SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –
The 2019 Missouri State baseball schedule will feature a total of 56 games, including 25 home dates and match-ups against six different 2018 NCAA Tournament teams, head coach Keith Guttin
announced Thursday. In all, the Bears are slated to play 40 games against opponents that rated among the top 150 RPI-finishers a year ago, including 11 contests against NCAA Regional qualifiers.
The Bears' 56th season of baseball will feature a West Coast feel during the non-conference season, with two separate trips to the state of California on tap for the two-time defending Missouri Valley Conference champions. After opening the season with a three-game tournament hosted by Texas State (Feb. 15-17), the Bears will travel to San Diego to take part in the Tony Gwynn Legacy (Feb. 22-24), and engage Oklahoma (March 15-17) and UC Santa Barbara (March 22-24) in three-game series road series to highlight the non-conference part of the schedule.
The home portion of the schedule will feature non-conference series against Central Arkansas (Feb. 26-27), UC Irvine (March 1-3) and New Orleans (April 18-20), in addition to meetings with 2018 postseason qualifying clubs like Oral Roberts (March 5) and Arkansas (March 26). MSU's home slate will also feature midweek match-ups with regional foes Kansas (March 27), Missouri (April 16) and Wichita State (May 7). The Bears will return visits to each of those schools as part of home-and-home series with the Jayhawks, Tigers and Shockers. The Bears will host four Missouri Valley Conference weekend series, beginning with a three-game set against Indiana State (March 29-31), followed by series with Bradley (April 26-28), Dallas Baptist (May 3-5) and Valparaiso (May 16-18).
The Bears finished with a 40-17 overall record after capturing their second consecutive MVC regular-season title and securing their third NCAA Regional berth in four seasons this past spring and will welcome back 19 letterwinners, including second-team All-American Drew Millas
and All-MVC performers Ty Buckner
, John Privitera
, Connor Sechler
and Logan Wiley
, as well as 2018 MVC Championship Most Outstanding Player Ben Whetstone
MSU is coming off the winningest four-year period in program history after claiming 170 victories since the start of the 2015 season. Under the direction of Guttin — a 13-time conference coach of the year entering his 37th year at the helm — the Bears have claimed three MVC regular-season titles, two Valley Tournament championships and a pair of NCAA Regional crowns over the same timeframe, while seven different Bears have been selected in the top six rounds of the Major League Baseball Draft over the same stretch.
Missouri State opens the 2019 season with a visit to San Marcos, Texas for the Texas State Invitational, which will include games against Nevada, Utah and host Texas State. The following week will see the Bears visit reigning Summit League champion Oral Roberts (Feb. 19), before embarking on their first-ever regular-season trip to Southern California for games against two former national championship programs as part of the prestigious Tony Gwynn Legacy field. MSU will meet four-time NCAA College World Series titlist Cal State Fullerton to open the weekend at Fowler Park on the campus of the University of San Diego. The Bears will then take on tourney co-host San Diego, before squaring off against 2008 CWS champion Fresno State on the final day of the tournament.
The Bears will return to Hammons Field for the first time in 2019 the following week, kicking off the home slate with a six-game homestand. A two-game midweek series with Central Arkansas will be followed by a three-game set against another California-based program in the form of UC Irvine, before Oral Roberts pays the Bears a return visit to wrap up the early home swing.
The month of March will also include a 10-game road stretch, beginning with a three-game set against Arkansas State (March 8-10) in Jonesboro. Next, the Bears will head to the state of Oklahoma for four games, including a midweek matchup with Oklahoma State (March 12) in Stillwater and three games with Oklahoma in Norman. MSU's second trip to the Golden State for its series with UC Santa Barbara and midweek home games with 2018 national runner-up Arkansas and Kansas conclude the pre-conference portion of the schedule.
After opening Valley play against Indiana State at home, the Bears will begin another busy road swing with midweek games at Southeast Missouri State (April 2) and Murray State (April 3), before conference road series at Southern Illinois (April 5-7) and Illinois State (April 12-14) sandwich a midweek return visit to Kansas (April 9).
The final month of the regular season will see the Bears settle in for a lengthy home stay, with 14 of MSU's final 19 games taking place at Hammons Field. In-state rival Mizzou pays the Bears a visit to open the stretch, that also includes MSU's three-game series with New Orleans, Bradley and DBU. The Bears will also travel to Columbia for their return visit with the Tigers on April 23, before meeting former MVC foe Wichita State for a home-and-home set on consecutive Tuesday's to conclude the non-conference slate.
The Maroon and White wraps up the regular season with a three-game Valley series at Evansville (May 10-12), before hosting Valparaiso on the final weekend of conference play.
The 2019 MVC Baseball Championship will take place at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill., May 21-25, with the champion earning the league's automatic NCAA Tournament bid. The 2019 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Selection Show will air May 27, with Regional play beginning the weekend of May 31. The 2019 Men's College World Series kicks off June 15 and culminates with the Finals, June 24-26.
The 2019 season will mark the Bears' 37th year at the NCAA Division I level. Ticket information for the upcoming season is currently being finalized and will be made available through the official web home of Missouri State Athletics, MissouriStateBears.com, later this fall.