Bears Set to Wrap Brief Home Stand with Twin Bill Against UMKC Tuesday
Heather Duckworth drove in three runs in the Bears win at UMKC last season.
Heather Duckworth drove in three runs in the Bears win at UMKC last season.

March 18, 2013

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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.

The Last Meeting
Missouri State4
April 3, 2012
Kansas City, Mo.
Jones' Gem, Duckworth's RBIs Give Bears Split at UMKC
The Missouri State softball team (16-14, 4-5) got a pitching gem from Chelsea Jones and clutch RBI from Heather Duckworth to rally for a split at UMKC

Senior Kirstin Cutter had a phenomenal opening weekend to conference play. In Saturday's doubleheader against UNI, she reached base in eight of her nine plate appearances. In game two alone, Cutter went 4-for-4. She scored five runs in the twin bill while driving in a pair and stealing two bases. She has a team-high 25 hits, 22 runs scored and eight stolen bases this season.

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.

- Missouri State leads the all-time series against UMKC, 31-8, including a 17-3 record in home games.

- 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.

Video: Live video streaming will be available for both games of the doubleheader against UMKC on Tuesday. Check the Missouri State softball page for links.
Audio: KBFL 1060 AM will broadcast both games on Tuesday. To listen online, visit the Bears schedule page or
Live Stats: GameTracker will be provided for all home games this season. For direct links, visit the softball schedule page at
Social Media: In-game updates on Missouri State softball can be found via Twitter (@MSUSoftball).

UMKC Kangaroos: Entering Tuesday's doubleheader, the Kangaroos have played all 21 games this season away from home. The games against Missouri State will conclude a season-opening 23-game raod trip for UMKC. Prior to sweeping a doubleheader at Wichita State last Wednesday, the Kangaroos had dropped five straight games. Earlier in the season, UMKC had a six-game losing streak. The `Roos are hitting .300 as a team, led by senior Emily Ott's .379 average. Despite the great hitting, UMKC's downfall has been its pitching. The Kangaroos have three pitchers, none of which has an ERA under 8.00, leading to a team ERA of 8.78 this season. Senior Deanna Friese has a 6-5 record and has better than a 2-to-1 (86-42) strikeouts-to-walks ratio. Last season, UMKC took two of three from the Bears, but MSU leads the all-time series 31-8. Bears' hurler Chelsea Jones took a no-hitter into the seventh inning to earn the win for MSU.

Head Coach Holly Hesse won her 634th game at the helm of the softball Bears in a 8-2 win vs. UNI (March 16) to move into second in all-time wins by an MVC coach. With an overall record of 634-621-2, Hesse is trailing only current Illinois State coach Melinda Fischer (894 wins).

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, 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.

Missouri State's leading walkers last season are back at it again in 2013. Senior Stevie Pierce tops the Bears with 10 walks this year and has racked up 73 career walks, fifth-most in program history. Junior Heather Duckworth has drawn nine free passes and fellow junior Ashley Brentz isn't far behind with seven bases on balls.

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

Meyer Communications will broadcast 10 more regular season Missouri State softball games live from Killian Stadium this spring. All broadcasts can be heard on KBFL (1060 AM) in Springfield or via the web at

2013 Radio Broadcast Schedule
Tuesday, March 19 - UMKC (DH) - 3:00 p.m.
Friday, March 29 - Drake (DH) - 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 30 - Drake - 12:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 3 - Missouri (DH) - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 20 - Evansville (game 1) - 12:00 p.m.
Wednesday, April 24 - Wichita State - 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 - Creighton (game 1) - 12:00 p.m.

The Bears have had plenty of pop in their bats to begin the season, smashing 16 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. 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.

The Missouri State offense got off to one of the best starts in school history. The Bears have crossed the plate 120 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 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.

Missouri State has 34 stolen bases this season, more than half of last year's total. Senior Kirstin Cutter is a perfect 8-for-8 in steal attempts to lead the squad

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.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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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