Bears Set to Wrap Brief Home Stand with Twin Bill Against UMKC Tuesday
March 18, 2013
The Missouri State softball team (10-12, 1-1) host the UMKC Kangaroos (9-12) for a doubleheader on Tuesday in the first non-conference home games of the season. Despite a 1-2 record against UMKC last season, all on the road, the Bears are comfortably in front in the all-time series, 31-8. Tuesday's doubleheader at Killian Stadium is the result of the two team's rescheduling an originally scheduled single game on Wednesday and making up the lost game at the Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament earlier in the month.
Freshman Mary Stephens continues to be impressive with the bat. She has hit safely in the last four game, a season-best hitting streak. She also leads teh team with eight multi-hit performances this season.
The Bears' pitching continues to improve as the season moves along. In game one on Saturday, sophomore pitcher Chelsea Jones pitched a career-high nine innings. In the second game, freshman Jessie Van Es picked up her second victory of the season and the Bears have won each of her last three starts.
Saturday also included a milestone win for head coach Holly Hesse. She picked up win number 634 for the Bears, giving her the second-most wins all-time by a Valley coach, passing former SIU coach Kay Brechtelsbauer.
- Head coach Holly Hesse picked up win number 634 on Saturday, giving her the second-most wins all-time among MVC coaches.
- The Bears have earned victories in each of freshman Jessie Van Es' last three starts.
- Senior Kirstin Cutter set a career high with four hits in game two against UNI on Saturday. In the doubleheader, Cutter was 5-for-9 and reached base in eight of her nine plate appearances.
- Junior catcher Stacia Boeckstiegel is hitting a team-best .391 and leads the Valley with a .429 average against right-handed pitching.
- Third baseman Heather Duckworth went 3-for-4 and drove in two runs against reigning MVC Pitcher of the Year Jamie Fisher on Saturday.
FOLLOWING THE BEARS
ACROSS THE DIAMOND
600 AND COUNTING
A LEAGUE OF HER OWN
She leads all Bears with six home runs, 24 runs batted in, 44 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 (16) and total bases. She has a team-high nine multi-RBI games and 11 of her runs batted in have come with two outs.
Last season, Brentz and Pierce tied with 29 walks each, the fourth-best single season totals in school history.
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Fellow senior Stevie Pierce has doubled up on Chapin by crushing six long balls this season, a new career high for a season. Junior Stacia Boeckstiegel joined the bomb squad with her first career two-homer game at Memphis (March 12). Memphis was also kind to Heather Duckworth and Lauren Eisenreich. Eisenreich popped a grand slam to rally the Bears in game two against the Tigers. 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 24 runs batted in this year, more than any MSU player in all of 2012. 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.
STEALTHY ON THE BASES
The base running has been stellar for MSU as well. Twice on opening weekend, and again at Memphis (March 12), 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.
Shortstop Kirstin Cutter had a career high four hits against UNI in game two of the doubleheader (March 16). All told, she had five hits on the day and reached base in eight of her nine plate appearances in the twin bill.
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. Then at Memphis, Boeckstiegel jacked two home runs in game one and scored twice in each game of the twin bill, both career bests.
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. McPherson then had a career high two runs score at Memphis (March 12).
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.
Fellow freshman Braxton Coil became the second Bear this season to begin her career with an extra-base hit. Coil roped a double to right-center at SIU Edwardsville (March 13) for her first MSU base knock.
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