Oral Roberts Series
ORU holds a commanding 25-16 lead in the series, but the Bears have dominated the Golden Eagles over the last four seasons, winning the last eight meetings. Last year, the Bears swept a rain-shortened two-game series, claiming a 10-5 win in Tulsa and a 6-5 decision at Hammons Field.
About the Bears
Following a disappointing end to an otherwise memorable bounceback 2011 season, Missouri State entered the new year as the preseason choice to capture the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title for the fourth time in the last 12 seasons. After a rough start to opening weekend in Lubbock, Texas, the Bears rebounded to win 11 of their next 12 games to post their best start to a season since 1995. Senior outfielder Spiker Helms (.388, 3-HR, 16-RBI) ranks among the MVC's top 10 performers in a number of different offensive categories, including league-best totals for runs scored (22) and doubles (9). He recorded a career-best 11-game hit streak from Feb. 18-March 6. Fellow senior Brock Chaffin (.318, 15-RBI) has come on strong as of late, accounting for 12 RBIs over the Bears' last 11 games, while junior catcher Luke Voit (.239, 3-HR, 17-RBI) has three game-winning RBIs and 14 for his MSU career to rank 11th on the Bears' career list. Senior second baseman Kevin Medrano (.273, 5-2B) returned from an early three-game hiatus with hits in six straight trips to the plate (Feb. 26-29) to break into the Bears' top 10 for career hits. Additionally, his five doubles rank eighth in the Valley. Additionally, senior third baseman Brent Seifert (.279, 2-HR, 20-RBI) leads the team in RBIs and has reached base safely in all 17 games and a career-high 22-straight contests dating back to last season.
The Bears' regular weekend rotation has been strong through the first four weeks, combining to strike-out 75 batters through 76 innings of work. Nick Petree (3-1, 2.00), who went 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA to garner Freshman All-America honors last spring, picked up his third-straight victory last Friday against SIU Edwardsville, striking-out eight hitters over six innings of a combined two-hit shutout. Junior right-hander Pierce Johnson (1-2, 2.76) has shown stretches of dominance in each of his four outings this season. On Feb. 25, he held UTA hitless through five innings before leaving after seven innings with a no-decision. He's been even stronger over his last two starts, fanning 23 over 15.1 innings to claim a share of the MVC lead in strikeouts (38). Junior right-hander Cody Schumacher (2-0, 5.95) rebounded from a rough first start to post back-to-back victories, including a seven shutout innings at Northwestern State (March 4). Junior righty Clay Murphy (2-1, 1.67, 1 save) permitted just two earned runs over his first 25.1 innings this year and defeated Oklahoma State for the second time in seven days March 6. Finally, freshman lefty Tyler Burgess (3-0, 0.00, 3 saves) has been sensational in his MSU debut, notching a victory or a save in each of his six appearances without allowing a run over 11.1 innings pitched.