Softball Wraps Home Stand with Weekend Series vs. SIU
Missouri State hosts Southern Illinois in a three-game MVC series at Killian Stadium this Saturday and Sunday
March 28, 2014
SIU Series Notes
The Missouri State softball team (18-10, 1-2) looks to rebound from a two-game skid with a three-game home series against Southern Illinois (14-13, 3-2) this weekend. The Bears and Salukis will play a doubleheader at Killian Stadium on Saturday at 12:00 p.m. before concluding the series on Sunday with a single game, also at noon. The series wraps up the longest home stand of the year after the series finale with Bradley was rescheduled and the series at Loyola was postponed.
The Last Meeting
April 14, 2013
Senior Kerri Cunningham was one of the bright spots in MSU's loss to Tulsa on Wednesday. In the bottom of the fourth inning, she drew a four-pitch leadoff walk. Later in the inning, she stole her team-leading 16th base of the year. That steal put her on the top-10 single season list in the category and marks the most steals in a season by a player since 2007.
Earlier in the week, the Bears earned yet another MVC award as freshman Erin Struemph picked up her second Newcomer of the Week honor on Monday. It is the fifth weekly award of the season as Chelsea Jones has earned Pitcher of the Week twice and Bethany Sullinger was named Player of the Week in February.
Struemph absolutely shut down opposing batters last week en route the league recognition. She began the week with 8.2 consecutive no-hit innings. In 11.2 innings of work, Struemph gave up just three infield hits and struck out 12 hitters while not allowing a run in three outings. She fired her third complete game shutout of the year in a game one win at UMKC on Wednesday. She also recorded her third save of the year with three no-hit innings against Northern Colorado on Tuesday.
Senior second baseman Ashley Brentz has shifted to the leadoff spot in the lineup and has been the hottest hitter in the lineup of late. She had a six-game hitting streak and had reached base safely in 13-straight games before Wednesday's game. Brentz leads the Bears with 15 walks on the year, four shy of the league lead.
Missouri State looks to avenge a three-game sweep in Carbondale last year. The Salukis got walkoff wins in the final two games of the series aided by some controversial calls in favor of SIU. In fact, SIU has taken 12 of the last 13 meetings to overtake the all-time series lead, 47-41.
- Freshman Erin Struemph earned her second MVC Newcomer of the Week honor on Monday. She leads the MVC after firing her third complete game shutout of the year at UMKC last Wednesday (March 19).
- Struemph is second in the MVC with 80 strikeouts and her 2.16 ERA is third-best in the league. She is averaging a league-best 7.21 strikeouts per game.
- Senior Kerri Cunningham stole her team-leading 16th base of the year vs. Tulsa on Wednesday. It is the most steals by a player since 2007.
- Senior Heather Duckworth leads the Valley with four triples, the most triples in a season by a Bear since 2006 (Sara Cole, 6).
- Junior pitcher Chelsea Jones has only walked eight batters in 71 innings on the season and entered the week eighth in the nation with just 0.71 walks allowed per seven innings.
ACROSS THE DIAMOND
Southern Illinois Salukis: The Salukis have had an up and down season, teetering on either side of the .500 mark all season. At 14-13 entering the weekend, SIU has swept a conference series, last weekend vs. Drake, and been swept, two weeks ago against UNI. Freshman Shaye Harre leads the Saluki offense with a .316 average, a .592 slugging percentage and 29 RBI. Harre is also one of three SIU pitchers to start in the circle. All three have ERA over 3.00 with junior Katie Bertelsen leading the way with 81.2 innings pitched, six complete games and a 3.43 ERA. Last season, SIU took all three games from the Bears, two via walkoff hits, aided by a few controversial calls in favor of the Salukis. By virtue of the sweep, SIU increased its narrow all-time series advantage to 47-41 over the Bears.
EXTENDING HER LEGACY
Head Coach Holly Hesse is second in all-time wins by an MVC coach with 664. With a 7-1 victory over South Dakota State on February 15, Hesse earned milestone win 650. She trails only current Illinois State coach Melinda Fischer (919 wins).
BEARS SOFTBALL IS ON THE AIR
Missouri State softball will be broadcast on radio and television again in 2014. Five remaining Bears' home games can be heard on KBFL 1060 AM and RadioSpringfield.com. Two home games and one road game will be telecast on MediaCom. All home games can be seen online via Bears All-Access, a subscription-based service through MissouriStateBears.com.
Remaining 2014 Broadcast Schedule
Sunday, March 30 vs. Southern Illinois [MC22]
Saturday, April 12 vs. Indiana State (DH) [KBFL]
Sunday, April 13 vs. Indiana State [MC22]
Tuesday, April 22 vs. Wichita State (DH) [KBFL]
Wednesday, April 23 at Missouri [MC22]
Saturday, April 26 vs. Illinois State (G1) [KBFL]
Freshman pitcher Erin Struemph has been a tremendous addition to the Bears' pitching staff. She has a 7-4 record and is third in the MVC with a 2.16 ERA and second with 80 strikeouts. She has completed six of her 11 starts on the year, three of which have been shutouts, and has earned three saves.
Struemph is the only Valley pitcher with three seven-inning shutouts on the season. She also leads the MVC in strikeouts per game (7.21). Her batting average against with two outs (.189) is second in the league and batting average against with runners on base (.211) and overall opponent's batting average of .228 are third-best in the league. On the season, she has struck out at least one batter in 18 of 21 outings, including two appearances of just 0.2 innings.
