Smith Picks up Prairie Farms MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week Honor
ST. LOUIS -- For the second straight week a Missouri State softball player has earned the Missouri Valley Conference’s weekly academic honor, as senior shortstop Jessie Smith has been awarded the Prairie Farms MVC Scholar-Athlete of the Week award for the period March 23-29, the league office announced today.
Smith, who was named MVC Player of the Week on Monday (March 30) after batting .600 with a homer and four RBIs to help the Bears win two of their three road games last week, becomes the second straight MSU softball player to garner the conference’s scholar-athlete honor, following junior pitcher Lauren McGinley’s selection last week.
Smith’s week included a 4-for-5 performance in the Bears’ 13-8 win at Kansas (March 24), in which she drove in three runs and came within a home run of hitting for the cycle. She followed up that effort with a homer in her first at-bat against Wichita State (March 26), breaking her own school record with the 25th long ball of her career. In the nightcap of the doubleheader with the Shockers, the Bears’ shortstop walked and singled in her first two plate appearances to extend her hit streak to five games and help MSU score four times in the first two innings of an eventual 5-0 victory.
The Blue Springs, Mo., who carries a 3.15 GPA in exercise and movement science/health studies, continued her assault on the Missouri State record book last week as well, moving up the charts in seven offensive categories. Most notably, Smith bested her own career marks in home runs (25), slugging percentage (.563) and total bases (306), and also moved into second place on MSU’s career runs scored list (117). She needs just six more runs to reach Kate Madden’s all-time mark of 123. Additionally, Smith’s homer against Wichita State on Thursday (March 26) moved her into a tie for 12th on The Valley’s career home run list, matching four others.
Now in its tenth year of existence, The Valley’s Scholar-Athlete program is sponsored by Prairie Farms, Roberts and Hiland Dairies. On a weekly basis, the conference honors one male and one female student-athlete for their athletic performances over a one-week period and academic successes in the classroom.
The Bears (14-13, 4-4 MVC) will be back in action Thursday (April 2) when they host SIU Edwardsville in a 4 p.m. game at Killian Softball Stadium.