Softball to Open Season with Three-Game Series at Georgia Tech
Feb. 7, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Missouri State softball team (0-0) will open the 2014 season against Georgia Tech (0-0) in a three-game series in Atlanta, Ga., beginning on Saturday. The Bears and Yellow Jackets are slated for a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 11:00 a.m. Central, with the series finale scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on Sunday. The trip will mark the second-straight year that MSU will open a campaign in Atlanta.
Missouri State returns six starters from the 2013 squad that posted some of the best numbers in program history with a team batting average of .284, 396 hits, 227 runs scored and 28 home runs, all among the top-5 single season ranks. Seniors Stacia Boeckstiegel, Ashley Brentz, Kerri Cunningham and Heather Duckworth and sophomore preseason All-MVC pick Mary Stephens return to the Bears lineup after each hitting better than .290 a year ago.
Chelsea Jones, who tossed 231.2 innings in 2013, returns to lead the pitching staff. Her 15 wins were tied for fourth among Valley hurlers and she led the league in ground ball outs with 338. Jessie Van Es and Rachel Brisker return to the circle and freshman Erin Struemph is expected to contribute quality innings.
Last year, Missouri State suffered a narrow defeat, 8-7, against Georgia Tech, stranding the tying run at third base as the game ended. Five of the Bears' nine hits in the game at Georgia Tech in 2013 were by Boeckstiegel and Duckworth. Boeckstiegel went 3-for-3 including an RBI double. Duckworth also had a double against the Yellow Jackets in a 2-for-2 outing with a run scored and three RBI.
In 2013, Georgia Tech finished 25-30, 10-10 in the ACC. The Yellow Jackets were fifth in the conference and bowed out in the first round of the ACC Tournament. Following the season, GT made a change at head coach bringing in Shelly Hoerner from College of Charleston. The Yellow Jackets return 13 players from a team that hit .293 in 2013. The most notable loss for GT was pitcher and designated player Hope Rush, who led the team in home runs, ERA and wins.
The season-opening road trip will continue for the Bears after this weekend at the UTA Maverick Invitational in Arlington, Texas on February 14-16. Missouri State's home opener will be March 12 versus SIU Edwardsville.