The Missouri State baseball team has 30 losses in a season for the first time since 2014 after Bradley swept the weekend at Hammons Field.
The 2014 baseball season ended with a 26-31 record. Aaron Meyer was a freshman at the time and is now a graduate manager for the Bears.
The Bears are 13-30 this spring, winning four of their 12 Missouri Valley Conference games so far. There are still 12 games left in the season, all but two are against Valley opponents.
Here’s what the Bears are looking forward to:
Wichita State, April 30 and May 7
Wichita State has had an up-and-down year when it comes to their record. The Shockers’ season has winning streaks and losing streaks scattered throughout for a 20-23 record.
The Bears’ 13-30 record is less than impressive, and their five-game losing streak includes a sweep by MVC foe Bradley.
Wichita State has a four-game losing streak itself, including a sweep over the weekend by Cincinnati.
The Bears and the Shockers have played similar opponents in nonconference play: Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts and Kansas.
WSU is 3-3 while MSU is 2-5. The biggest takeaway from this is the result against KU. The Bears lost both to KU and Wichita State won both of their games. The games were around the same time and Wichita State was the more victorious out of the three.
KU kept the same starting pitcher for all four games: Steve Washilewski.
The sophomore left-hander has a 2-1 record this season — the loss came against Wichita State, while one of the wins came over Missouri State.
Wichita State’s mid-week pitchers have been strong. Redshirt freshman Ryan Stuempfig has started four of the last six mid-week games. He’s 1-1 in 18 innings pitched. He has appeared in eight games, starting six of them.
Expect the right-hander to at least make an appearance in one of the two games. In his few innings, he has been effective in his role.
Dallas Baptist, May 2-4
Dallas Baptist will be the toughest opponent for the Bears as they close out the 2019 regular season.
The Patriots have a 30-13 record, the exact opposite of the Bears at the moment. They are also 8-4 in conference — again the exact opposite of the Bears.
DBU is currently in third in the MVC.
The Patriots face Missouri State before battling Indiana State, one of the best in the conference this season before winding down against Southern Illinois, who is 1-11 in conference play.
Last season, the Bears and the Patriots took it to the wire for the regular season title, with DBU pulling out the series win in game three.
With Dallas Baptist’s strong record, expect these three games to be some of the toughest on the Bears’ schedule.
Evansville, May 10-12
Evansville has proved itself as a worthy competitor in the MVC. The Purple Aces have played some tough nonconference teams this season, like Indiana.
They are 21-19 overall, with an 8-4 record in the MVC, just like DBU.
The Purple Aces have the draw over DBU, though, as they won two out of three in the series earlier this season.
If Evansville gets into a groove in its last three MVC series, expect a battle to the finish with Illinois State, the other team at the top of the Valley next to Indiana State.
Valparaiso, May 16-18
Missouri State should beat Valparaiso to close out the regular season.
The Crusaders are 9-29 this season and 2-10 in Valley play.
This series could be a precursor to tournament play, regardless of standings.
If the Bears can manage to end the regular season with a few more wins under their belt, it could bolster some confidence going into the MVC Tournament in Normal, Illinois.
On the flip side, if the Bears lose to Valparaiso going into the tournament, their heads will be down, and that could lead to an early end to an already long season.
Expect big things from players like Drew Millas, Ben Whetstone and John Privitera, the three juniors leading this young baseball team.
If they can manage to hit a stride of their own, the rest of the team may follow in suit.