Softball to Renew Rivalry with AIAW Foe Northern Colorado on Tuesday
March 17, 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Missouri State softball team (15-8) will host Northern Colorado (7-22) for a single game at Killian Stadium on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m. The meeting will be just the third between the teams since Missouri State defeated UNC 40 years ago for the 1974 AIAW National Championship.
MSU and UNC played three-consecutive years in the AIAW national tournament. In 1972, UNC knocked off Missouri State for its only win in the series history with MSU. In 1973, Missouri State won 5-1 over Northern Colorado and finished third in the nation. Since MSU's title victory in 1974, the teams have met just twice with Missouri State winning both meetings in 2006 at the Wichita State Invitational.
This year, MSU is off to a 15-8 start aided by an eight and a four-game winning streak. Junior Chelsea Jones, this week's MVC Pitcher of the Week, leads the Bears in the circle with a 7-3 mark. She is also the MSU leading hitter with a .368 average. On Thursday, Jones hit her eighth double of the season, tied for the most in the MVC, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh for a walk-off win.
Freshman pitcher Erin Struemph has also been vital to the Bears' success with a 6-3 mark on the season. Struemph leads all Valley pitchers with 67 strikeouts and owns the best ERA (2.22) in the MVC.
Sophomore first baseman Bethany Sullinger is hitting .333 on the year. She leads the Bears with five home runs and 21 RBI, figures that rank third in the Valley. Sullinger has 13 two-out runs batted in, tied for the most in the MVC.
Ashley Brentz drew her team-leading 12th walk of the season to end an eight-pitch plate appearance with two outs in the seventh inning on Thursday. On the next pitch, she scored the winning run in the Bears' home opening victory over SIU Edwardsville.
Senior Kerri Cunningham has successfully stolen a team-best 12 bases this season, a career high for the speedy center fielder. Her 12 steals ranks her second among Valley players.
Northern Colorado brings a three-game winning streak into the match up on Tuesday after sweeping a doubleheader at UMKC on Monday. Despite the three-game streak, UNC has just seven wins in 29 games on the year all away from home.
Following Tuesday's home game, Missouri State will travel to Kansas City on Wednesday to face the UMKC Kangaroos (9-14). The Kangaroos bring a three-game skid into Wednesday's meeting, having lost all three to Northern Colorado over the weekend.