. Steinmetz has been the Bears' hottest hitter since beginning his streak on March 5, batting .464 with an on-base percentage of .581 to go along with 10 stolen bases. Meyer, meanwhile, has hit .367 with eight doubles and 11 RBIs over the course of his streak.
Additionally, senior outfielder Spencer Johnson has reached base safely in 38 straight games dating back to May 8, 2015. Along with Steinmetz, Jake Burger and Justin Paulsen, Johnson has reached base safely in all 23 games this season, and the Springfield, Mo., native has batted .331 with 10 homers and 39 RBIs over his streak.
The Bears enter their final two March contests with a chance to post one of their best-ever finishes in the month. MSU's current .824 win percentage in March is second only to the .846 (11-2) mark recorded by the 1976 Bears.
With two more victories, the Bears would finish 16-3 in the month, giving them the second-best win percentage (.842) and their biggest March win total since 1992, when they went 16-7.