Missouri State Softball Pegged Sixth in MVC Preseason Poll
Jan. 23, 2013
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The Missouri State softball team was chosen to finish sixth in the Missouri Valley Conference this season according to the preseason coaches poll released by the league office Wednesday. The Bears garnered 51 points and were picked behind preseason-favorites Illinois State and Southern Illinois (85 points each), UNI (82), Creighton (80) and Drake (62).
"Preseason picks are a reflection of last year," said head coach Holly Hesse, "and we expect bigger things in 2013. We will accept the challenge to move from the middle to the top this season. Defense is built around the middle infield and that is part of what can propel us to the top this season."
Senior shortstop Kirstin Cutter and junior second baseman Ashley Brentz were selected to the preseason all-conference team as well. Both have been an All-MVC first teamer during their career, Brentz in 2012 and Cutter in 2011.
Last season, Brentz led the Bears with a .304 batting average, 24 runs scored, 45 base hits and 11 multi-hit games. She also drew 29 bases on balls, tied for the team lead and tied for the fourth-best single season in program history. Additionally, Brentz earned all-tournament honors at both the Fairfield Inn & Suites and Blues City Classics in 2012.
Cutter was tops on the Bears team with 13 stolen bases in 2012. She started 50 games at shortstop and hit leadoff in 36 games to lead MSU with 156 at-bats. She put together a pair of four-game hitting streaks and had seven multi-hit games on the campaign.
The Bears went 25-26 last season in reaching the quarterfinals of the MVC Tournament. With the opening round win over Bradley, MSU picked up its 68th MVC Tournament win, the most of any Valley school.
Missouri State begins the 2013 season on February 8 at the Georgia Tech-Kennesaw State Invitational in Atlanta, Ga. The Bears open against 2012 NCAA Tournament team Coastal Carolina with a 12:00 p.m. Central first pitch. MSU's home opener is slated for Thursday, February 28 against Wright State at Killian Stadium with first pitch tabbed for 4:00 p.m.