Guttin Reaches 1,000 Career Win Plateau
Missouri State head coach Keith Guttin (Missouri-St. Louis, 1978) became the 46th Division I baseball coach and the third Valley bench boss to reach the 1,000 career-win mark with last Saturday's 3-2 victory over Northwestern State.
Guttin, who entered the season 15th among active Division I head coaches in career victories, became the first coach at Missouri State in any sport to reach the 900-win mark with the Bears' May 11, 2008, win over Middle Tennessee at Hammons Field. During his tenure, 114 Bears have signed professional contracts, including 12 Major Leaguers. Additionally, MSU has made seven Division I NCAA Tournament appearances--six in the last 17 years. In 2003, Guttin led the Bears to the NCAA Division I College World Series for the first time in school history. Guttin has been a conference Coach of the Year 10 times with four of those coming in the Valley and six coming during the Bears' years in the Mid-Continent Conference.
Junior Luke Voit was one of 43 Division I catchers named to the initial Johnny Bench Award watch list on Wednesday. Additional nominations for the award, which honors the top Division I player who serves as a team's starting catcher in at least 75% of its games, will be considered until May 7, with semifinalists announced on May 16, and finalists revealed on June 4. The award will be presented June 28, in Wichita.
Voit is currently second on the Bears in RBIs (15), while ranking sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference and 45th nationally. The 2011 All-MVC second-teamer leads MSU with three stolen bases and has a .991 fielding percentage while throwing out 46 percent of all would-be base-stealers on the season.
Seifert Picks Up Valley Honor
After playing a key role in each of the Bears' four victories last week, senior third baseman Brent Seifert was named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for the period February 27 through March 4, the league office announced Monday.
Seifert powered the Missouri State offense with a .412 batting average, .824 slugging percentage and nine RBIs last week. Five of his seven hits on the week went for extra bases, including three two-run doubles and a three-run homer in MSU's weekend sweep of Northwestern State. After going 1-for-3 with a pair of walks in MSU's win at Oklahoma State, Seifert recorded multi-hit and multi-RBI games in all three outings at NSU, coming through with key two-out, two-run doubles in each of the first two games of the set, then clubbing a game-clinching three-run homer in the finale on Sunday. He matched a career-high with four RBIs in an 8-3 win on Friday and drove in the tying and go-ahead runs in the Bears' 3-2 victory on Saturday. Seifert extended his career-best streak of consecutive games reaching base to 17 contests by going 2-for-4 with two runs scored in Sunday's 9-1 victory.
The Cameron, Mo., native shares the team lead and ranks third in the Valley with 15 RBIs on the season. Additionally, he leads the MVC in walks with 12, while his six doubles rank just behind MSU teammate Spiker Helms's league-leading total of eight.
Murph's Big 12 Mastery Continues
Junior right-hander Clay Murphy has made a career out of stymieing the Big 12 Conference and his first three starts of the 2012 season have offered more of the same. The Wolf Lake, Ill., native held Texas Tech to two unearned runs on seven hits while striking out five Red Raiders through six innings Feb. 19, to allow the Bears to stay close enough to rally late for an eventual 4-2 victory. Murphy has followed up that effort with a pair of standout performances vs. Oklahoma State. He worked 6.2 innings to beat the Cowboys, 7-1, in Stillwater (Feb. 29), then bested OSU again Tuesday by a 5-2 score in MSU's home opener to help the Bears run their record to 9-3 vs. the Big 12 over the last two seasons.
Murphy extended his streak of consecutive innings against Big 12 opponents without giving up an earned run to 26 innings before allowing a third-inning home run Tuesday. He responded by working his first-ever complete game, striking-out eight in the process.
Overall, Murphy now has a 3-1 career mark and a respectable 3.31 ERA in 11 appearances vs. Big 12 foes. But since March 1, 2011--the day his streak began--Murphy has completed 35.2 innings over six outings, allowing just three earned runs on 28 hits while striking-out 32 Big 12 batters in five MSU victories. Against the Cowboys, Murphy has been downright dominant in five career appearances. Last year, he allowed just one earned run on six hits, fanning 14 hitters over 13.0 innings. With his two victories this season against OSU, he improved to 3-0 with a career ERA vs. the Cowboys of 1.77.