Softball Begins Road Trip with Non-Conference Test at Arkansas Tuesday
March 31, 2014
The Missouri State softball team (20-11) will try to carry the momentum of a series win over SIU into Tuesday's non-conference road matchup at Arkansas (23-14). The game will mark the beginning of a six-game road trip. MSU will travel to Des Moines, Iowa for the third-straight year for a three-game series at Drake on Saturday and Sunday. The Bears will then venture to Chicago for a rescheduled doubleheader against new league opponent Loyola on Monday.
Senior second baseman Ashley Brentz has shifted to the leadoff spot in the lineup and has been the hottest hitter of late. She has raised her season batting average by 50 points while hitting safely in seven of the eight games since moving into the leadoff role. On Saturday, she racked up three hits in game one against SIU including her first career game with two doubles. In the three-game series versus SIU, she hit .600 (6-10) with two walks and five runs scored. Brentz leads the Bears with 17 walks on the year, four shy of the league lead.
Senior Kerri Cunningham also had a good weekend at the plate against SIU. She hit safely in all three games and had five hits on the weekend. She also stole second in each game of the Saturday doubleheader to raise her season total to 18. That figure ties Cunningham for seventh on the all-time single season list and is the most steals in a season since 2006.
In the circle, sophomore Jessie Van Es picked up both wins in relief against the Salukis. After 0.2 innings of hitless relief in game one, she was the benficiary as Chelsea Jones put down a perfect walk-off squeeze bunt. Van Es returned to the circle in game two and allowed just two hits over the final 3.1 innings as the Bears rallied for the doubleheader sweep.
Chelsea Jones appeared in two games in the circle and did not allow a walk over the combined 5.1 innings tossed. She ranks seventh in the nation in fewest walks allowed per seven innings at 0.73.
The Bears look to erase memories of their last meeting with Arkansas. In 2012, two Razorbacks' pitchers combined to no-hit the Bears. Despite that 4-0 loss, MSU holds an 18-17 all-time series lead over Arkansas.
ACROSS THE DIAMOND
EXTENDING HER LEGACY
BEARS SOFTBALL IS ON THE AIR
Remaining 2014 Broadcast Schedule
Struemph is one of two Valley pitchers with three seven-inning shutouts on the season. She also leads the MVC in strikeouts per game (7.16), overall opponent's batting average of .225 and batting average against with two outs (.194). She is second in the league in batting average against with runners on base (.211). On the season, she has struck out at least one batter in 20 of 23 outings, including two appearances of just 0.2 innings.
STEALING TO APPLAUSE
SWEEPING THROUGH TEXAS
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
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.
The only other Bear to have three doubles in a game was Staci Wattie against Maryland on March 24, 2000.
TAKING ONE FOR THE TEAM
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
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.