Blake Graham
MSU Office of Visual Media


Road Test at Oral Roberts Awaits Bears Tuesday

Missouri State Bears (2-1) at Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (3-0)
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 21
Location: Tulsa, Okla.
Site: J.L. Johnson Stadium (2,418)
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM/96.9 FM (Art Hains)
Follow: Live Video  |  Live Stats  |  @MSUBearBaseball
Game Notes:                    Missouri State  |  Oral Roberts  |  MVC Notebook   
Series History: ORU leads 30-21       
Last Meeting: MSU won 5-0 in Springfield (March 2, 2016)

  • The Missouri State Bears will travel to Tulsa to take on the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles Tuesday (Feb. 21) in a 3 p.m. non-conference contest at J.L. Johnson Stadium
  • Oral Roberts holds a 30-21 advantage in the series, including a 20-9 edge in Tulsa; the Golden Eagles have won four of the last six meeting in the series, but the Bears have won two of their last three games with ORU at J.L. Johnson Stadium, however
  • Pitching and defense have dominated the series in recent years, with neither club allowing more than five runs in any of the last 10 meetings dating back to 2012; Three shutouts have been posted over the same stretch, with the Bears recording two (March 2, 2016 and March 12, 2012, both in Springfield)
  • Missouri State posted its fifth-consecutive opening day win last Friday vs. Rhode Island; the Bears improved to 23-12 in openers under head coach Keith Guttin and 35-19 overall in season lid-lifters
  • The Bears outscored their three opponents 22-5 in going 2-1 at the Lake Area Classic in Lake Charles, La., over the weekend; MSU hit five home runs as a team and racked up 12 extra-base hits while allowing just two in three games
  • Sophomore shortstop Jeremy Eierman was named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week on Monday after batting .583 (7-for-12) and slugging 1.250 with a pair of homers and six RBIs for the Bears over the weekend
  • A total of 12 different Bears made their MSU debuts this past weekend, led by the performance of Friday's starting pitcher Doug Still, who earned the win over Rhode Island after allowing just one run in 6.0 innings
  • The Bears' bullpen combined to post 9.0 shutout innings in MSU's first three games of the season, allowing just five hits and one walk while striking out nine and holding the opposition to a .179 batting mark; Jake Fromson turned in two shutdown relief appearances, including a career-best 4.0 shutout innings in Sunday's tourney finale vs. McNeese
  • The Bears have amassed a 52-14 regular-season record against non-conference foes since the beginning of the 2015 season, including a 28-10 mark in road or neutral-field games against non-MVC competition; MSU has also logged a total of 41 come-from-behind wins over the last two seasons

After claiming their fifth-consecutive opening day victory as part of a 2-1 weekend in Louisiana, the Missouri State Bears look to build on their strong start to the 2017 season Tuesday (Feb. 21), when they travel to Tulsa, Okla., to take on the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles in a 3 p.m. non-conference contest at J.L. Johnson Stadium. The Bears picked up wins over Rhode Island (12-1) and Stony Brook (7-0), before coming up just short in their bid for a weekend sweep against host McNeese State at the Lake Area Classic last weekend.
ORU (3-0) capped a perfect opening weekend vs. Little Rock with an 8-3 win Sunday. The Golden Eagles opened the season at home with a 10-4 win Friday, followed by a 4-3 walk-off decision in 13 innnigs on Saturday.

ORU brings a decisive 30-21 edge in its series with the Bears into play Tuesday, including a 20-9 advantage on its home turf. The Golden Eagles have won four of the last six meetings since 2013, despite MSU claiming a 5-0 victory in Springfield last March. The Bears have taken two of the last three from ORU in Tulsa, however, splitting a pair of midweek contests in both 2012 and 2014.

MSU has posted a 60-40 all-time mark against the current membership of the Summit League, thanks in large part to its big edge in its series with Western Illinois (28-5). The Bears went 3-0 versus the conference in 2016, with a pair of March home victories over the Leathernecks in addition to the blanking of ORU.

With its 12-1 win over Rhode Island, Missouri State is now 23-12 in season openers under head coach Keith Guttin and 35-19 overall in such affairs. The Bears' big win over the preseason Atlantic 10 Conference favorite marked their fifth-consecutive opening day victory. Additionally, MSU's 12 runs matched their 2016 opening day offensive output as its best since the 2004 season opener (13 runs vs. Little Rock). The Bears have employed a potent offensive attack in recent years, totaling 41 runs in their last four season debuts.

Bears head coach Keith Guttin cracked the NCAA's top 25 coaching wins list over the weekend, moving past Andy Lopez with Saturday's victories over Stony Brook and Rhode Island. With a career record of 1,178-740 (.614), Guttin is the second-winningest coach in MVC history, while his win total ranks seventh among all active Division I head coaches. 

Sophomore shortstop Jeremy Eierman cashed in on a strong opening weekend by picking up Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week honors, the league office announced Monday. 

Eierman powered the Missouri State offense over the weekend at the Lake Area Classic, batting .583 (7-for-12) with a pair of homers and six RBIs. The Warsaw, Mo., product slugged 1.250, totaled four extra-base hits and recorded at least two hits in all three contests, including a 3-for-4 effort in MSU's opener with Rhode Island. He reached base four times in the 12-1 win, singling home a run and belting a two-run homer. He also went 2-for-4 in the Bears' win over Stony Brook, before clubbing a three-run homer and doubling in game three vs. McNeese on Sunday.

The MVC weekly honor is the second of Eierman's career, after the MSU shortstop earned the same award on May 23, 2016, en route to garnering Freshman All-America honors from both Collegiate Baseball and the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association.

MSU rode a familiar formula of pitching and defense to victories in its first two games at the Lake Area Classic over the weekend. The Bears turned a total of six double plays in their three games in Louisiana, including five of the inning-ending variety. The Bears, which fielded .983 with just two miscues in 117 total chances in their three games, also got a big boost from their outfield defense. Hunter Steinmetz turned in three diving catches to rob opponents of runs, and Blake Graham added a highlight-reel grab of his own.

On the mound, the Bears yielded just four earned runs over the weekend, getting a pair of quality starts from Doug Still and Jordan Knutson, as well as solid work from all four relievers who saw action. Still earned the win vs. Rhode Island after allowing just one earned run on five hits over 6.0 innings, before Knutson and Dylan Coleman combined on a five-hit shutout of Stony Brook.

A key factor in Missouri State's success over the past two seasons has been its dominance against non-conference competition. Since the beginning of the 2015 season, the Bears have compiled a 52-14 record in regular-season games versus non-league foes. They have won 24 of their last 28 regular-season non-conference home games, but have been nearly as potent on the road, going 28-10 in true road and neutral-field contests over the same stretch.

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