ISU Takes On Preseason Favorite Missouri State
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April 12, 2012
Illinois State plays preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Missouri State when the Redbirds (20-10) take on the Bears (25-10) this weekend for a three-game series starting Friday at 6:30 p.m. The games will be played at Hammons Field, which is the site of the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament.
"Week three in the league brings another great challenge," Illinois State head coach Mark Kingston said. "Missouri State is a well-rounded team, and we need to play our best. I expect us to be ready."
The Redbirds are off to a 2-4 start in the Valley after losing two-out-of-three games in each of their first two conference series against Indiana State and Wichita State. Missouri State is 4-2 in the Valley following a sweep of Creighton and a 2-1 series loss at Bradley. Both teams are coming off of mid-week wins, with the Redbirds beating Northern Illinois, 22-3, and the Huskies topping Kansas State, 3-0.
Each team features effective offenses, with ISU posting a .312 batting average compared to Missouri State's .271 mark. The Redbirds are led by Ty Wiesemeyer's .354 average, with 24 RBI on eight doubles, three triples and two home runs. Chad Hinshaw's .500 on-base percentage not only leads Illinois State, but also the Valley. Meanwhile, Missouri State is led by Spiker Helms, who is hitting .304 with 27 RBI, including 16 doubles and four home runs.
ISU will start Chris Razo (4-2, 4.53 ERA) Friday, Dylan Craig (4-1, 5.59 ERA) Saturday and Jeremy Rhoades (3-1, 5.40 ERA) Sunday. MSU is expected to counter with Nick Petree (6-2, 0.92 ERA) Friday and Cody Schumacher (3-0, 5.08 ERA) Saturday. Missouri State's Sunday starter has not yet been announced.
Illinois State trails the all-time series against the Bears, 48-33, although the Redbirds won the last meeting, 8-3, on May 8, 2011 in Normal, Ill. Live coverage of the series will be available on GoRedbirds.com and WJBC.com.
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