Missouri State Bears (14-24, 9-8 MVC) vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (24-17, 8-3 C-USA)
Saturday, April 21 @ 5 p.m.
Killian Stadium (1,200)Springfield, Mo.
Live Stats: MissouriStateBears.comLive Video: Bears LiveSeries History: MSU leads 24-14
Last Meeting: TU won, 5-3, on April 23, 2008
Current Streak: TU has won three straight meetings dating back to 2007
With a season-long eight-game home stand on tap, the Missouri State Bears return to Killian Softball Stadium this week looking to reclaim some momentum for the stretch drive with a single contest against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane Wednesday (April 21), before taking on one of the Missouri Valley Conference's top clubs, the Illinois State Redbirds, in a three-game set, April 24-25.
The Bears dropped four of their five MVC match-ups last week to fall to fifth in the Valley standings with a 9-8 record. Tulsa enters the week just a half-game out of the top spot in the Conference USA standings with an 8-3 league mark and a 24-17 overall mark. The Redbirds (24-14, 12-3 MVC) fell from the MVC lead with three conference losses last week, despite taking two out of three from league-leading Southern Illinois over the weekend.
Quick Hits The Bears are hitting just .204 with one home run over their last nine games Missouri State batted just .212 (7-for-33) as a team leading off an inning last week, while the opposition hit .484 (15-for-31) in the same situation The Bears were far less effective with two outs, recording just three hits in 34 at-bats (.088) over their five contests, April 14-18 MSU has posted seven of its nine MVC victories away from Killian Stadium and is 8-8 overall in true road contests this season Sophomore Christa Gammon recorded a hit in each of the Bears' first three contests last week to run her career-long hit streak to six games; after going hitless in game two of MSU's series at Drake, Gammon started another streak by going 2-for-4 Sunday to help key the Bears' 6-0 victory Gammon is tied for the MVC lead in triples in conference play with two and ranks second in hits (20) and third in runs scored (14) Senior right-hander Lauren Supak saw a 22.2 consecutive scoreless innings streak vs. Wichita State come to an end in last Wednesday's 5-1 loss to the Shockers Freshman Caitlin Chapin ranks eighth in MVC play with a .366 batting average and has a team-best seven multi-RBI games overall, including one of three 4-RBI games turned in by a Bear this season Chapin is hitting .385 (15-for-39) with four of her six homers in MSU's 16 true road games, but just .238 (5-for-21) in 11 contests at Killian Stadium Junior infielder Jenna Schwark leads the club and ranks eighth in the MVC in overall batting (.336); she is tied for the team lead in hits (37), and tops on the squad with 17 walks and 54 total bases Sophomore right-hander Natalie Rose has allowed just two earned runs over her last 31.1 innings pitched and brings a string of 11.2 consecutive scoreless innings into the week Rose's 1.70 ERA in MVC play ranks fifth in the circuit, while her two saves lead the league Follow the Bears
Live stats for each of this week's games will be available at the official home of Bears Softball on the Web, www.MissouriStateBears.com.
Additionally, Wednesday's game and the first contest of Saturday's doubleheader will be broadcast on KBFL 1060 AM
, with Matt Evans calling the action. A live video stream of both games will be available through Bears Live
, MSU's premium broadband video destination for exclusive live and on-demand streamed content. The subscription-based service will include video as well as an audio play-by-play feed, courtesy of Meyer Communications, for six regular-season MSU softball games in 2010.
Bears, Park Board to Host Free Clinic
Missouri State softball and the Springfield-Greene County Park Board will team up to host another free one-hour softball clinic this Sunday at Killian following the conclusion of the final game of the Bears' series with Illinois State. The clinics are open to girls, ages 8-13, and a registration form can be downloaded at the top of the page.
Missouri State leads the series with the Golden Hurricane by a 24-14 margin, but has dropped three straight meetings dating back to 2007. In TU's last trip to Springfield on April 23, 2008, Jordan Kinard tossed an eight-inning no-hitter to beat the Bears and lead the Golden Hurricane to a doubleheader sweep.
Scouting the Bears
Picked to finish seventh in this year's preseason Missouri Valley Conference race, the Bears have recovered from an 0-7 start to post wins in nine of their last 15 games in league play. The MSU offense has been led by junior infielder Jenna Schwark, who is batting .336 with four homers, 15 runs scored and a team-high 54 total bases. Another junior, Christa Gammon, has also been strong at the plate so far in 2010, entering Wednesday's action with a .314 batting mark to go along with team highs of 23 runs scored and eight stolen bases. MSU has gotten significant contributions from a talented freshman class, led by Caitlin Chapin, Kirstin Cutter and Madison Hargrove. Chapin has a team-best 23 RBIs to go along with six home runs, and Cutter is hitting .275 with six steals. Hargrove has been strong both at the plate and behind it, posting a .259 batting average while starting all but one of MSU's first 38 games at catcher. Junior Ashley Knehans has been one of the Bears' top power threats with a career-high six home runs and 14 RBIs. In circle, a trio of returnees have shared duties, led by senior Lauren Supak (6-7, 3.03 ERA), who has gone 5-3 with 38 strikeouts in 13 MVC outings, posting a 2.49 ERA. Senior Lauren McGinley (4-9, 4.70 ERA) has made a team-high 16 starts, completing five games, and sophomore Natalie Rose (4-8, 2.93 ERA, 2 saves) has a club-high 77 strikeouts in 88.1 innings of work to lead the team in both categories.
