Baseball Weekly Notebook (Mar. 20)
Monday, March 20, 2017
Baseball Weekly Notebook (Mar. 20)

Last Week
The Valley put together a composite record of 18-17(.514) last week to improve the league's overall record to 75-71 (.514). 

Poll Position
DBU and Missouri State are receiving  votes in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 poll this week (Mar. 20). The Patriots received four points in the poll, while the Bears received a single point.

Three in RPI’s Top-65
Three league teams continue to rank in the top-65 of the RPI, led by Missouri State (No. 36), DBU (No. 61) and Bradley (No. 64).

Another two teams, Wichita State (No. 109) and Southern Illinois (No. 186), also rank in the RPI’s top-200.

Valley RPI Ranks No. 13
According to the latest RPI update from WarrenNolan.com (March 20), the Missouri Valley Conference ranks No. 13 amongst 32 leagues, up one position from last week. Four of the Power-Five conferences (Big 12, SEC, Pac-12 and ACC) hold four of the top five positions, while the American Athletic Conference sits fifth.

The Valley ranks just behind the Big East and ahead of the Southland in terms of conference RPI.

Strength of Schedule
Bradley ranks third among Missouri Valley Conference teams at 64 in the RPI, as produced by WarrenNolan.com. The Braves have easily posted The Valley’s best strength of schedule to date, checking in at 24 (Missouri State is second in SOS at 59). Bradley will play its 18th consecutive game away from home Wednesday when the Braves visit Iowa (10-8). Bradley’s six Division I opponents to date have combined for an 83-40 (.675) Division I record through the weekend.

Against the Field
The MVC holds a winning record against 10 leagues in non-conference play (American East, A10, Big South, Big Ten, Horizon, Mountain West, SWAC, Summit, Sun Belt and WAC), and at least a .500 record against another three leagues (Atlantic Sun, Metro Atlantic and Pac 12).

Top-25 Victories
The MVC has won four games against top-25 opponents so far this season, as Indiana State leads the way with two victories over ranked opponents (No. 12 Washington, twice). Wichita State (No. 13 Oklahoma) and DBU (No. 23 Rice) each have one victory over top-25 opponents.

In the last two seasons, the Valley has registered eight or more victories against top-25 teams, notching eight wins in 2016 and 10 victories over ranked opponents in 2015.

Burger Bombs
Missouri State junior Jake Burger currently leads the nation in home runs, smacking nine through the Bears’ first 19 games this season.

Shuttin’ The Door
Southern Illinois closer Ryan Netemeyer currently ranks third nationally in saves, notching seven in 11 appearances this season.

This week's Missouri Valley Conference Baseball Player/Pitcher of the Week are Indiana State's Kyle Moore and Southern Illinois' Ryan Netemeyer, respectively.

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Kyle Moore, Sr., OF, Indiana State
Indiana State senior outfielder Kyle Moore led the Sycamores at the plate over the weekend to a tune of a .500 batting average, .600 on-base percentage and a 1.083 slugging percentage. For the weekend, Moore was 6-for-12 with two home runs, one of which was a grand slam, to go along with a double. The senior finished just a triple away from the cycle in Saturday’s 9-5 win over Oakland. In total Moore scored three runs and drove in five for the Trees during the teams’ sweep of the Golden Grizzlies.    

MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE PITCHER OF THE WEEK:
Ryan Netemeyer, Jr., RHP, Southern Illinois

Southern Illinois junior closer Ryan Netemeyer threw 3.2 no-hit innings and pitched three saves for the Salukis last week. The junior got five of his 11 outs via strikeout. Netemeyer, who leads the MVC with seven saves this season, earned all three saves on the road, finishing wins at Arkansas State and two at Illinois. At Illinois on Sunday, Netemeyer picked up a five-out save after getting out of a bases loaded, one-out situation in the eighth before pitching a perfect ninth. With the three saves, Netemeyer now has 20 career saves, which ranks second in SIU history.

Noteworthy - In addition to the league's player and pitcher of the week selections, several conference players had notable performances, and they include:

Luke Mangieri (BRAD) – Bradley’s starting first baseman in all five games last week, Mangieri hit .450 (9-20) with two doubles, three runs batted in and five runs scored ... With two walks and two hit-by-pitches among his 24 plate appearances, Mangieri had a .542 on-base percentage in the five games.

