April 25, 2016
- Missouri State has claimed 30 road wins since the start of the 2015 season; including neutral-field contests, the Bears have gone 40-14 away from Hammons Field over the last two seasons
- The Bears have been a mainstay in the national polls, earning a top 25 rank in 11 straight weeks to start the season; MSU checks in at No. 23 in both the NCBWA's Top 30 poll and USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll this week
- The Bears rank fourth nationally in slugging (.498), seventh in home runs (49) and 21st in scoring (7.7 rpg.); MSU leads the Valley in nearly every major statistical category, including batting, slugging, on-base percentage, runs, runs batted-in, home runs, triples and total bases
- MSU brings a 27-24 edge over Missouri into Tuesday's game, including wins in each of the last four meetings; the Bears have won eight of their last 11 games against the Tigers in Columbia since 2002
- Jake Burger (16) and Spencer Johnson (13) rank second and ninth nationally in home runs, respectively; MSU has won 14 of the 16 games in which either Burger or Johnson has homered and the Bears are a perfect 5-0 when both have gone deep in the same game
- Johnson moved into the Bears' top 25 for career hits over the weekend, passing Nolan Keane for the No. 25 spot in Saturday's win over Evansville; with 194 career hits, Johnson needs four more to catch Steve Aldrige in the 24th spot
- MSU's bullpen has been stingy this season, going 11-1 with 11 saves while holding the opposition to a .187 batting mark; Bryan Young, who has eight saves this spring, currently ranks 10th among all active NCAA Division I pitchers in career saves (24) and second all-time at MSU in career ERA (1.69)
- Right-handers Sam Perez and Jake Fromson have delivered shutdown performances out of the MSU bullpen as well, combining to go 9-0 with a 2.79 ERA and two saves in 40 total appearances; Perez leads the MVC with 68 strikeouts and ranks second in opponent batting average (.190), while Fromson ranks third in the circuit in ERA (2.18) and fourth in opponent average (.198)
- The Bears are 113-6 over the last five years when scoring at least six runs in a game and have rallied for 14 come-from-behind victories in just 38 games this season after posting 24 comebacks last year
With four consecutive wins in the series, the Missouri State Bears will look to continue their recent mastery of the Missouri Tigers Tuesday (April 26) when the two clubs complete their 2016 home-and-home series with a 6 p.m. contest at Taylor Stadium in Columbia. Both clubs will be looking to overcome recent cold spells, with MSU entering the week having dropped four of its last six games, and the Tigers riding a seven-game losing streak.
The Bears (28-10) will be trying to duplicate an all-around dominant performance that resulted in a 16-1 victory over the Tigers (20-21) in the two clubs' first meeting of the season on April 12 in Springfield. MSU's offense struck for two early runs, then posted three-run rallies in the fourth and fifth innings to build an insurmountable lead.
After logging a 16-1 victory over Mizzou on April 12, Missouri State enjoys a 27-24 edge over the Tigers in a series that dates back to 1975. MSU is 12-14 vs. MU on its home turf, but has claimed eight of the last 11 meetings at Taylor Stadium.
In the two clubs first meeting of the season, Austin Knight and a trio of relievers held the Tigers in check, before the MSU offense put the game - and the largest victory for either club in the 51-game history of the series - on ice with an eight-run explosion in the eighth inning. Knight limited MU to five hits while striking out five in his 5.0 innings, while Jake Fromson and Sam Perez allowed just three baserunners over their three combined frames. Matt Fultz and Aaron Meyer paced the MSU attack, combining to go 5-for-6 with six runs scored and four RBIs.
The 15-run victory surpassed MSU's 20-10 win in Columbia on April 16, 2002, as its biggest win over the Tigers, as well as MU's 12-run victory on March 22, 1975, as the largest overall decision in the series.
With a win Tuesday, the Bears would clinch their second consecutive 'state title' vs. the other Division I programs in the Show-Me State. MSU's lopsided win over Mizzou on April 12 ran its current win streak vs. SLU, MU and SEMO to eight games. Last year, the Bears went 4-0 against the other three Division I baseball programs in the state of Missouri. MSU swept its two-game series from Mizzou for the first time since 2011, in addition to posting wins over the Billikens and SEMO, marking the first undefeated Show-Me season slate for the Bears since 2003, when it went 5-0 against the three Show-Me State schools.
St. Louis native Jake Burger feasted on the pitching of the three Missouri-based programs, hitting .563 (9-for-16) while slugging .875 to go along with three of his four stolen bases on the year in the four games against Show-Me State foes. Fellow Missouri natives Matt Fultz (.417 BA) and Spencer Johnson (.400 BA, .933 SLG) came through against their home state rivals as well, helping the Bears post a .328 team batting mark in the four games.
Bears freshman shortstop Jeremy Eierman has turned in a recent hot stretch that has seen the rookie hit a team-best .412 (21-for-51) with all five of his home runs as a Bear and 18 RBIs over MSU's 13 games in April. The Warsaw, Mo., product has been MSU's leading hitter (.379) in Valley play, and leads all MVC players in slugging (.862) and home runs (4) during league action.
Eierman, who has made all 38 starts at shortstop for MSU this spring, has recorded hits in seven of the Bears' eight conference games and has three multi-RBI games in MVC play, including a four-RBI performance in Saturday's 10-6 win over Evansville. Overall, Eierman's five home runs represents the most for a Missouri State freshman since Luke Voit and Keenen Maddox each clubbed five long balls in 2010.
Two additional MSU rookies have made their presence known over the first two months of the season. Pitcher Dylan Coleman has been a mainstay in the Bears' weekend rotation since day one, logging a 6-2 mound mark to go along with a 3.83 earned run average and 57 strikeouts in 49.1 innings pitched. Coleman won four of his first five decisions on the mound and currently shares the No. 2 spot on the Valley's mound victory chart. The right-hander held SIUE to one run on five hits while fanning eight hitters in 7.0 innings of an 11-1 victory on March 6, then struck out a Bears season-high 11 hitters April 1 vs. Central Michigan. He became the first true freshman to start and win a game on opening weekend for MSU since 1996, when Bryan Buschhorn defeated UT Arlington in his MSU debut. The Potosi, Mo., product's six victories place him in a tie for sixth on MSU's all-time freshman wins list, while his strikeout total ranks third overall in the MVC.
Additionally, Hunter Steinmetz has made all 38 starts in center field for MSU, logging a .348 batting mark and Valley-best totals for triples (5) and steals (13) to date. The Springfield, Mo., native also ranks third in the circuit in on-base percentage (.460), fourth in runs scored (40), walks (29) and hits (54) and sixth overall in hitting.