Scouting the Golden Hurricane
Tulsa is once again near the top of the Conference USA standings after posting a 40-17 mark to capture the league title a year ago and advance to its third NCAA Tournament. The Golden Hurricane of fifth-year head coach John Bargfeldt are led by two-time All-C-USA honoree Lauren Lindsay, who enters the week hitting .438 with 17 homers and 45 RBIs to lead the team and rank among the national leaders in all three categories. Two more TU players are hitting above the .300 mark in Samantha Cobb (.357) and Caitlin Everett (.338). Cobb gives the Golden Hurricane a second power bat with 12 long balls and 40 runs driven in on the year. In the circle, TU's two returning all-conference performers have been solid again. Senior Jackie Lawrence (9-6, 3.02 ERA) has started a team-high 18 games, while junior Jordan Kinard (6-6, 3.27 ERA) has fanned 90 batters in 85.2 innings. Freshman Kalynn Schrock has been equally impressive in her first year on the Golden Hurricane staff, recording a team-low 2.65 ERA to go along with105 strikeouts in just 79.1 innings of work.
Coming up Roses
Sophomore right-hander Natalie Rose continued a string of solid performances by allowing just one earned run in 17.0 innings vs. Wichita State and Drake this past week. Over the last three weeks, Rose has been the Bears' most-consistent pitcher, going 3-1 with a shutout and a save while posting a microscopic 0.46 ERA in nine appearances. Over the course of that same stretch, Rose has held the opposition to a .192 batting average while recording 24 strikeouts against just one walk. She has been successful thanks in large part to her command, producing a stretch of 33 1/3 innings in which she has issued just one base on balls. That follows a stretch of 55.0 innings to start the season in which she handed out 21 walks while compiling a 1-7 record and 4.45 ERA.
With Stevie Pierce's home run at Drake on April 17, the Bears upped their total to 23 long balls. That figure has already surpassed their season totals from each of the last two seasons, when MSU hit 20 and 21 homers, respectively, and ranks as the sixth-highest team total ever at Missouri State. With 16 regular-season games remaining on the schedule, the Bears are within reach of the school record for team home runs in single season. The 2006 squad clubbed 34 round-trippers en route to a 40-17 campaign.
Chugging Along with Chapin
One of the primary reasons for the Bears' success with the long ball has been the emergence of freshman Caitlin Chapin, who shares the team lead with six home runs. Her total already rates among the top 10 all-time single-season figures in school history and is the third-best mark ever for a Missouri State freshman. The Ozark, Mo., native needs just one more homer to match Staci Watti (2000) for the No. 2 spot on the chart, and only two more to equal Jessie Smith's (2006) MSU freshman record of eight dingers.
Chapin reached base safely via a hit or walk in 11 consecutive games from March 26-April 11. Chapin drew six walks during the Bears' series win over Bradley (April 10-11) to record a team-high .692 on-base percentage for the week. Over the 11-game stretch, Chapin went 13-for-30 (.433) with four homers and 12 RBIs to go along with a .541 on-base percentage and a .900 slugging percentage.
After batting just .131 as a team over their first four games of last week, the Bears rebounded with a nine-hit attack in Sunday's 6-0 win at Drake to salvage the final game of the series. MSU's offensive performance represented its best single-game effort since banging out 11 hits in a 6-2 win at Evansville on March 27.
Junior outfielder Tyler Porter snapped out of a 3-for-22 slump at the plate with a 3-for-3 afternoon Sunday vs. Drake to key MSU's offense. Her three hits and two runs scored matched career highs, and her second-inning double that sparked a two-run rally for the Bears represented her first extra-base hit since Feb. 20, 2009.
Six Bears have posted hit streaks of five games or more this season. Freshman Caitlin Chapin saw her career-long seven-game hit streak come to an end April 8 vs. Oklahoma State. The Ozark, Mo., product hit .458 (11-for-24) with four home runs and 11 RBIs during the stretch that extended back to March 26.
Junior infielder Jenna Schwark also stretched her hit streak to seven games at the onset of the season before going hitless against Sam Houston State (Feb. 20). She just missed equaling her career-long streak of eight (2/20/09 through 3/7/09), which started at last year's Sleep Inn Classic.
In addition to Chapin and Schwark, and Christa Gammon (six games), Madison Hargrove (six), Tyler Porter (six) and Alaina Burkhart (five) have also recorded hit streaks of at least five straight games in 2010.
