Softball to Play Pair of Games in Cape Versus Intrastate Rivals
Ciara Flau scored the Bears' first run at SEMO last season
Ciara Flau scored the Bears' first run at SEMO last season

Feb. 28, 2014

Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament NotesGet Acrobat Reader

The Missouri State softball team (10-3) continues its season-opening road swing with a visit to Cape Girardeau, Mo., for the annual Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament hosted by Southeast Missouri State. The tournament has been shortened due to the impending winter storm, but MSU will play Saint Louis and host SEMO on Saturday. The scheduled game versus UMKC will be made up as part of a doubleheader in Kansas City on March 19.

The Last Meeting
Missouri State2
March 7, 2013
Cape Girardeau, Mo.
Pitching and Defense Key as Softball Splits Doubleheader with SEMO
The Missouri State softball team got outstanding pitching from all three pitchers to split the doubleheader at Southeast Missouri State

The Last Meeting
Saint Louis1
Missouri State3
March 2, 2012
Kansas City, Mo.
Big Second Inning Enough for Softball Bears in 3-1 Win over SLU
The Missouri State softball team (7-2) got another complete game performance in the circle from senior Natalie Rose in a 3-1 win over the Saint Louis Billikens

The Bears have had a fantastic start to the 2014 season, tying the best start to a season in the 26-year guidance of head coach Holly Hesse. After a 5-0 swing through Texas, MSU went 4-1 at the Blues City Classic in Southaven, Miss., last weekend. On Sunday, the Bears capped a successful weekend with a 7-2 win over Lipscomb, a program that had climbed to within a couple spots of the top-25.

Freshman pitcher Erin Struemph has continued the stellar start to her career. Now 5-1 on the season, Struemph went 2-0 and earned her first career save at the BCC. She had a 23.1 scoreless inning streak in tact until the seventh inning against Lipscomb, the longest streak by an MSU hurler in three seasons. Struemph also tossed her second complete game shutout in a 6-0 blanking of Appalachian State on Saturday. She is one of two Valley pitchers with two shutouts this season, but the only to have two seven-inning shutouts. After earning all-tournament team honors, Struemph was named the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Week on Monday.

Senior centerfielder Kerri Cunningham has been the igniter for the Bears' offense since taking over the leadoff role this season. She extended her career-best hitting streak to eight games, hitting safely in all five games at the BCC. Cunningham hit .529 last weekend and scored in each of the final four games. She recorded her first career three-hit games, as well, and leads all Valley players in runs scored (12) and stolen bases (9) on the season.

Fellow senior Stacia Boeckstiegel also had a great weekend in Southaven. She had a slugging percentage of .818 that included her first two career triples and an RBI double. She also picked up her second successful stolen base.

- Senior Kerri Cunningham extended her career-high hitting streak to eight games with a hit in each game of the Blues City Classic. She has reached base in 12 of the Bears' 13 games this season.
- Cunningham stole four bases at the BCC and leads the MVC with nine steals in 2014. She also tops the league with 12 runs scored.
- Freshman pitcher Erin Struemph was named MVC Newcomer of the Week after another great weekend of outings. She went 2-0 with a save and a 0.45 ERA at the Blues City Classic.
- Struemph leads all MVC pitchers with a 1.26 ERA, a .208 opponent's batting average and is tied with five wins. She is the only MVC pitcher to throw two seven-inning shutouts this season.
- The Bears hits six triples at the BCC, more than the season total (five) from 2013. Stacia Boeckstiegel and Bethany Sullinger had two each, the first triples of their careers.

   Saint Louis Billikens: The Billikens are 6-3 through just two weekends of play in 2014. After a 2-2 trip to Ruston, La., on opening weekend, SLU went 4-1 in Oxford, Miss., last weekend losing only to host Mississippi. A-10 Player of the Week Mackenzie Peter leads the SLU offense with a .480 batting average and she has five of the team's seven doubles on the year. Freshman Alex Nickel was named A-10 Rookie of the Week after hitting her first career home run and batting .357 in Mississippi. In the circle, the Billikens have a staff ERA of 2.83 and are led by sophomore Laney Kneib's 2-0 record. Fellow sophomore Brianna Lore has shouldered much of the workload tossing six complete games. The Bears beat SLU 3-1 in the last meeting in 2012. MSU leads the all-time series 39-4-1.
   Southeast Missouri State Redhawks: SEMO had a rough weekend at the Blues City Classic, going 1-3 and getting run ruled twice. As a team, the Redhawks are hitting .314 with three hitters batting better than .400. The problem for SEMO has been the pitching as the staff has a 6.22 ERA. Freshman Keaira Schilling leads SEMO with a 4.41 ERA and has struck out 20 batters in 27 innings of work. The Bears and Redhawks split a doubleheader in Cape Girardeau last year. MSU leads the all-time series 27-8.

Head Coach Holly Hesse is second in all-time wins by an MVC coach with 656. With a 7-1 victory over South Dakota State on February 15, Hesse earned milestone win 650. She trails only current Illinois State coach Melinda Fischer (914 wins).

