Big Weekend Planned at Killian Stadium as Bears Host Evansville
 
Caitlin Chapin crushed two home runs against the Aces last season.
 
Caitlin Chapin crushed two home runs against the Aces last season.
 

April 19, 2013

Evansville Series NotesGet Acrobat Reader

The Missouri State softball team (15-24, 6-8) has a big weekend planned for the three-game set against visiting Evansville (17-24, 8-8). On Saturday, the Bears will officially retire Barb Gaines' jersey and celebrate head coach Holly Hesse's 25-year tenure at the helm. On Sunday, Mediacom will televise the game and the Bears will host a free post-game youth clinic.

The Last Meeting
Missouri State1
Evansville3
March 25, 2012
Evansville, Ind.
Early Deficit Leads to Valley Setback at Evansville
The Missouri State softball team (13-10, 3-3) fell behind and was unable to come back in a 3-1 loss at Evansville (8-18, 1-5) on Sunday at Cooper Stadium


Missouri State hosts just the second conference series of the year after being forced to play home games at Drake on March 29 and 30. Of the Bears' 39 games thus far in 2013, MSU has only played seven to date at Killian Stadium.

Junior second baseman Ashley Brentz continued to stay hot at the plate last weekend at SIU. She picked up a hit in each game and has hit safely in 18 of the 21 games, raising her average by more than 100 points over that span.

The last time Evansville played the Bears at Killian Stadium, Natalie Rose no-hit the Purple Aces in game one, setting the tone for a three-game sweep of the visitors. Last season, the Bears took two of three in Evansville and now senior Caitlin Chapin blasted home runs in both halves of the Saturday doubleheader.

QUICK HITS
- The last time Evansville played the Bears in Springfield, Natalie Rose no-hit the Purple Aces sparking the Bears to a three-game sweep in 2011.

- The Bears are hitting .290 as a team, the second-best team batting average in the conference and second all-time in program history.

- Missouri State has a team fielding percentage of .973, tops in the Valley. That figure also ranks the Bears 16th nationally.

- First baseman Stevie Pierce continues to be lethal at the plate, especially with two outs. She drove in run number 30 last Saturday, her 16th RBI with two outs this season.

- Junior Ashley Brentz picked up a hit in each game last weekend at SIU and has hit safely in 18 of the last 21 games for the Bears, raising her average more than 100 points over that span.

- Barb Gaines is the only Bear to earn all-conference honors in each of her four years and the lone MSU recipient of an NFCA All-America nod. A career .403 hitter, Gaines' #4 jersey will officially be retired on Saturday.

FOLLOWING THE BEARS
Video: Bears All-Access will carry Sunday's game aginst Evansville. Visit MissouriStateBears.com to subscribe. Mediacom will also televise Sunday's game on a tape delay basis. Visit MC22.net for broadcast times
Audio: Game one of Saturday's doubleheader can be heard on KBFL 1060 AM and online via RadioSpringfield.com.
Live Stats: GameTracker will be provided for all home games this season. For direct links, visit the softball schedule page at MissouriStateBears.com.
Social Media: In-game updates on Missouri State softball can be found via Twitter (@MSUSoftball).

ACROSS THE DIAMOND
Evansville Purple Aces: After beginning the Valley slate 1-4, the Purple Aces have won six of their last seven MVC games, including a doubleheader sweep of SIU on Wednesday. Senior centerfielder Tamara Robey tops the Aces with a .350 average, the lone UE regular hitting above .300. The speedy outfielder leads the Valley in triples with four. In the circle, senior Sarah Patterson has seen the lion's share of work with 121 innings pitched and an 11-8 record. She enters the weekend with a 2.83 ERA having made 21 starts and has 103 strikeouts on the season. Evansville won the series finale last season, snapping an eight-game skid against the Bears. The Purple Aces have won just four of the last 25 matchups with MSU.

600 AND COUNTING
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 639-633-2, Hesse is trailing only current Illinois State coach Melinda Fischer (903 wins).

AT THIS PACE
The Bears are on pace to set program records on offense and pitching this season. The team is batting .290 through 39 games, a figure that trails just the 1996 mark of .305. Conversely, the team's ERA is at 4.64 entering the weekend, more than a full run more than the 3.62 ERA of the 2010 pitching staff.

A LEAGUE OF HER OWN
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, 30 runs batted in, 61 total bases and 16 walks. Her walk against Illinois State on April 6, moved her into third all-time with 79 career free bases. Pierce has already set career highs in home runs, RBI, runs scored (19), doubles (9), stolen bases (3) and total bases. She has a team-high 10 multi-RBI games and 16 of her runs batted in have come with two outs.

FREE BASES
Missouri State's leading walkers last season are back at it again in 2013. Senior Stevie Pierce tops the Bears with 16 walks this year and has racked up 79 career walks, third-most in program history. Junior Heather Duckworth is tied with Pierce with 16 free passes on the year. Fellow junior Ashley Brentz has 12 bases on balls this season.

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

HAVE GLOVE, WILL FIELD
The Bears defense is first in the league with a .973 fielding percentage. Even more impressive, Missouri State entered the week 16th in the nation in fielding percentage. Senior Pierce has a .995 career fielding percentage, fourth in school history.

MISSOURI STATE SOFTBALL IS ON THE AIR
Meyer Communications will broadcast two 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 RadioSpringfield.com.

2013 Radio Broadcast Schedule
Saturday, April 20 - Evansville (game 1) - 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, April 27 - Creighton (game 1) - 12:00 p.m.

POWER-BALL
The Bears have had plenty of pop in their bats to begin the season, smashing 22 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. Duckworth continued to build on her career high with her third long ball of the season at Illinois State (April 6).

BIG BANG THEORY
The Missouri State offense got off to one of the best starts in school history. The Bears have crossed the plate 175 times already this season, more than each of last two years.

Pierce tops the Bears with 30 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.

STEALTHY ON THE BASES
Missouri State has 45 stolen bases this season, nearly the total of 51 amassed in both 2012 and 2011. Senior Kirstin Cutter is 12-for-14 in steal attempts to lead the squad and eighth 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.

CAREER DAY 2013
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 Heather Duckworth drove in four runs in gmae two at Illinois State on April 6. She became the second Bear with a four RBI game this season. Duckworth's other impressive plate performances include a three-hit outing against Iowa State (Feb. 16) and she scored three runs versus UTSA (Feb.17), both career-bests.

Fellow 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.

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).

GETTING THAT FIRST HIT OUT OF THE WAY
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.

MVC PRESEASON POLL
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.

ON DECK
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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