Road Show Gammon on the Go
Highlighted by their first-ever three-game sweep of Creighton (April 2-3), the Bears are 7-3 on the road in MVC play. Their seven conference road wins represents their top season total since 2006, when they went 9-1 in MVC road games for the year. The Bears' five-game road win streak (March 27-April 3) in league play was also a program high over the last four seasons. MSU won its last nine Valley road games in 2006, after dropping its first match-up of the season at Wichita State
Junior infielder Christa Gammon
was red-hot at the plate in MSU's four road games March 24-27, particularly during the Bears' weekend series at Evansville. She reached base in eight of nine at-bats, going 7-for-8 over MSU's first two games with the Purple Aces. The Belleville, Ill., product had three hits in a 5-4 loss on March 26 before turning in a career-best 4-for-4 effort that included three runs driven-in, two doubles and a pair of steals in game one of a doubleheader the following day. Gammon reached base and scored in each of her five plate appearances in the 14-10 MSU win to register the highest single-game run total for a Bear since at least the 1997 season when the school began logging individual game highs.Fresh Look
Missouri State's freshman quartet of Caitlin Chapin, Kirstin Cutter, Lauren Eisenreich
and Madison Hargrove
combined to go 19-of-41 (.463) in MSU's four games from March 24-27. The group was especially effective in a doubleheader sweep of Evansville (March 27), going 7-for-14 with four runs driven-in in a 14-10, game-one win and 7-for-13 (.538) in a 6-2 victory in the nightcap. For Starters
With their 12-4 win over IUPUI on March 17, the Bears improved to 27-9 in home openers since 1975, including a 15-7 mark under head coach Holly Hesse
. After dropping a 3-0 decision to SIU March 19, however, Missouri State fell to 16-11 in conference openers. The Bears have lost or split each of their last four Valley-opening series after SIU claimed both ends of the doubleheader.Big Boppers
The Bears turned in their most-productive two-game stretch ever March 17, scoring 29 runs and pounding six homers in a doubleheader sweep of IUPUI. In that two-game period alone, MSU more than doubled its season home run total and upped its team batting average from .240 to .276. MSU's 17 runs scored in game two represented its highest single-game total since February 2007, when it defeated Arkansas-Pine Bluff by a 20-4 score.Nice Like WeissBubba Weiss
posted a career day in the Bears' doubleheader sweep of IUPUI (3/17), leading the Missouri State attack with six hits and five RBIs on the afternoon. The senior third-baseman went 4-for-4 with a key first-inning, two-run single and a home run in game one, before tallying two more hits and a pair of RBIs in the nightcap.Beware of the Mad Dog
Despite seeing her six-game hit streak come to an end vs. Rutgers (March 18), freshman catcher Madison Hargrove
continues to make her presence felt both at the plate and behind it. She went 1-for-3, driving in the Bears' lone run in a 3-1 setback at SIUE (March 9), before going 4-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored in three games at the Kansas Invitational (March 13-14). Hargrove's fifth-inning single plated what would prove to be the deciding run in an 8-7 victory over the host Jayhawks (March 14). The Shawnee, Kan., product then registered the first mulit-hit game of her career in the nightcap, going 2-for-2 with a walk and a run scored in a 4-3 MSU loss.
Hargrove strung together another six-game streak (March 19-27) in which she went 8-for-19 (.421). Additionally, she has been one of the toughest catchers in the Valley to run on, nailing 10 would-be base-stealers on the season to rank second in the conference.
One and Done
After claiming a 2-1 decision vs. Bradley on Sunday, MSU's record in one-run affairs improved to 4-9. Over the past two seasons, the Bears have played 29 one-run games, going just 11-18 in those outings.
At Home on the Range
Despite entering the Kansas Invitational with an all-time mark of just 17-70 against KU, the Bears posted their second straight victory over the Jayhawks with an 8-7 win in game one of the two clubs' March 14 doubleheader. The Bears also posted a breakthrough offensive showing at Arrocha Ballpark for the second consecutive year. Last March, MSU pounded KU with 14-hit barrage in a 13-8 victory for its top hit and run totals of the year.
All-Tourney Honors for Knehans
Junior Ashley Knehans earned all-tourney honors at the North Texas Sleep Inn Classic (Feb. 19-20) after batting .500 with her first home run of the season and three runs scored in the Bears' four contests.
MVC Preseason Poll
The Missouri State softball team was picked to finish seventh in the 2010 Missouri Valley Conference coaches' preseason poll. Three-time defending regular-season champion Creighton was the overwhelming favorite among coaches, gathering eight first-place votes and 97 points total. Southern Illinois garnered 85 total points to place second, followed by UNI (77) and Drake (71), which received one first-place vote. Illinois State (66) was picked fifth, while the Bears received 36 points, which was 11 points shy of Wichita State in the sixth spot. Bradley (33), Indiana State (21) and Evansville (17) rounded out the bottom third of the poll.