Bears to Tangle with Tigers, Cougars in Final Road Games Before Home Opener
March 11, 2013
The Missouri State softball team (8-9) treks to Memphis, Tenn., to begin a stretch of 13 games in 13 days on Tuesday with a doubleheader against the Tigers. The Bears will also play a single game at SIU Edwardsville on Wednesday to wrap up a 20-game road swing to begin the 2013 campaign before the team's home opener on Saturday.
Fellow senior Stevie Pierce is best in the league with six home runs and a .851 slugging percentage. Her 21 runs batted in is the third-best total in the league, but she averages a league-best 1.24 RBI per game.
The Bears' pitching has steadily improved since the beginning of the season. Sophomore hurler Chelsea Jones had won seven consecutive starts before a tough 3-2 loss at SEMO last week. Freshman Jessie Van Es earned her first win by allowing just three hits to SEMO and junior Rachel Brisker earned the save in her first outing as a Bear.
- Pierce has already set career highs with six home runs, 13 runs scored, 21 RBI and 40 total bases this season.
- Freshman Bethany Sullinger made the most of her first career start by hitting a home run against Toledo (Feb. 23) for her first career hit.
- Freshman Jessie Van Es' steady improvements paid dividends last Thursday as she earned her first victory in an MSU uniform, beating SEMO, 2-1. Junior transfer Rachel Brisker picked up the save in game, her first action as a Bear.
- Sophomore pitcher Chelsea Jones is near the top of the league with seven wins (2nd), 10 complete games (2nd), 71 innings pitched (5th) and 123 groundball outs (2nd).
FOLLOWING THE BEARS
ACROSS THE DIAMOND
SIU Edwardsville Cougars: SIUE returns home after having played its last seven games in the state of Florida. The Cougars had a successful trip, going 6-1 including five straight wins laeding into the game against the Bears. SIUE shut out opponents in four of those wins and run-ruled its last three opponents. The Cougars have eight players hitting over .300 and they are hitting .291 as a team. SIUE has two hurlers with a sub-2.00 ERA. Freshman Haley Chambers has shouldered much of the workload, tossing a team-high 51 innings with a 5-2 record and six complete games. The Cougars lead the all-time series by a slight 3-2 margin, having won the last three meetings.
600 AND COUNTING
A LEAGUE OF HER OWN
She leads all Bears with six home runs, 21 runs batted in, 40 total bases and eight walks. Her walk against SEMO last Thursday, moved her into fifth all-time with 71 career free bases. Pierce has already set career highs in home runs, RBI, runs scored (13) and total bases. She has a team-high eight multi-RBI games and 11 of her runs batted in have come with two outs.
Fellow senior Stevie Pierce has doubled up on Chapin by crushing six long balls this season, a new career high for a season. Freshman Mary Stephens got in on the party, with a birthday bash, two-run shot against Boise State (Feb. 15) and fellow frosh Bethany Sullinger hit a home run for her first career hit against Toledo (Feb. 23). Rebecca McPherson also made a big impact with her first dinger of the season, a three-run homer against UTSA (Feb. 17), snapping a season-opening slump.
BIG BANG THEORY
Pierce tops the Bears with 21 runs batted in this year. She drove in at least one run in seven of the first eight games of the year.
Not to be outdone, Chapin had an RBI in each of the first six games of the season. It marks her career high for consecutive games with an RBI, besting a feat she attained from March 26 through April 2, 2010 of five consecutive games with an RBI.
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, February 8. She followed that up with her first two-hit performance against the Chanticleers on Saturday, February 9, including a double, her first extra-base hit. Then for Stephens' encore, she blasted her first career home run, a two-run shot, against Boise State on February 15.
Freshman Bethany Sullinger didn't take long to make na impact either. In her first career start on February 23 agaisnt Toledo, she laid down a perfect squeeze bunt for an RBI. In her next at-bat, she blasted a two-run home run for her first career hit.
Last season, Brentz and Pierce tied with 29 walks each, the fourth-best single season totals in school history.
STEALTHY ON THE BASES
The base running has been stellar for MSU as well. Twice on opening weekend, Bears' runners eluded the tag at the plate to score on bang-bang plays.
CAREER DAY 2013
There isn't much senior Stevie Pierce hasn't accomplished to date in her career. However, in the game at Chattanooga on February 24, she set career bests with three hits and three runs scored.
Junior Stacia Boeckstiegel brought her A-game against ACC opponent Georgia Tech (Feb. 9). 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. She continued to come up big at the plate with her first three-RBI game at Chattanooga on Feb. 24.
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). Duckworth continued her impressive plate performance with a three-hit outing against Iowa State (Feb. 16) and scored three runs versus UTSA (Feb.17), both career-bests.
In the circle, sophomore pitcher Chelsea Jones fanned six Chanticleers in the season opener (Feb. 8), besting her five-strikeout performance from last season at Eastern Illinois (March 22).
Ali Trickey crossed the plate twice against Kennesaw State on Friday, February 8. She had 11 runs scored in her freshman campaign, but the game against KSU was her first multi-run game.
Junior Kerri Cunningham had a break-out weekend at the UTSA Classic. She had a career-best two stolen bases against Boise State (Feb. 15). She also had her first career multi-RBI games, accomplishing the feat against Iowa State (Feb. 16) and UTSA (Feb. 17).
Rebecca McPherson's home run against UTSA (Feb. 17) not only ended a season-opening slump, but the three-run shot was a career best RBI performance.
MSU will play seven more games against teams that participated in the 2012 NCAA Tournament. MSU will host Missouri for a doubleheader 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).
MVC PRESEASON POLL