April 11, 2014
Indiana State Series Notes | @MSUSoftball
The Missouri State softball team (22-15, 5-6) returns to Killian Stadium for a pivotal MVC series against the Indiana State Sycamores (20-18, 2-9). The Bears played five Valley games over a three day span last weekend, taking one of three at Drake and splitting a doubleheader against Loyola on Monday. MSU is locked in a three-way tie for fifth as the league season crosses the halfway point this weekend. Sunday's series finale will be the MSU Pink Game with free admission and a free post-game clinic.
The Last Meeting
March 23, 2013
Terre Haute, Ind.
Senior second baseman Ashley Brentz
continued to be a productive leadoff hitter and a tough out for the opposition. Brentz picked up six hits and drew four walks over the five games last weekend. She also scored six times over that span and set a career-high by driving in three runs in game one at Loyola. Since moving to the leadoff spot on March 18, Brentz has hit safely in 12 of 14 games and has reached base in all but one of those games. On the season, Brentz is hitting .469 in MVC games, the fourth-best average in the league.
Fellow senior Stacia Boeckstiegel also had a breakout game against Loyola on Monday. She also set a career-high by driving home four runs in the 10-3 victory. She drilled her fourth home run of the season, a three-run shot on a full count that landed on the roof of the adjacent Welsh-Ryan Arena.
Another senior, Kerri Cunningham, has raced her way toward the top of the MSU record books. On Sunday at Drake, she stole her 20th base of the year. That total ties her for the sixth-most in a single season. Cunningham also has a team-best five game hitting streak, scoring a run in each of those five games.
In the circle, sophomore Jessie Van Es has stepped up to toss a number of quality innings of late. She picked up her second shutout of the year with a four-hit blanking of Drake on Saturday. On Monday, she had her streak of 10.1 scoreless innings snapped, but still is third in the MVC with a 2.16 ERA in league games.
Junior Chelsea Jones has continued to be a solid two-way player. As a pitcher, she has given up just 13 walks on the year and entered the week 11th in the country in fewest walks allowed per game (0.94). At the plate, she is tied atop the team with 10 doubles, a figure that ranks her tied for fifth in the Valley. Jones also has a perfect fielding record this year both in the circle and in right field.
- Senior Ashley Brentz is hitting .452 in the 14 games since moving to the leadoff spot on March 18, raising her season average by 71 points over that span. She has scored 15 runs and driven in seven since the lineup move.
- Sophomore Bethany Sullinger drove in her league-best 21st two-out run of the year at Loyola on Monday.
- Senior Kerri Cunningham stole her team-leading 20th base of the year at Drake on Saturday. It is the most steals by a player since 2006 and just three shy of the MVC leader.
- Junior pitcher Chelsea Jones has only walked 13 batters in 89.2 innings on the season. She entered the week ranked 11th in the nation with just 0.94 walks allowed per seven innings.
- Senior Stacia Boeckstiegel drove in a career-best four runs against Loyola on Monday, including her fourth home run of the year, a three-run blast that landed on the roof of the adjacent basketball arena.
- Sophomore Jessie Van Es tossed her second shutout of the year at Drake on Saturday. She became the third MSU pitcher with at least two shutouts; only seven MVC pitchers have two or more shutouts this year.
ACROSS THE DIAMOND
Indiana State Sycamores: The Sycamores have had a solid season, especially in non-conference play. Despite a 20-18 overall record, ISU has only picked up two wins in 11 MVC games this season. Freshman Kassie Brown and sophomore Kelsey Montgomery top the team with .397 and .390 averages, respectively. Close behind is senior Morgan Allee at .355, but her main contribution is a league-best 23 stolen bases. A pair of transfers toss a majority of the Sycamores innings. Sophomore Taylor Lockwood leads the staff with a 3.46 ERA and junior Yvette Alvarez has 13 wins including four shutouts. Indiana State has had a hard time with Missouri State having dropped 13 of the last 15 meetings and 54 of the 74 all-time meetings.
EXTENDING HER LEGACY
Head Coach Holly Hesse is second in all-time wins by an MVC coach with 668. 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 (923 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
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 seven wins and is third in the MVC with a 2.86 ERA and 93 strikeouts. She has completed seven of her 15 starts on the year, three of which have been shutouts, and has earned three saves.
Struemph also leads the MVC in strikeouts per game (6.83), is second with in overall opponent's batting average (.239) and batting average against with two outs (.210). She is fourth in the league in batting average against with runners on base (.236). On the season, she has struck out at least one batter in 21 of 27 outings, including two appearances of just 0.2 innings.
STEALING TO APPLAUSE
Senior Kerri Cunningham successfully stole her 20th base of the year on April 6 against Drake. The speedy centerfielder is inching closer to the record books as her 20 steal total is tied for the 6th-most steals in a season. Her 20 steals are also the most since Sara Cole had 21 in 2006.
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 Bears have hit 12 triples as a team this season, the most 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 also hit on March 15 against Bradley and again on March 29 versus SIU. She has now been plunked 19 times in her three seasons and is four shy of tying the school record.
The Bears have clubbed 15 home runs on the year, led by Sullinger's five long balls, three 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.