Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Game Day: MU @ Missouri State

Jake Powers, MSU mid-week pitcher
Springfield News-Leader
Mizzou and Missouri State have an annual home-and-away mid-week series.  Once upon a time MU had a similar agreeement with the other Di1 schools in Missouri as well - SLU and SEMO - but those have gone by the wayside.  This year's "Tigers & Bears Oh My" series begins with a game this evening in Springfield.

♦ Missouri State is 36th on the RPI rankings.  Mizzou is 98th.

♦ The Bears are 29-12 on the season, 8-3 in the Missouri Valley.
  • The Bears lead the Mo Valley by virtue of one less loss (due to a rain-out) than Indiana State and Southern Illinois.
  • Team batting average: .279
  • Team ERA: 2.48
  • The Bears' losses have come to Tennessee Tech, Texas Tech and Houston Baptist early in the season, one non-conference loss each to Purdue, SIU-Edwardsville, ORU, and a pair of losses to Dallas Baptist; In the Valley they lost two to Bradley and one to Wichita State
  • MSU is 7-2 in mid-week games, losing the 2 to SLU and Purdue, with wins over Oklahoma State (2), Kansas and Kansas State.
♦ The Bears' Friday night ace is Nick Petree, who sports an 8-2 record and a 0.77 ERA.  Fortunately for MU, this is not a Friday, and MSU will want to save Petree for this weekend against Southern Illinois, one of the teams nipping at their heels in the MVC.
Missouri State's Golden Arms ( Subscription only
When it comes to the nation's best weekend rotations, the easy answer everyone always comes back with is, you guessed it, Florida. But while there are plenty of other premier rotations around the country, the one at Missouri State deserves its name in the ring as one of the fastest rising rotations in the land.

Though the Bears have some productive hitters, the weekend rotation is the chief reason why this team has a chance to reach the College World Series for the first time since 2003.

"If you look at the sheer numbers, this group has done just as well, or better, than some of the best staffs we've had in our program's history," Evans said. "We've been in some good situations this season, even recently allowing just one base-hit an entire weekend."

Unlike some other elite pitching staffs, the Bears don't have a staff or weekend rotation that has been dominant for a couple of seasons. Instead, this is a unit with several individuals that have either overcome some adversity in the form or injuries, or simply have developed throughout their careers into the dominant arms they are today.
Jake Powers will most likely be the starter against Missouri tonight. Powers is a redshirt sophomore from Francis Howell HS.

Powers lifts Bears to Win (Springfield News Leader, 4/12)
“Exactly what we needed,” coach Keith Guttin said after Powers worked six shutout innings Wednesday night in the Bears’ 3-0 victory over Kansas State before 669 chilled fans at Hammons Field.

Powers (2-0) allowed five hits, one walk and matched his career high with nine strikeouts as MSU improved to 25-10 with its ninth straight home victory.
. . .
Powers said teams from major conferences sometimes sit on fastballs and are baffled against an assortment of off-speed deliveries.

That was clear as he escaped out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the fourth. He struck out Matt Giller on a curve and retired Mike Kindel and Jake Brown on pop flies.

The junior right-hander walked the high-wire again in the fifth after back-to-back errors put Wildcats on second and third with one out. Powers struck out cleanup hitter Wade Hinkle and induced a groundout from Blair DeBord.

“I was mixing speeds, changing up and keeping them off balance. It worked out for me,” Powers said. “They definitely were a fastball-hitting team and I was able to keep them off balance.”

♦ The Bears also have a closer, Tyler Burgess, who is on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year watch list. He has 9 saves with a 1.07 ERA.

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