Tim Millard (DBU) – DBU redshirt-sophomore Tim Millard posted a .350 batting average (7-for-20) and delivered a team-best seven RBIs to help lift the Patriots to a 4-1 mark last week.  Millard also led DBU in slugging percentage (.625) and total bases (11).  In Sunday’s 15-0 win over Grambling State, Millard belted his second career grand slam, as part of a five RBI day at the plate.  

Andrew Tanous (UE) – Newcomer Andrew Tanous enjoyed his best weekend of the season in the three-game set with Western Michigan, going 7-of-12 at the plate with a pair of doubles and three runs batted in. In Saturday’s contest, he came up big when it counted, knocking in two runs in the bottom of the ninth to give the Aces a walk-off victory over the Broncos.

Owen Miller (ILS) – Miller extended his hitting streak to nine games by hitting safely in all five of the Redbirds’ contests over the past week. For the week, Miller slashed .429/.455/.571, with three doubles, five runs scored and a stolen base. Miller’s strongest performances came in the team’s series opener at Tennessee Tech, on Tuesday, when he went 3-for-4 with a run scored, and in the first game of a doubleheader at Lipscomb on Saturday, as he went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. Miller currently is tied for the Valley lead in hits (29), while ranking second in RBIs (21) and fourth in batting average (.372).  

Hunter Steinmetz (MSU) – Hunter Steinmetz turned in his best week of the season, hitting .500 (8-for-16) with multi-hit games in three of the Bears’ four outings last week. The sophomore logged a career-high three hits in MSU’s road loss to SEMO, then went 2-for-3 with three key RBIs and his team-leading fourth stolen base of the season in Friday’s series-opening win over Memphis. The Springfield product also recorded two hits in Sunday’s series finale, the last of which represented the 100th of his Missouri State career.  

Ryan Sabo (SIU) – Southern Illinois third baseman Ryan Sabo went 5-for-12 with two doubles and a home run for SIU last week. Sabo went 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs vs. Toledo this weekend in Champaign, He hit a home run in SIU’s win over Illinois on Saturday, and he narrowly missed a three-homer game, with two more deep balls dying on the warning track against a 20-mph wind. Sabo slugged .833 on the week and also drew two walks and two HBPs for a .556 on-base percentage.

Luke Ritter (WSU) – Luke Ritter led the Shockers to three wins last week. He went 9-for-19 (.474) with four runs, two doubles, a home run and four RBI. He also had a perfect fielding percentage in 16 total chances and had a .565 on base percentage. He collected multiple hits in four of the five games including going 3-for-4 with two RBI and a double in game one against Northern Colorado and 2-for-5 with two runs in game two against the Bears. He went 2-for-4 with two RBI, a double and a home run in game one at Cal Poly and 2-for-4 in game two.

Nathan Stong (BRAD) – Stong wore the hat of both closer and starter in his two appearances during the week ... In his first outing of the week, Stong pitched a perfect 12th inning Wednesday against Cornell College and wound up earning the win when the Braves scored the walk-off winner in the bottom of the 12th ... Just two days later, Stong earned his first starting assignment in 45 career appearances for the Braves and responded by turning in 8.0 strong innings Friday at North Florida ... For the week, Stong was 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in his 9.0 innings.

Jordan Martinson (DBU) – DBU sophomore Jordan Martinson held Grambling State scoreless for 5.2 innings to earn the in Sunday’s 15-0 victory over the Tigers.  Martinson allowed just three hits and walked one, while striking out three on the day.

Jack Landwehr (ILS) – Landwehr did not allow an earned run over two relief appearances over the past week. The senior right-hander got the Redbirds out of a jam with two-thirds of an inning of perfect relief work on Tuesday at Tennessee Tech, but was even better in the first game of a doubleheader at Lipscomb on Saturday. In that outing, Landwehr tossed four scoreless frames, allowing just one hit and two walks, while fanning two, to keep the Redbirds within striking distance. Landwehr currently leads all Redbird pitchers this season in innings pitched (21.1) and strikeouts (19).  

Triston Polley (INS) – Polley pitched 4.2 innings of shutout baseball out of the bullpen for the Sycamores Saturday en route to his first win of the season. The southpaw struck out six batters in the outing and did not allow a hit to the Golden Grizzlies.

Zach Lewis (WSU) – Zach Lewis earned the win on Sunday at Cal Poly. He pitched seven shutout innings and allowed just four hits with two walks and six strikeouts. It was a career-long outing for the senior and he finished just one strikeout shy of tying his career-high. It was his first combined shutout of the season and the Shockers fourth shutout.