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Baseball

Bears Aim to Continue Hot Streak Saturday in Oklahoma

 
Missouri State Bears (10-5) vs. Seton Hall Pirates (6-8)/Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-7)
Date/Site March 17  |  Stillwater, Okla.
Facility Allie P. Reynolds Stadium (4,000)
Game 1 vs. Seton Hall  |  1 p.m. 
Game 2 at Oklahoma State  |  6 p.m. 
Radio: KBFL 1060 AM/96.9 FM
Follow: Live Stats  |  @MSUBearBaseball
Game Notes:                     Missouri State  |  Seton Hall  |  Oklahoma State
Series Histories: OSU leads MSU 14-7  |  First meeting with SHU                                       

PRIME 9
  • MSU is 7-3 in road/neutral-site contests this season and 75-37 in such games since the start of the 2015 season
  • After totaling just four long balls over the first nine games of the season, the Bears have powered up to hit 10 homers in their last six contests since March 7
  • The Bears have posted a 79-32 (.714) regular-season non-conference mark over the last three seasons
  • OSU holds a 14-7 edge in the series with MSU after its 10-8 win in Springfield on March 7; the Bears will be meeting Seton Hall for the first time and are 43-43 all-time vs. the current membership of the Big East Conference
  • Preseason All-American Jeremy Eierman has rebounded from a sluggish start to hit .455 (15-for-33) over his current eight-game hit streak, which is one shy of his career best (April 23-May 12, 2017)
  • Dylan Coleman enters the weekend at No. 14 on the Bears' career strikeouts list with 222, just one behind Mike Whitley in the 13th position and four away from cracking the top 10    
  • The Bears lead the Valley in team earned run average (3.51), earned runs allowed (52), fewest home runs allowed (7) and double plays turned (15)
  • Head coach Keith Guttin is one win away from matching former San Diego State bench boss Jim Dietz (1,230) for 22nd on the NCAA's all-time Division I coaching victories list
  • Missouri State has 65 combined come-from-behind victories over the last three-plus seasons, including six through its first 15 contests of the 2018 campaign 
LEADING OFF
Riding a season-best three-game win streak, the Missouri State Bears will look to keep their March momentum going Saturday (March 17), when they travel to Stillwater, Okla., to meet the Seton Hall Pirates and Oklahoma State Cowboys in a split doubleheader at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium. The Bears and Pirates will square off at 1 p.m., before MSU takes on the Cowboys at 6 p.m..

The Bears (10-5) are coming off a midweek sweep of their two games against 2017 NCAA Regional qualifiers in Oral Roberts and Iowa this week. MSU pulled off its second straight walkoff win Tuesday with a 6-5 home victory over ORU, then cruised to an 8-3 decision over Iowa Wednesday in Kansas City.

Seton Hall (6-8) stopped a three-game slide with a win over Saint Peter's in its home opener Wednesday, while OSU (8-7)enters the weekend having dropped its last three contests—all by margins of two runs or fewer.

SERIES HISTORY
Saturday's meeting will mark the first-ever between the Pirates and Bears, who have gone 43-43 against Big East Conference foes overall. Oklahoma State holds a 14-7 edge in the series, thanks to a recent seven-game win streak vs. MSU prior to the Bears' 6-5 victory in the opening round of the 2017 NCAA Division I Championship at the Fayetteville Regional last June. OSU rallied from a 6-0 deficit last Wednesday in Springfield to claim a 10-8 victory in the two clubs first meeting of the season.

ROAD TO SUCCESS
MSU has proven to be hard to stop on the road over the past three seasons, logging a 56-31 (.644) record in such contests. Including their 19-6 record in neutral-field games over the same stretch, the Bears have gone 75-37 (.670) away from Hammons Field since the start of the 2015 season. The Bears went 19-13 in true road games a year ago, after finishing with a program-record 21 wins in 27 road contests in 2015. MSU's 0.857 win percentage on the road represented their best since 1978, when they posted an identical percentage with a 12-2 road mark. 

POWER SURGE
After entering last week with four combined home runs as a team, the Bears have muscled up to club 10 long balls in their last six outings. Ben Whetstone launched three critical home runs in MSU's series win over No. 30 Arkansas State, including the first two-homer game of his career in last Friday's 12-4 win. He belted a game-tying solo shot in the eighth inning of Sunday's series-clinching win as well. Additionally, Matt Brown went deep twice in Friday's win, while Hunter Steinmetz, Landan Ruff and Drew Millas have each powered up to hit their first homers of the season over the past 10 days.

COLEMAN CLIMBING
Junior right-hander Dylan Coleman turned in his fourth consecutive quality start to begin the 2018 season last Friday, holding No. 30 Arkansas State to a single run on two hits over 7.0 innings to earn his second-straight victory over a ranked foe. The Potosi, Mo., product moved up to 14th on the Bears' career strikeout list with six K's as part of the 12-4 victory, which helped pave the way to a series win for MSU.  

Coleman, who fanned an MVC-high 106 batters in 2016, needs one more strikeout to match Mike Whitley's (1992-95) career total in the No. 13 position. Additionally, he is just four K's shy of the No. 10 spot, currently shared by Aaron Meade (2008-10) and Dave Dickensheet (1979-82).

BOUNCEBACK BEARS
Missouri State has made a habit of eliminating opposition leads over the last three seasons, totaling 65 come-from-behind victories out of 140 total wins since the start of the 2015 season. 

With its 5-4 walkoff victory over Arkansas State on Sunday, Missouri State not only logged its fifth come-from-behind victory of the season, but also improved to 5-0 follow a loss. The Bears have hit .294 with seven of their 14 home runs on the season in those five victories. Ben Whetstone has been particularly lethal in games following losses, batting .421 and slugging 1.053 with all four of his homers and six RBIs. On the mound, Dylan Coleman has posted a pair of wins and a 2.57 ERA in such outings.

IN RARE COMPANY
Bears head coach Keith Guttin picked up his 1,200th career victory April 18, 2017, with the Bears' 5-3 win at Missouri. The Bears' 36th-year bench boss also moved up to 23rd in NCAA Division I history for coaching victories with the Bears' MVC-clinching win over Indiana State (May 13), surpassing Jay Bergman with his 1,211th win. He needs one more victory to match Jim Dietz's career total in the No. 22 spot on the NCAA's all-time wins list.

With a career record of 1,229-764 (.617), Guttin is the second-winningest coach in MVC history, while his win total ranked sixth among all active Division I head coaches entering the 2018 season. 

OFF AND RUNNING
As part of their 10-5 start to the season, the Bears locked up their eighth-consecutive .500 or better month of February. Since the start of the 2011 season, Missouri State has gone a combined 43-15 (.741) in February, including a cumulative 28-8 (.778) mark over the last five seasons. 

MSU has been even better in the month of March, which has traditionally been the Bears' most successful month. MSU has gone 41-19 in March over the last four seasons and has logged 15 winning months of March since 2001. Overall, MSU has posted a .633 March winning percentage and finished .500 or better in the month 45 times in 54 years as a varsity program.

BEARS ON RADIO
Once again in 2018, Meyer Communications is slated to provide live radio coverage of all 53 Missouri State regular-season games, plus all Bears' games in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament and any 2018 postseason play. 

The broadcasts can be heard primarily on KBFL 1060 AM and 96.9 FM in Springfield with Art Hains, Ben Goss and Corey Riggs describing the action. An online audio stream is available through KBFL's website via RadioSpringfield.com




 
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