Missouri State softball will be broadcast on radio and television again in 2014. Seven of the Bears home games can be heard on KBFL 1060 AM and Additionally, two home games and one road game will be telecast on MediaCom. All home games can be seen online via Bears All-Access, a subscription-based service through

2014 Broadcast Schedule
Wednesday, March 12 vs. SIU Edwardsville [KBFL]
Wednesday, March 26 vs. Tulsa [KBFL]
Sunday, March 30 vs. Southern Illinois [MC22]
Saturday, April 12 vs. Indiana State (DH) [KBFL]
Sunday, April 13 vs. Indiana State [MC22]
Tuesday, April 22 vs. Wichita State (DH) [KBFL]
Wednesday, April 23 at Missouri [MC22]
Saturday, April 26 vs. Illinois State (G1) [KBFL]

Freshman pitcher Erin Struemph has been a tremendous addition to the Bears' pitching staff. She has a 5-1 record and leads the MVC with a 1.26 ERA. She has completed four of her five starts on the year, two of which have been shutouts, and has earned a save.

Struemph is the only Valley pitcher with two seven-inning shutouts on the season. She also leads the MVC in opponent's batting average (.208), batting average against with two outs (.130) and batting average against with runners on base (.158). On the season, she has struck out at least one batter in nine of 10 outings, including two appearances of just 0.2 innings.

The Bears went down to Texas and swept all five games at the UTA Maverick Invitational (Feb. 14-16) for their first five-game winning streak since early in the 2012 season. MSU defeated 2013 MAC Champion and 2014 favorite Central Michigan and took two games each from host-UT Arlington and South Dakota State.

Missouri State pitched back-to-back shutouts to claim the title in Arlington.

The Bears' winning streak continued in Southaven, Miss. extending to eight games, the longest win streak since 2011. MSU also pitched two more shutouts, making it four shutouts over the span of five games.

Sophomore first baseman Bethany Sullinger picked up MVC Player of the Week honors (Feb. 17) after a scorching weekend at the plate. In five games at the UTA Maverick Invitational, she hit .625 with a stellar 1.250 slugging percentage.

On Valentine's Day, Sullinger clubbed three home runs, two of which came against MAC favorite Central Michigan. She hit safely in all five games and had career bests in hits, runs scored and RBI. She also drew her first career walk and stole her first career base.

Junior Chelsea Jones became just the second Bear since 1997 to hit three doubles in the same game when she accomplished the feat against UT Arlington on Feb. 14. She drove in a run with each of those doubles.

The only other Bear to have three doubles in a game was Staci Wattie against Maryland on March 24, 2000.

Missouri State topped its season total from 2013 (5) by hitting six triples at the Blues City Classic (Feb. 21-23). The Bears hit three triples against Alabama A&M (Feb. 21), the first three-triple game since April 2, 1998 versus Saint Louis. In the bottom of the third inning against the Bulldogs, Stacia Boeckstiegel and Heather Duckworth each tripled, the first time in three seasons (March 26, 2011) that two players tripled in the same inning.

Senior catcher Stacia Boeckstiegel was hit by a pitch against Central Michigan (Feb. 14), her first HBP this season. She has now been plunked 17 times in just over two seasons and is six shy of the school record.

Through the first three weekends of the season, the Bears have clubbed six home runs. Sullinger has three of the six long balls. Boeckstiegel and Sullinger hit back-to-back dingers against Central Michigan.

Redshirt sophomore Erin Duewel accounted for the Bears' only home run of opening weekend when she hit the first of her career in the sixth inning of the second game at Georgia Tech (Feb. 8).

Elena Gambill was the only Bear to go deep at the Blues City Classic. She blasted a solo shot to left in the second inning against Lipscomb (Feb. 23).

Beside Duewel's first career home run, MSU players have recorded firsts in their career already this season.

Freshman pitcher Erin Struemph picked up her first career strikeout in her first outing, ending the sixth inning with a punch out to strand two Yellow Jackets on base (Feb. 8). In game two against Georgia Tech (Feb. 8), she earned her first career victory while striking out six over four innings of work. Then in Texas, Struemph pitched her first complete game with a win over Central Michigan (Feb. 14). As an encore, she tossed her first career shutout with a 3-0 win over UTA in the championship game (Feb. 16). On February 21, Struemph earned her first career save over Morehead State with 0.2 innings of hitless relief to strand an inherited runner.

Fellow freshman Madison Jones picked up her first career hit, a solid single through the right side, during game two at Georgia Tech (Feb. 8). Her first multi-hit game came in the opener of the UTA Maverick Invitational, a 3-for-3 day against the host team (Feb. 14).

Another freshman, Elena Gambill, got in on the action in Texas. In game two of the UTA Maverick Invitational, Gambill registered her first career hit, a double to the left-center field wall against Central Michigan (Feb. 14). Gambill upped her slugging percentage on her next hit, a home run against Liscomb (Feb. 23).

Senior Ciara Flau made the most of her opportunity to start at Georgia Tech (Feb. 9). She led off the fifth inning against the Yellow Jackets and laced her first career double into the right field corner.



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