March 8, 2012
Iowa State Series Notes
The Missouri State softball team (8-4) opens the fourth season of play at Killian Stadium this weekend with a three-game series against Iowa State. The Cyclones visited Killian Stadium on March 19, 2009 in what marked the longest game (13 innings) Missouri State had played in since 1994. Despite an overall 26-32 record at Killian, the Bears regained home field advantage going 14-9 at the "K" last season.
Eight of the next nine game Missouri State plays will be at Killian Stadium. Aside from a single game at Central Arkansas next Wednesday, the Bears are in the midst of playing nine games against Big 12 or 2011 NCAA Tournament teams (Missouri, 1; Iowa State, 3; Illinois State, 3; Kansas, 2).
Last weekend, the Bears split a four-game set at the Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in Kansas City, Mo. Missouri State downed the Billikens in the opening game, but were on the wrong end of a 7-0 decision against host UMKC. On the final day of the tournament, the Bears rallied from a two-run deficit in their final at-bat to beat SEMO, 5-4. In the second game of the day, MSU stranded the tying run on base in a 3-1 defeat to No. 13 Missouri. The Bears were the only team to score a run against the Tigers and the three runs allowed were the second fewest given up to Missouri all season.
- Missouri State enters the weekend on a seven-game winning streak at Killian Stadium.
- Missouri State is 27-10 in home openers dating back to the 1975 season, including a 15-8 mark under head coach Holly Hesse.
- Senior hurler Natalie Rose has struck out 43 batters while issuing just five walks in the first 41.1 innings of this season. With her fourth inning strikeout of Southeast Missouri State's Taylor Cowan on Sunday, March 4, Rose hit the 500 strikeout mark for her career. She is only the fourth Bear hurler to attain that milestone (Nora Cagwin, Melissa Porche, Terri Whitmarsh).
- More Round Numbers: Senior Raeven Replogle has played 150 and started 100 in her career and junior Lauren Eisenreich has played in 100 career games entering this weekend.
- Junior Stevie Pierce hit .500 (5-for-10) at last weekend's Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament to raise her season average 117 points and earn all-tournament team recognition.
FOLLOWING THE BEARS
Video: MediaCom, Sunday, March 11
Audio: KBFL-AM 1060, Game 1 on Saturday, March 10
GameTracker: GameTracker will be provided for all home Missouri State softball games including this weekend's three-game series against Iowa State. Fans can follow along by clicking the GameTracker link on the softball schedule page at MissouriStateBears.com.
IN THE OTHER DUGOUT
Iowa State Cyclones: The last time the Bears and Cyclones met, it turned out to be the longest game MSU had played in 15 years. MSU and Iowa State played 13 innings before the Cyclones eeked out a 6-5 win. It was the longest game since MSU and Drake played 14 innings at the end of the MVC Tournament in 1994. By virtue of the 13-inning win, Iowa State moved ahead in the all-time series, 6-5. After a rough 2-8 start, Iowa State is 4-3 in the last seven games entering this weekend, including back-to-back wins at the UTEP Invitational last weekend.
500 AND COUNTING
Senior pitcher Natalie Rose struck out Southeast Missouri State's Taylor Cowan to end the fourth inning on Sunday, March 4 for strikeout number 500 of her career. She sits fourth on the all-time Missouri State list in the category. Rose leads all active Valley pitchers with 500 strikeouts with Jordan Birch of Illinois State the only other MVC pitcher with more than 400 strikeouts (475).
600 AND COUNTING
Head Coach Holly Hesse won her 600th game at the helm of the softball Bears in her 24th season at MSU in a season-opening 7-2 win against Sam Houston State (February 17). With an overall record of 607-587-2, Hesse entered the season tied for 40th on the all-time victories list among active coaches.
MSU SOFTBALL IS ON THE AIR
Thirteen Missouri State home softball games will be broadcast on radio and/or television this season. Beginning with the home opener, 11 home games will air on KBFL-AM 1060 while three games can be seen on MediaCom.
2012 Broadcast schedule
Date - Opponent - Media Outlet
March 10 - Iowa State (gm 1 only) - KBFL-am 1060
March 11 - Iowa State - MediaCom TV
March 17 - Illinois State (gm 1 only) - KBFL-am 1060
March 20 - Kansas (DH) - KBFL-am 1060
April 6 - Bradley (DH) - KBFL-am 1060
April 7 - Bradley - MediaCom TV
April 14 - SIU (gm 1 only) - KBFL-am 1060
April 18 - Wichita State (DH) - KBFL-am 1060
April 28 - Indiana State (gm 1 only) - KBFL-am 1060
May 2 - Arkansas - KBFL-am 1060 & MediaCom TV
CAREER DAY 2012
Several returning Missouri State players have had career days already this season. Sophomore Ashley Brentz had her first career four-hit game on opening day (February 17) against Sam Houston State and stole her first base. It was the first four-hit performance by a Bear since another second baseman, Christa Gammon, had four hits in game one of a doubleheader against UNI on May 8, 2010. Pitcher Savannah Wiggins had a career-high five strikeouts and hit her first career home run versus SHSU.
On that Sunday (February 19), senior Raeven Replogle had a career-best three-RBI game against South Dakota State. Junior Caitlin Chapin had two stolen bases and sophomore Heather Duckworth scored two runs, both career highs.
At the Blues City Classic in Memphis, Tenn., Brentz and Kirstin Cutter each recorded their first multi-RBI games of their careers. Both feats occurred on Saturday (February 25) as Cutter drove in both runs in the Bears' 2-1 win over Miami (OH). In the nightcap, Brentz drove in two of the four runs in MSU's 4-1 win over SEMO.
NO FREE PASSES
Pitcher Natalie Rose had her streak of consecutive innings without issuing a walk snapped at 31.2 when she issued a free pass in the fourth inning of the February 26 game vs. Western Illinois. Rose has allowed just five bases on balls this season, the among Valley leaders in the category. The last walk Rose had issued came in the second inning of the State Farm MVC Tournament Championship game versus Drake on May 14, 2011.
The Bears began the season as road warriors with three-straight tournaments and the first 12 games being played away from Killian Stadium. Missouri State will now play eight of the next nine game at Killian Stadium beginning with a three-game series against Iowa State on March 10 and 11.
This weekend marks the third straight week the Bears will face either a Big 12, SEC or 2011 NCAA Tournament team. Thus far MSU has a victory over Memphis and a tough loss to No. 13 Missouri. In all the Bears will play 12 games against feisty foes (Memphis, 1; Missouri, 1; Iowa State, 3; Illinois State, 3; Kansas, 2; Tulsa, 1; Arkansas, 1). The first eight games at Killian Stadium will be against Big 12 opponents or 2011 NCAA Tournament participants.
MVC PRESEASON POLL
The Bears were picked to finish fourth in the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference coaches' preseason poll. Defending regular season champion Illinois State is favored with UNI and Southern Illinois sandwiched between ISU and the Bears.
After sweeping through the MVC Tournament in 2011, the Bears will be tasked with repeating that feat in Carbondale, Ill., as SIU will host the 2012 Championship. Missouri State earned its sixth title last season, tied for the most by any school. Hesse has 45 of the Bears' 67 wins in the MVC Tournament, both totals are the best in the Valley.