April 5, 2012
Bradley Series Notes
The Missouri State softball team (16-14, 4-5) host Bradley (13-19, 3-6) for three games this Friday and Saturday to kick off a nine-game home stand. Last season, the Bears swept the Braves in the four matchups, including eliminating Bradley in the first round of the MVC Tournament with a 3-0 shutout victory. When the Braves last visited Killian Stadium during the regular season in 2010, MSU took two of three from Bradley.
Missouri State is coming off a week in which it dropped two of three at Drake and split a doubleheader at UMKC. The second five-game road trip in as many weeks saw the offense continue to build on the success achieved on the last road trip as the Bears have raised the team batting average 22 points in the last 10 games.
In the circle, freshman Chelsea Jones continues to build a strong resume as she fired six no-hit innings in game two at UMKC on Tuesday. Her 18 walks given up this season are tied for fifth in the Valley. Her teammate, senior Natalie Rose, has allowed just 14 free passes this season and holds the sixth lowest walks per game ratio in the country. Rose was the winning pitcher in all four victories over Bradley last season.
- Natalie Rose entered the week sixth in the nation in fewest walks allowed per game (0.84). She then went out and did not allow a walk in either appearance against UMKC, giving her 17 outings this season without issuing a free pass. She has not walked a batter in her last eight outings.
- Junior Heather Duckworth had a career-high three runs batted in at UMKC on Tuesday. Two of her RBI came in the seventh inning and ended up being the decisive runs in the 4-2 win.
- First baseman Stevie Pierce is the only current Bear to have three consecutive multi-walk games when she walked twice at Drake in game two on Saturday, at Drake on Sunday and in game one at UMKC on Tuesday.
- In the last six games, Lauren Eisenreich has hit safely five times, drwan a walk in four games and driven in a run on three occasions.
- In her last outing, freshman Chelsea Jones took a no-hitter into the seventh inning at UMKC in game two of the doubleheader on Tuesday.
- The last time the Bears and Braves played, MSU eliminated Bradley from the MVC Tournament with a 3-0 victory over BU.
FOLLOWING THE BEARS
Video: Bears All-Access, visit MissouriStateBears.com/allaccess to subscribe. MediaCom will record Saturday's game for tape delay broadcast on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday at 7:00 p.m.
GameTracker: GameTracker will be provided for all home Missouri State softball games including this weekend's three-game series against Bradley. Fans can follow along by clicking the GameTracker link on the softball schedule page at MissouriStateBears.com.
IN THE OTHER DUGOUT
Bradley Braves: Missouri State defeated Bradley, 3-0, to knock the Braves out of the MVC Tournament in the first round in 2011. Missouri State has taken five straight from the Braves and six of seven games over the past two seasons. This year, right-handed pitcher Madeline Lynch-Crumrine leads the picthing staff with 2.41 ERA and is third on the team with a .296 batting average. Only two hitters (Julie Sherman, .315; Baileigh Basham, .309) have a higher batting average.
500 AND COUNTING
Senior pitcher Natalie Rose struck out Southeast Missouri State's Taylor Cowan to end the fourth inning on Sunday, March 4 for strikeout number 500 of her career. Then on March 24, she struck out Amy Gaertner of Evansville for career strikeout number 546 to take over sole possession of third on the all-time Missouri State list in the category, passing Terri Whitmarsh. Rose leads all active Valley pitchers with 571 strikeouts with Jordan Birch of Illinois State the only other MVC pitcher with more than 500 strikeouts (522).
600 AND COUNTING
Head Coach Holly Hesse won her 600th game at the helm of the softball Bears in her 24th season at MSU in a season-opening 7-2 win against Sam Houston State (February 17). With an overall record of 615-597-2, Hesse entered the season tied for 40th on the all-time victories list among active coaches.
NO FREE PASSES
Pitcher Natalie Rose had her streak of consecutive innings without issuing a walk snapped at 31.2 when she issued a free pass in the fourth inning of the February 26 game vs. Western Illinois. The last walk Rose had issued came in the second inning of the State Farm MVC Tournament Championship game versus Drake on May 14, 2011. Rose has allowed just 14 bases on balls this season, the fewest walks per game ratio (0.81) in the Valley and entered the week sixth in the nation in fewest walks per seven innings.
Missouri State has three hitters with 16 or more walks this season. Only SIU has as many hitters with as many walks. Stevie Pierce leads the Bears with 18 free passes, with Ashley Brentz and Lauren Eisenreich with 16 bases on balls apiece. Pierce has three consecutive multi-walk games from March 31 through April 3, the only player in the past four seasons to accomplish the feat. Brentz had back-to-back two walk games on March 27 and March 31 and Pierce had back-to-back multi walk games in 2011 (March 9 at North Texas  and March 12 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff ).
MSU SOFTBALL IS ON THE AIR
Six remaining Missouri State home softball games will be broadcast on radio and/or television this season.
2012 Broadcast schedule
Date - Opponent - Media Outlet
April 7 - Bradley - MediaCom TV
April 14 - SIU (gm 1 only) - KBFL-am 1060
April 18 - Wichita State (DH) - KBFL-am 1060
April 28 - Indiana St (game 1 only) - KBFL-am 1060
May 2 - Arkansas - KBFL-am 1060 & MediaCom TV
The Missouri State offense has heated up since the official start of spring last week. On Thursday (March 22) at Eastern Illinois, the Bears tied a season-high with 11 hits and scored five runs in the sixth inning, the highest single inning total of the season. Then on Saturday at Evansville, Missouri State continued to sizzle with a six-run fourth inning that led to an 11 run outing, the highest run total since a 14-10 win at Evansville in 2010. Since the official start of spring, the team batting average has risen 22 points over the past 10 games.
After launching the second-highest MSU single season total of eight home run in 2010, junior Caitlin Chapin has found her power stroke again in 2012. On Saturday, March 24, Chapin blasted a home run in each game of the doubleheader at Evansville to give her a team-leading four dingers this season. She is the only Bear with more than one four-bagger this year. Her 14 career homers is just two shy of fifth in school history.
CAREER DAY 2012
Several returning Missouri State players have had career days already this season. Sophomore Ashley Brentz had her first career four-hit game on opening day (February 17) against Sam Houston State and stole her first base. It was the first four-hit performance by a Bear since another second baseman, Christa Gammon, had four hits in game one of a doubleheader against UNI on May 8, 2010.
On that Sunday (February 19), senior Raeven Replogle had a career-best three-RBI game against South Dakota State. Junior Caitlin Chapin had two stolen bases and sophomore Heather Duckworth scored two runs, both career highs.
At the Blues City Classic in Memphis, Tenn., Brentz and Kirstin Cutter each recorded their first multi-RBI games of their careers. Both feats occurred on Saturday (February 25) as Cutter drove in both runs in the Bears' 2-1 win over Miami (OH). In the nightcap, Brentz drove in two of the four runs in MSU's 4-1 win over SEMO.
On March 24, Brentz scored three times in MSU's 11-2 six inning win at Evansville. The three runs scored was a career-best for the second baseman.
Duckworth had another career day at UMKC on April 3. She drove in three runs in a 4-2 Bears' win. Two of the RBI came in the top of the seventh inning, plating the winning run.