Softball Sets Sights on Sooner State with Five Games in Stillwater
Braxton Coil hit her first career home run against Drake last season
Braxton Coil hit her first career home run against Drake last season

March 6, 2014

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The Last Meeting
Missouri State2
March 17, 2011

The Last Meeting
Missouri State5(6)
March 30, 2013
Des Moines, Iowa
Softball Bears Upended in Series Finale Against Drake
The Missouri State softball team (14-16, 5-3) was unable to dig out from a big deficit in a 13-5 six-inning setback to Drake (19-12, 5-2) in the series finale in Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday afternoon.

The Last Meeting
Missouri State2  
#21 Oklahoma State10(6 inn.)
April 5, 2011
Stillwater, Okla.

The Last Meeting
Missouri State2
March 17, 2011

The Last Meeting
Missouri State2  
#21 Oklahoma State10(6 inn.)
April 5, 2011
Stillwater, Okla.

The Missouri State softball team (11-4) embarks on its fifth-straight weekend road trip to begin the season with five games scheduled at the Oklahoma State Mizuno Classic in Stillwater, Okla. The Bears will face Drake in a nonconference matchup before playing nationally-ranked Minnesota and host Oklahoma State twice each.

MSU split a pair of games int he weather-shortened Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in Cape Girardeau last weekend. The 8-0 win over host SEMO marked the fifth shutout of the season for the Bears' pitching staff, the most in the Valley. Junior Chelsea Jones tossed a complete game in the victory over SEMO and joined teammate Erin Struemph as two of only three pitchers in the MVC with two shutouts on the year. Jones struck out a season-high five Redhawks and was named MVC Pitcher of the Week for her performance.

With Jones' honor, the Bears have notched a Valley award in each of the last three weeks. Last week, Struemph was named MVC Newcomer of the Week and on February 17 Bethany Sullinger was selected as MVC Player of the Week.

Senior Heather Duckworth had a career day at the plate against SEMO. She hit a three-run home run and had an RBI triple to tie career highs with three runs scored and four RBI in the game. Her seven total bases was a career best. The home run was the sixth of Duckworth's career, tied with Stacia Boeckstiegel for the most on the current roster.

The 11-4 start by the Bears ties the best record through the first 15 games of the season under the guidance of head coach Holly Hesse. MSU also started 11-4 in 2008, 1999 and 1994 under Hesse.

Following this weekend's games in Oklahoma, the Bears will play a rescheduled game at Central Arkansas on Tuesday before beginning a five-game home stand on Wednesday against SIU Edwardsville.

  - Junior Chelsea Jones earned MVC Pitcher of the Week honors after joining teammate Erin Struemph as two of just three MVC pitchers to record two shutouts this season.
  - Jones struck out a season-high five Redhawks in the win and was 1-for-1 at the plate with two walks, two RBI and a run scored against SEMO.
  - Freshman pitcher Erin Struemph leads all MVC pitchers with a 1.76 ERA and opposing batters are hitting just .188 with runners on base.
  - Redshirt sophomore Erin Duewel has returned to the lineup with a vengeance. Her .412 batting average and .500 on-base percentage are the best on the team and second among Valley hitters.
  - Sophomore Bethany Sullinger has taken the reins on the clean up spot in the lineup. She leads the MVC in slugging percentage (.738), RBI (15) and is tied with teammate Heather Duckworth with 10 two-out RBI.
  - The Bears have already surpassed last season's total by hitting eight triples this season (five in 2013). Heather Duckworth leads the Bears with three triples on the year.

   Drake Bulldogs: Drake has gone 5-4 in the last nine games after an atrocious 0-10 start to the season. MVC Newcomer of the Week Megan Sowa hit .545 last weekend in Fayetteville as the Bulldogs went 3-1. Sowa is one of just three DU hitters with a .300 or better average as the Bulldogs are hitting .240 as a team. In the circle, the DU staff has a lofty 5.56 ERA. Rebekah Schmidt is 4-8 and has pitched 95 of the 118 innings on the season. Drake is 0-3 combined against Central Michigan and Lipscomb, opponents that the Bears are 2-0 against this season. The all-time series between MSU and Drake is tied at 43-43-1.
   Minnesota Golden Gophers: Minnesota has jumped into the national top-20 after a 15-2 start. The only setbacks on the year for the Golden Gophers was a loss to #1 Florida and a 3-1 defeat to Florida International. Senior pitcher Sara Moulton is 10-1 with a 1.18 ERA and seven shutouts in her 11 starts. The Gophers' staff has combined for nine shutouts and a 1.91 ERA striking out 155 batters in 110 innings. Three Minnesota hitters, led by junior Kaitlyn Richardson's .444 average, are hitting .400 or better. The Gophers' offense is averaging more than six runs scored per game. MSU won a pair of 2-1 games against Minnesota in 2011 and hold an 8-1 advantage all-time vs. the Gophers.
   Oklahoma State Cowgirls: Oklahoma State is 12-7 on the season, most recently sweeping a home doubleheader against Arkansas-Pine Bluff. OSU had a six-game win streak in February highlighted by a 5-0 weekend at the UTSA Classic in San Antonio, Texas. Senior hurler Simone Freeman has shouldered much of the workload in the circle tossing 77 innings with four shutouts and eight complete games. She is 9-3 on the year with a 1.09 ERA and 115 strikeouts. Junior Shelby Davis tops the Cowgirls with a .435 average and 15 steals. As a team, OSU is hitting .308. OSU leads the all-time series with the Bears, 23-5.

Head Coach Holly Hesse is second in all-time wins by an MVC coach with 657. 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 (915 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 1.76 ERA. She has completed four of her five starts on the year, two of which have been shutouts, and has earned a save.

Struemph, along with teammate Chelsea Jones, are the only two Valley pitchers with two seven-inning shutouts on the season. She also leads the MVC in batting average against with two outs (.148), batting average against with runners on base (.188) and is second with an opponent's batting average of .223. On the season, she has struck out at least one batter in nine of 11 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 four weekends of the season, the Bears have clubbed seven home runs. Sullinger has three of the seven 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).

Heather Duckworth hit her first home run of the year against SEMO. The three-run blast came on her birthday (March 1) and helped her set a career high with seven total bases in the game.

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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