Softball Bears Saddle Up for UTSA Classic in Texas this Weekend
Feb. 14, 2013
The Missouri State softball team hits the road for the second-straight weekend to open the season. This week the Bears head to San Antonio, Texas for five games at the UTSA Classic. MSU will open against Mountain West opponent, Boise State, the first meeting between the programs. The Bears will also play host UTSA twice and Iowa State and Rutgers once each. Missouri State is looking to tie the all-time series with the Cyclones and Scarlet Knights.
Pierce and fellow senior Caitlin Chapin accounted for all five long balls and Chapin moved into the top-5 all-time with her 16th career four-bagger on Sunday.
Missouri State piled up runs all weekend, despite a 1-4 open to the season. In the first three games of the year, MSU scored 21 runs, tied for the sixth-most to open a season since 1975.
The last time the Bears were in the state of Texas, MSU went 2-1 at the rain-shortened Fairfield Inn & Suites Classic in Denton in February 2012. Missouri State defeated Sam Houston State for head coach Holly Hesse's 600th win with the program.
FOLLOWING THE BEARS
Audio: UTSA and Boise State will provide internet audio for the Missouri State-UTSA games. Check the softball schedule page for links.
Live Stats: Live stats will be provided by the host school, UTSA. Fans can follow along by clicking the Live Stats link on the softball schedule page at MissouriStateBears.com.
Social Media: In-game updates on Missouri State softball can be found via Twitter (@MSUSoftball).
ACROSS THE DIAMOND
Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners: The Roadrunners dropped both games of a season-opening doubleheader at Lamar before rebounding to salvage the finale with a 7-3 win on Sunday. Sophomore Vivian Tijerina hit two home runs and batted .625 for UTSA, who hit .326 as a team over opening weekend. Hurler Jolene Graham tossed five no-hit innings of relief for the Roadrunners' lone victory of the season. UTSA has won all three previous meetings with the Bears.
Iowa State Cyclones: The Cyclones got off to a fast 4-1 start, handing fellow MVC school Indiana State its only loss on the young season. ISU freshman hurler Riley Fisher tossed the fourth no-hitter in Iowa State history against North Dakota on Sunday. The Cyclones hit .364 on their home field on opening weekend, led by junior Sara Hawryluk's 9-for-18 effort with seven runs scored and two triples. The last time the Bears and Cyclones met, the teams split a doubleheader at Killian Stadium on March 10, 2012.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights: Rutgers will begin its season this week after going 26-28 and bowing out of the BIG EAST Tournament with a first-round shutout loss. The Scarlet Knights return senior pitcher Abbey Houston and 2012 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year Alyssa Landrith to the circle. Sophomore outfielder Chandler Howard (.279) is the lone Rutgers returner that hit better than .250 a season ago. The Bears last played the Scarlet Knights on March 18, 2010 when Rutgers swept the doubleheader to regain the series lead, 4-3.
600 AND COUNTING
The next Bears' win will be Associate Head Coach Sue Frederick's 600th win at MSU.
A LEAGUE OF HER OWN
The accolade has been scarce for MSU players as the last MVC Player of the Week honor came in 2009 when Jessie Smith won the award on March 30.
Fellow senior Stevie Pierce one-upped Chapin by crushing three no-doubters on the weekend. That total tied Pierce's career high for a season, figures she attained as a freshman and a sophomore.
BIG BANG THEORY
The Bears had to earn their runs, as well, as the team led the Valley with 25 runs batted in over the first weekend. Pierce topped the league with her eight RBI weekend. She drove in at least one run in each of the five games, the longest consecutive games with an RBI of her career. In May 2011, Pierce drove in nine runs over four games spanning MVC and NCAA Tournament games.
Not to be outdone, Chapin had an RBI in each of the five games this weekend as well. It ties her career high for consecutive games with an RBI, a feat she attained from March 26 through April 2, 2010.
GETTING THAT FIRST HIT OUT OF THE WAY
Sophomore Ali Trickey also singled against Kennesaw State on opening day. She scored twice in that game as well, a career high.
It didn't take long for freshman Mary Stephens to get comfortable with collegiate softball. She laced a two-run single down the third base line in her first game against Coastal Carolina on Friday. She followed that up with her first two-hit performance against the Chanticleers on Saturday, including a double, her first extra-base hit.
STEALTHY ON THE BASES
The base running was stellar for MSU as well. Twice, Bears' runners eluded the tag at the plate to score on bang-bang plays.
CAREER DAY 2013
Junior Stacia Boeckstiegel brought her A-game against ACC opponent Georgia Tech on Saturday. She pelted the left side of the field with her first multi-hit game, going 3-for-3 with two singles and a double, all to the left side.
Fellow junior Heather Duckworth drove in three runs against the Yellow Jackets. It was her third career three-RBI game as she accomplished that feat twice last season (April 3 at UMKC; April 6 vs. Bradley).
In the circle, sophomore pitcher Chelsea Jones fanned six Chanticleers in the season opener, besting her five-strikeout performance from last season at Eastern Illinois (March 22).
Ali Trickey crossed the plate twice against Kennesaw State on Friday. She had 11 runs scored in her freshman campaign, but Friday was her first multi-run game.
MSU will play seven more games against teams that participated in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. MSU will play Missouri twice this season, once at the Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament and again at Killian Stadium on April 3. Missouri State will be on the road to face the other NCAA Tournament teams at Arkansas, Tulsa and Illinois State (3 games).
This weekend, the Bears face teams from the WAC, MWC, BIG EAST and Big 12. Additionally this season, the Bears will play teams from the ACC (Boston College) and another Big 12 foe in Kansas.
MVC PRESEASON POLL
WAITING IN THE WINGS