Hammons Field – Springfield, MO
Tuesday @ 6:30 PM CT
Missouri (11-17, 4-8 SEC) vs. Missouri State (19-8, 4-2 MVC)
The Tigers follow up their series against Georgia by visiting Missouri State for the first of two games, the second coming next week in Columbia. Missouri State boasts a 19-8 record, and their 4-2 conference record is good for second in the Missouri Valley Conference. They have been especially tough to beat at home, where they have a record of 9-1.
The top of the Bears lineup is freshman Tate Matheny, the son of current St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. The freshman has put together a solid season, as his .383 average is by far and away the best on the team. He is the only player on the Missouri State squad to have a BA above .300, OBP over .400, and SLG over .500. He also leads the team in RBI and HR, which is some production coming from the leadoff spot.
Picking Matheny up from the 3-spot in the order is catcher Luke Voit. The senior has earned Second Team All-MVC the past two seasons, and he relies on Matheny for most of his RBI production. Voit brings speed to the order, as he has swiped five bases in 2013, more than anybody on the team, and has yet to be caught.
The Missouri State batting order shows a lack of speed, as they have stolen only 13 bases in the 27 games they have played. Tiger pitchers may have to keep an eye out for Matheny or Voit to take a base, but other than that, nobody has shown they can be a consistent base-stealer. They are also not a very patient lineup as they average over seven strikeouts per game, have four players that have 20+ (Matheny, Peebles, McComack, and Becker), while not a single batter has drawn 20 walks.
On defense, their infield has been questionable at times, second baseman Eric Cheray has made 7 errors this year and across the diamond, third baseman Joey Hawkins has made 6, putting his fielding percentage below .900.
CF Tate Matheny (R) .383
SS Travis McComack (L) .264
C Luke Voit (R) .292
DH Koby Peebles (S) .284
1B Conor Smith (R) .277
LF Keenen Maddox (R) .262
RF Dylan Becker (L) .208
3B Joey Hawkins (R) .297
2B Eric Cheray (L) .258
Most of my anticipated starting pitcher’s time has been spent coming out of the pen, but Matt Hall has started two games this year, and he carries an ERA that is under 1.00. He has yet to lose a decision this year, and his numbers show that he is more than capable of shutting down a lineup. His 2 ER in 19 innings of work earn him the second best ERA on the Bears. His last appearance came March 27 vs. SEMO when in relief he went 3.1 innings, giving up only two hits and striking out three, not allowing a run to score.
Projected Pitching Matchup
RHP Jace James (2-1, 1.76 ERA) vs. LHP Matt Hall (3-0, 0.95 ERA)
If Bears starter Matt Hall is on his game, Mizzou hitters will have to jump on him early in counts. He has the capability of striking out anybody in the order, and doesn’t walk a whole lot of people. If Jace James does in fact get the ball, then it should lineup to be a great pitching matchup. These two will meet again next Wednesday back in Columbia.
Other SEC games this week:
Alcorn State @ Alabama 4/9-10
New Mexico @ Arkansas 4/9-10
Alabama State @ Auburn 4/10
Florida @ Florida State 4/9
Georgia Tech @ Florida 4/9
Austin Peay State @ Kentucky 4/9
Southern @ LSU 4/9-10
Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss 4/9
The Citadel @ South Carolina 4/9
Tennessee @ East Tennessee State 4/9
Sam Houston State @ Texas A&M 4/9
Vanderbilt @ Tennessee-Martin 4/9