March 2, 2009
Bearcats Start MIAA Season with Defending Champion Hornets
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Northwest Missouri State (4-4) will look for the weather to cooperate today as the Bearcats makes their earliest conference start in program history Monday in a 1 p.m. doubleheader with defending MIAA champion Emporia State. The meeting has been delayed twice due to weather conditions.
It will be the first conference games played on Emporia State's newly-renovated Glennen Field. The Hornets installed a turf infield earlier this year and broke it in with a 20-9 victory against Newman Feb. 24.
Northwest started the season on a 4-1 clip, its best start since 2004, before dropping three straight to finish its Arkansas road trip 4-4. Tim Beck led the hitters during the trip with a .400 batting average and Brandon Kirsch posted a team-high .452 slugging percentage with three doubles and a home run on the trip. Kirsch is on pace to finish the season with 21 doubles and tie for second in program records.
A win for Bret Harvel against Emporia State will move him into a tie for eighth with 11 career victories. Harvel struck out 11 batters during 9.2 innings in three appearances in Arkansas. Relievers Danny Malone and Ben Stedronsky are allowing no hits on a combined 20 at-bats when bases are empty, helping the Northwest pitching staff post a .201 batting average for opponents with no runners on base.
Emporia State is on an seven-game winning streak after starting the season 1-2. Kenny Burkhead earned MIAA Hitter of the Week honors after starting the season with a .591 batting average and 1.00 slugging percentage through the first 10 games. Mike Sharp and Conner Crumbliss are also hitting greater than .500 with .514 and .511, respectively.
The Hornets have scored 10 or more runs eight times this season, including the last four games. The Bearcats have held opponents to five runs or less in four games this season, but game up 10 in each of the last two games.
For more information, please contact:
Phillip Dowden, Media Relations/Sports Information
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