Softball Bears Saddle Up for UTSA Classic in Texas this Weekend
Sophomore pitcher Chelsea Jones struck out a career-high six batters in the season opener
Sophomore pitcher Chelsea Jones struck out a career-high six batters in the season opener

Feb. 14, 2013

UTSA Classic NotesGet Acrobat Reader

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.

The Last Meeting
Iowa State
Missouri State
March 11, 2012
Springfield, Mo.

The Missouri State offense put on a show in the opening weekend at the Georgia Tech-Kennesaw State Invitational. Led by Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week Stevie Pierce, MSU had three players hit .400 and the team blasted a league-leading five home runs. Pierce slugged 1.067 and drove in a league-best eight runs. Perhaps her most impressive statistic from opening weekend, Pierce had six two-out RBI, more than any other league player's overall total.

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.

- Senior first baseman Stevie Pierce was named MVC Player of the Week after leading the league in home runs (3), RBI (8), total bases (16) and two-out RBI (6).
- Pierce's three home runs tied her career best for a season, a figure she attained in her freshman and sophomore seasons.
- Senior Caitlin Chapin hit two home runs to move into the top-5 in Missouri State history with 16 career long balls.
- Stacia Boeckstiegel, Ciara Flau and Mary Stephens each recorded their first multi-hit games on opening weekend. Boeckstiegel's three-hit performance against Georgia Tech is a team-high for hits so far this season.
- Sophomore hurler Chelsea Jones recorded a career-best six strikeouts against Coastal Carolina in the season opener on February 8.

Video: None

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

Social Media: In-game updates on Missouri State softball can be found via Twitter (@MSUSoftball).

Boise State Broncos: The Broncos began the season 2-3, but played two top-10 teams in the season opening weekend at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz. Boise State scored 19 of its 21 runs on the season in victories over Northwestern and Stephen F. Austin. Senior outfielder Holly Bourke hit a team-leading .429 over the weekend. The Broncos have a young pitching staff, led by senior Lela Work, but she has just 225 innings of experience in three-plus seasons. Friday's game will mark the first-ever matchup between the schools on a softball 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.

Head Coach Holly Hesse won her 600th game at the helm of the softball Bears to open the 2012 season, a 7-2 win against Sam Houston State (February 17). With an overall record of 625-613-2, Hesse is fourth-winningest coach in MVC history, trailing just Melinda Fischer (884 wins), Kay Brechtelsbauer (633) and Meredith Bakley (630).

The next Bears' win will be Associate Head Coach Sue Frederick's 600th win at MSU.

Missouri State senior Stevie Pierce was honored by the league as this week's Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week. She led all conference players with three home runs, eight runs batted in and 16 total bases last week. Incredibly, six of her RBI came with two outs, more than any other league players total runs batted in for the week. She was also the only league player with three multi-RBI games in the opening week of the season.

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.

The Bears had plenty of pop in their bats on opening weekend, smashing a league-leading five home runs. Senior Caitlin Chapin hit two long balls, one against Georgia Tech and the other against Butler, giving her 16 big flies for her career, tied for fifth in program history.

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.

The Missouri State offense got off to one of the best starts in school history. All told the Bears tallied 28 runs in the first five games. Indiana State (29) was the only Valley school that scored more overall runs on the weekend. The 21 runs scored in the first three games, tied for the sixth-highest run output to begin a season since 1975.

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.

Some MSU hitters got their first base knocks over the weekend. Junior Ciara Flau had a big first game of the season, picking up two hits against Kennesaw State, the first base hits of her career. One of her hits was a bases loaded single that drove in her first run.

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.

Missouri State senior Lauren Eisenreich drew a team-leading five walks in Georgia. She walked twice in the opener against Coastal Carolina and again the next day at Georgia Tech to tie her career high for a game. She drew 21 free passes in 2012, a career high.

Missouri State stole nine bases on opening weekend, second-best in the league. The Bears had two swipes of home to score runs. Chapin led all Bears with two steals, while seven other MSU players stole a base over the five game tournament.

The base running was stellar for MSU as well. Twice, Bears' runners eluded the tag at the plate to score on bang-bang plays.

Some of the Missouri State players also had career days last weekend at the Georgia Tech-Kennesaw State Invitational.

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.

The Bears played three games against 2012 NCAA Tournament teams last weekend. Despite going 0-3, Missouri State scored 15 of its 28 runs in those three games.

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.

The Bears were picked to finish sixth in the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference coaches' preseason poll. Defending tournament champion Illinois State and Southern Illinois are favored with defending regular season champs, UNI, slotted third. Creighton and Drake were also selected ahead of the Bears.

Head coach Holly Hesse has commitments from six players to join the 2014 squad. Joining the Bears for the 2013-14 academic year are Allie Alvstad (Tulsa, Okla.), Elena Gambill (Broken Arrow, Okla.), Madison Jones (Overland Park, Kan.), Olivia Roark (Ottumwa, Iowa), Sheridon Sprague (Ballwin, Mo.) and Erin Struemph (Meta, Mo.).



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