FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The 2013 Missouri State baseball schedule will feature a total of 55 games, including 27 home dates and match-ups against seven different 2012 NCAA Tournament teams, head coach Keith Guttin announced Tuesday. In all, the Bears will play 26 games against 13 different opponents that rated among the top 100 RPI finishers a year ago, including 13 contests against NCAA Regional qualifiers.
Highlighting the Bears’ silver season of varsity baseball will be non-conference home-and-home sets with in-state rival Missouri and Big 12 foes Oklahoma State and Kansas, as well as series with NCAA qualifiers Oral Roberts and New Mexico. The Bears, who finished 40-22 en route to earning their first NCAA Regional appearance in nine years last spring, have gone 12-5 against Big 12 clubs over the last two seasons.
“Well, I think the critical point is (the quality of) our non-league games,” Guttin said. “We’ve got 26 games against teams that finished in the top 100 RPI-wise last year. That was a critical factor in us being selected as an at-large team last season. So we feel like we’ve got that non-league schedule to help us immensely again this year.”
Missouri State, which will play its first seven contests on the road, opens the season at the Bobcat Invitational (Feb. 15-17) in San Marcos, Texas, with games against 2012 postseason qualifiers Texas State and Sam Houston State before wrapping up the weekend with a tilt against traditional power Tulane. The Bears will head south again the following weekend, with three more games against the likes of Alcorn State (Feb. 22), Southern Miss (Feb. 23) and Eastern Illinois (Feb. 24) as part of the Southern Miss Invitational (Feb. 22-24) in Hattiesburg, Miss.
After taking on Kansas (Feb. 26) in Lawrence, MSU will take the diamond at Hammons Field for the first time March 1, against Northwestern (La.) State to open a three-game series, as well as a stretch that will see the Bears play 14 of their 19 March games at home. The Bears will sandwich road trips to Oklahoma State (March 5) and Arkansas State (March 12-13) with a three-game home set versus Big Ten member Northwestern (March 8-10). Another home series with Western Illinois (March 15-17) follows the two-game swing to ASU, and a March 19 doubleheader with New Mexico precludes a week-long break leading into the start of Missouri Valley Conference play the final weekend of the month. Kansas will make its return trip to Hammons Field on March 26, and Southeast Missouri State visits the following night, before the Bears open Valley play and a three-game series against defending regular-season league champ Indiana State on March 29.
April promises to be a challenging month, highlighted by a trio of key MVC road series, as well as both ends of the Bears’ annual home-and-home match-up with Missouri and the renewal of their rivalry with another SEC power in the form of Arkansas. MSU begins the month with a mid-week game at Oral Roberts (April 2), followed by a three-game conference series with Illinois State (April 5-7) in Normal, Ill. The Bears’ April 9 contest with Missouri represents their lone home date in the first half of the month and leads into another critical MVC road series, this time with Southern Illinois (April 12-14). Next, MSU hosts Oklahoma State (April 16) before concluding its season series with Missouri in Columbia the following night. Bradley visits Hammons Field, April 19-21, before the Bears hit the road once again for mid-week non-conference outings against Saint Louis (April 23) and Arkansas (April 30), as well as a three-game Valley set at Evansville (April 26-28).
Missouri State will finish the regular season in style with an eight-game homestand to kick off the month of May, including series with Wichita State (May 3-5), Oral Roberts (May 7-8) and Wright State (May 10-12), before rounding out the Valley slate with a three-game series in Omaha against perennial MVC power Creighton (May 16-18).
The 2013 MVC Baseball Championship will be hosted by Illinois State, May 21-25, at Duffy Bass Field in Normal, Ill., with the champion earning the league’s automatic NCAA Tournament berth. The 2013 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship gets underway with Regional play the weekend of June 1-4, followed by Super Regional competition, June 8-11. The 2013 Men’s College World Series kicks off June 15 and culminates with the Finals, June 24-26.
The 2013 season will mark the Bears’ 50th year as a varsity program and their 31st year at the Division I level. Ticket information for the upcoming season is currently being finalized and will be made available through the official web home of Missouri State Athletics, MissouriStateBears.com, when complete.
The Bears will open their 2012 fall season this Saturday (Sept. 29) at Hammons Field with a nine-inning exhibition contest against Drury at 6:30 p.m., to assist former MSU shortstop and Glendale High School head coach Howard Bell in his fight against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. Tickets for the “Battle For Bell” are available at select Springfield-area Price Cutter locations, as well as the ticket window in the O’Reilly Family Event Center box office on the Drury campus. All seats will be sold on a first-come, first-served general admission basis, with advance tickets selling for $5. Tickets will also be available on the day of the game for $10 at the Hammons Field box office. All proceeds will go to the Help Coach Bell Strike Out ALS Fund.