Softball Bears Set for Showdown with Nationally-Ranked Missouri
Chelsea Jones held the Tigers to six hits last season.
Chelsea Jones held the Tigers to six hits last season.

April 2, 2013

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The Missouri State softball team (14-16, 5-3) will host No. 6/7 Missouri (20-2) for a doubleheader of action on Wednesday beginning a five-game stretch against NCAA Tournament teams from last year. The Tigers come to town as the highest-ranked opponent the Bears' have ever played in Springfield. The twin bill has also been tagged Faculty and Staff Appreciation Night giving all MSU faculty and staff free admission with a valid BearPass ID.

The Last Meeting
Missouri State1
#13 Missouri3
March 4, 2012
Kansas City, Mo.
Seventh Innings Key as Bears Beat SEMO, Test No. 13 Missouri
The Missouri State softball team (8-4) got rallies in the seventh innings of both games in the final day of the Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in Kansas City, Mo.

Senior Lauren Eisenreich has hit safely in the last seven games, tying fellow senior Kirstin Cutter for the longest current streak on the team. Eisenreich drilled three doubles over the weekend at Drake, narrowly missing her third home run of the season on Friday. She has been incredibly consistent during the MVC games this season, recording at least one hit in each of the eight conference games.

Freshman Mary Stephens continues her torrid pace at the plate. She leads the Bears with 35 hits and a .380 batting average, among the top-5 in the league. She also has a team-best 11 multi-hit games including four games in which she has collected three hits.

The Bears offense has been one of the main highlights this season. The team batting average of .309, paces the Valley and ranks 40th in the country. Missouri State has racked up 157 runs in the first 30 games, surpassing last season's 147 runs over the 51-game season.

Last season, the Bears fell to Missouri at the Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in Kansas City. Despite the loss, the Bears stranded the tying runs in scoring position in a 3-1 defeat to the then-No. 13 Tigers.

- Missouri State took two of three games against Drake in the relocated series last weekend. It was the first series win over the Bulldogs since 2006.

- The Bears are hitting .309 as a team, the 40th best team batting average in the nation.

- Freshman Mary Stephens leads the Bears with 35 hits and a .380 batting average, both of which ranks her in the top-5 in the Valley.

- First baseman Stevie Pierce drew career walk number 78 on Saturday, tying her with Diedre Shores for third in school history.

- Freshman Braxton Coil hit her first career home run at Drake on Saturday. Two of her four hits have gone for extra bases. She also has a team-high six sac bunts.

- Junior pitcher Rachel Brisker has made the most of her recent appearances. She has two wins and two saves in five appearances with a 1.24 ERA.

Video: Bears All-Access will carry both games of Wednesday's doubleheader. Visit to subscribe. Mediacom will televise both games in tape delay. For broadcast times, visit
Audio: KBFL 1060 AM will broadcast both games against Missouri. To listen online, visit the Bears schedule page and click the Listen Live link.
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).

Missouri Tigers: The Tigers enter the series with the Bears ranked in the top-10 in the country for the ninth-consecutive week. MU has reeled off 10-straight wins including six of the last seven by run rule. At 20-2 on the season, the Tigers rank second in the nation in scoring at 7.64 runs per game and third with a 1.37 ERA. Senior Nicole Hudson tops the Tigers with a .431 average, one of two MU hitters above .400 on the year. Fellow senior Chelsea Thomas is 12-1 with a miniscule 0.63 ERA and has 106 strikeouts already this season. The Tigers, then ranked No. 13, beat the Bears 3-1 last year at the Missouri Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in Kansas City, but MSU had the tying runs in scoring position when the game ended.

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 638-625-2, Hesse is trailing only current Illinois State coach Melinda Fischer (895 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 seven home runs, 29 runs batted in, 52 total bases and 15 walks. Her walk against Drake last Saturday, moved her into a tie for third all-time with 78 career free bases. Pierce has already set career highs in home runs, RBI, runs scored (18), doubles (7), stolen bases (3) and total bases. She has a team-high 10 multi-RBI games and 15 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 15 walks this year and has racked up 78 career walks, third-most in program history. Juniors Heather Duckworth and Ashley Brentz have 14 and 11 bases on balls this season, respectively.

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

The Bears defense is second in the league with a .971 fielding percentage. Even more impressive, Missouri State entered the week 25th in the nation in fielding percentage. Senior Pierce has faced the most chances in the league at 246. Her .994 career fielding percentage is fourth in school history.

Meyer Communications will broadcast five 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
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 21 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 more than doubled up on Chapin by crushing seven 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. Duckworth then tacked on her second homer of the year in the first inning of game one against UMKC (March 19).

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.

In conference play, Eisenreich popped a two-run shot at Indiana State (March 23) her fifth-straight home run with at least one runner on base. In the series finale at Drake on March 30, McPherson and Braxton Coil each blasted two-run bombs. Coil's dinger was the first of her career.

The Missouri State offense got off to one of the best starts in school history. The Bears have crossed the plate 157 times already this season, more than all of last year.

Pierce tops the Bears with 29 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 40 stolen bases this season, more than half of last year's total. Senior Kirstin Cutter is 11-for-12 in steal attempts to lead the squad and seventh in the Valley.

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 EIU (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 at 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 an impact either. In her first career start against Toledo (Feb. 23), she laid down a perfect squeeze bunt for an RBI. In her next at-bat, she blasted a two-run home run the first of 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.

Wednesday will begin a stretch of five-straight games against NCAA Tournament teams from last season. MSU will host Missouri for two games before travelling to Illinois State for three games this weekend.

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 two more games against teams that participated in the 2012 NCAA Tournament on the road at Arkansas (April 10) and Tulsa (May 1).

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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