Bears to Tangle with Tigers, Cougars in Final Road Games Before Home Opener
Kirstin Cutter has a five-game hitting streak and has scored a team-high 17 runs
Kirstin Cutter has a five-game hitting streak and has scored a team-high 17 runs

March 11, 2013

Memphis-SIUE Game NotesGet Acrobat Reader

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.

The Last Meeting
Missouri State1
February 26, 2012
Memphis, Tenn.
Pitching Dominates as Bears Get a Pair of Shutout Wins
The Missouri State softball team (6-2) got dominant pitching performances from Natalie Rose and Chelsea Jones in a pair of shutout wins in the final day of the Blues City Classic in Memphis, Tenn.

The Last Meeting
SIU Edwardsville5
Missouri State1
March 3, 2011

The Missouri State offense has put on a show in the early going this season. MSU has piled up 89 runs scored over the first 17 games. Senior Kirstin Cutter has crossed the plate 17 times to lead all Bears. The Bears have eight players hitting better than .300 and the team has blasted a dozen home runs already.

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.

- Senior Stevie Pierce is among the league leaders with six home runs, 21 runs batted in, 40 total bases and 11 two-out RBI. She tops the league in home runs per game (0.35) and RBI per game (1.24).

- 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).

Video: Memphis and SIUE will video stream the games against the Bears this week. Check the Missouri State softball page for links.
Audio: None
Live Stats: Memphis will provide GameTracker and SIUE will have live stats. Fans can follow along by clicking the GameTracker and Live Stats links on the softball schedule page at
Social Media: In-game updates on Missouri State softball can be found via Twitter (@MSUSoftball).

Memphis Tigers: The Tigers come into the matchup with the Bears after sweeping a three-game road series at UTEP over the weekend for their first-ever 3-0 start to C-USA play. Junior Ijiah Hargrove (.333) and senior Morgan Mosby (.307) are the only Tigers hitting better than .300 this season. Mosby has supplied most of the power as well with two of Memphis' three home runs. In the circle, Memphis has used three pitchers on the year, all with an ERA in the three's. Junior Ellen Roberts has made a team-high 20 appearances, but sophomore Jordan Richwood leads the team with five victories. In the only meeting between the programs, Missouri State shutout out the Tigers, 1-0, in last year's Blues City Classic finale.

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.

Head Coach Holly Hesse won her 631st game at the helm of the softball Bears in an 8-0 win at Chattanooga to close out the Frost Classic (February 24) to take over sole possession of third in all-time wins by an MVC coach. With an overall record of 632-618-2, Hesse is trailing just Melinda Fischer (890 wins) and Kay Brechtelsbauer (633).

Missouri State senior Stevie Pierce was honored by the league as Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week on February 11. 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.

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.

The Bears have had plenty of pop in their bats to begin the season, smashing 12 home runs. Senior Caitlin Chapin hit three long balls, one against Georgia Tech (Feb. 9) another against Butler (Feb. 10) and a no-doubter at SEMO (March 7), giving her 17 big flies for her career, fifth in program history.

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.

The Missouri State offense got off to one of the best starts in school history. The Bears have crossed the plate 89 times already this season. Through the first 15 games, MSU had scored 85 runs, the most to begin a season since 1987.

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.

Some MSU hitters got their first base knocks over the opening weekend. Junior Ciara Flau had a big first game of the season, picking up two hits against Kennesaw State (Feb. 8), 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, 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.

Missouri State's leading walkers last season are back at it again in 2013. Senior Stevie Pierce tops the team with eight free passes and has racked up 71 career walks, fifth-most in program history. Juniors Ashley Brentz and Heather Duckworth are tied for second with seven bases on balls apiece.

Last season, Brentz and Pierce tied with 29 walks each, the fourth-best single season totals in school history.

Missouri State has 29 stolen bases this season, more than half of last year's total. Senior Kirstin Cutter is a perfect 6-for-6 in steal attempts to lead the squad

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.

Some of the Missouri State players have chalked up career best performances already this season.

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.

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

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).

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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