STEALING TO APPLAUSE
Senior Kerri Cunnningham successfully stole her 16th base of the year against Tulsa on March 26. The speedy centerfielder is inching closer to the record books as she is now tied for the 10th-most steals in a season. Her 16 steals are also the most since Jessie Smith had 17 in 2007.
Heather Duckworth hit Missouri State's 11th triple of the year at UMKC on March 19. She leads the Valley with four triples. It is the most triples hit in a season by a player since Sara Cole had six in 2006. The 11 triples as a team is a season-best since MSU hit 16 in 2006.
Missouri State has picked up five weekly honors from the MVC this season, the most since 2006. Erin Struemph has earned the league's Newcomer of the Week honor twice, exactly one month apart (February 24 and March 24). Junior Chelsea Jones has been named MVC Pitcher of the Week twice (March 3 and March 17). Bethany Sullinger was the recipient of the league Player of the Week honor on February 17 after a stellar weekend in Arlington, Texas.
SWEEPING THROUGH TEXAS
The Bears went down to Texas and swept all five games at the UTA Maverick Invitational (Feb. 14-16) for their first five-game winning streak since early in the 2012 season. MSU defeated 2013 MAC Champion and 2014 favorite Central Michigan and took two games each from host UT Arlington and South Dakota State.
Missouri State pitched back-to-back shutouts to claim the title in Arlington.
The Bears' winning streak continued in Southaven, Miss. extending to eight games, the longest win streak since 2011. MSU also pitched two more shutouts, making it four shutouts over the span of five games.
HOT IN TEXAS IN FEBRUARY
Sophomore first baseman Bethany Sullinger picked up MVC Player of the Week honors (Feb. 17) after a scorching weekend at the plate. In five games at the UTA Maverick Invitational, she hit .625 with a stellar 1.250 slugging percentage.
On Valentine's Day, Sullinger clubbed three home runs, two of which came against MAC favorite Central Michigan. She hit safely in all five games and had career bests in hits, runs scored and RBI. She also drew her first career walk and stole her first career base.
Junior Chelsea Jones became just the second Bear since 1997 to hit three doubles in the same game when she accomplished the feat against UT Arlington on Feb. 14. She drove in a run with each of those doubles.
The only other Bear to have three doubles in a game was Staci Wattie against Maryland on March 24, 2000.
Missouri State topped its season total from 2013 (5) by hitting six triples at the Blues City Classic (Feb. 21-23). The Bears hit three triples against Alabama A&M (Feb. 21), the first three-triple game since April 2, 1998 versus Saint Louis. In the bottom of the third inning against the Bulldogs, Stacia Boeckstiegel and Heather Duckworth each tripled, the first time in three seasons (March 26, 2011) that two players tripled in the same inning.
TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM
Senior catcher Stacia Boeckstiegel was hit by a pitch against Central Michigan (Feb. 14), her first HBP this season. She was hit again on March 15 against Bradley. She has now been plunked 18 times in her three seasons and is five shy of the school record.
The Bears have clubbed 13 home runs on the year, led by Sullinger's five long balls, two shy of the MVC lead. Boeckstiegel and Sullinger hit back-to-back dingers against Central Michigan.
Redshirt sophomore Erin Duewel accounted for the Bears' only home run of opening weekend when she hit the first of her career in the sixth inning of the second game at Georgia Tech (Feb. 8).
Elena Gambill was the only Bear to go deep at the Blues City Classic. She blasted a solo shot to left in the second inning against Lipscomb (Feb. 23).
Heather Duckworth hit her first home run of the year against SEMO. The three-run blast came on her birthday (March 1) and helped her set a career high with seven total bases in the game.
Missouri State clubbed four dingers in Stillwater and added two more at Central Arkansas (March 11). Boeckstegel went yard in the final game at Oklahoma State and again at UCA becoming the second player this year to homer in back-to-back games (Sullinger, Feb. 14, at UTA and vs. Central Michigan).
BREAKING THE ICE
Beside Duewel's first career home run, MSU players have recorded firsts in their career already this season.
Freshman pitcher Erin Struemph picked up her first career strikeout in her first outing, ending the sixth inning with a punch out to strand two Yellow Jackets on base (Feb. 8). In game two against Georgia Tech (Feb. 8), she earned her first career victory while striking out six over four innings of work. Then in Texas, Struemph pitched her first complete game with a win over Central Michigan (Feb. 14). As an encore, she tossed her first career shutout with a 3-0 win over UTA in the championship game (Feb. 16). On February 21, Struemph earned her first career save over Morehead State with 0.2 innings of hitless relief to strand an inherited runner.
Fellow freshman Madison Jones picked up her first career hit, a solid single through the right side, during game two at Georgia Tech (Feb. 8). Her first multi-hit game came in the opener of the UTA Maverick Invitational, a 3-for-3 day against the host team (Feb. 14).
Elena Gambill, got in on the action in Texas. In game two of the UTA Maverick Invitational, Gambill registered her first career hit, a double to the left-center field wall against Central Michigan (Feb. 14). Gambill upped her slugging percentage on her next hit, a home run against Liscomb (Feb. 23).
Allie Alvstad drove in her first run with an RBI groundout against Alabama A&M (Feb. 21). She recorded her first hit with an RBI single to right against Bradley (March 15).
Senior Ciara Flau made the most of her opportunity to start at Georgia Tech (Feb. 9). She led off the fifth inning against the Yellow Jackets and laced her first career double into the right field corner.