April 20, 2012
UNI Series Notes
The Missouri State softball team (19-19, 7-9) travels to Cedar Falls, Iowa, for a three-game series against the first-place UNI Panthers (31-11, 15-1) this weekend. The Bears and Panthers met in a non-conference matchup back in Febrauary at the Blues City Classic in Memphis, Tenn. UNI prevailed with a 5-3 win.
The Bears split a doubleheader against Wichita State on Wednesday. Missouri State garnered just a single hit off of WSU hurler Katie Armagost in game one, but it was a game-winning RBI single by Ashley Brentz. Natalie Rose sat down a season-high 12 Shockers via strikeout for the complete game shutout. She recorded her 600th career strikeout in game two when she struck out Layne Greenlee in the seventh inning.
UNI enters the series after a split of its own at Bradley. The Panthers suffered their first conference loss of the season against the Braves by a 9-3 decision.
- Natalie Rose entered the week fourth in the nation in fewest walks allowed per game (0.82). Rose then went out and pitched 7.1 innings against Wichita State on Wednesday without issuing a free pass. She is one of only nine pitchers in the country allowing fewer than one walk per game this season.
- With Rose's 13 strikeouts against the Shockers on Wednesday, she became just the third pitcher in MSU history to record 600 punchouts in a career.
- Sophomore Heather Duckworth has a team-leading ten doubles this season. That total is third in the MVC.
- Senior Raeven Replogle has nine sacrifice bunts this season, tied for third in the league.
- Second baseman Ashley Brentz has 13 hits in the last 10 games and leads the team with 10 multi-hit games this season.
- Game two against Wichita State marked the first left-handed starting pitcher (Sloan Anderson) the Bears faced this season. The only other lefty to throw against MSU was Kansas' Kristin Martinez on March 27.
FOLLOWING THE BEARS
Live Stats: Live stats will be provided by UNI. A direct link to the live stats can be found on the softball schedule page at MissouriStateBears.com.
IN THE OTHER DUGOUT
UNI Panthers: The first-place Panthers enter the series with the Bears coming off their first conference loss of the season. Earlier this season, UNI beat the Bears, 5-3, at the Blues City Classic in a non-conference matchup in Memphis, Tenn. Sophomore pitcher Jamie Fisher has taken the reins as the staff ace with a 16-1 record and team-leading 1.62 ERA. Mackenzie Daigh leads all Valley hitters with a .411 batting average. She is one of four Panther hitters batting over .300. In the Febraury game against the Bears, Daigh and teammate Courtney Dunker each hit a home run.
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 struck out Wichita State's Layne Greenlee on April 18 for her 600th career punchout. Rose leads all active Valley pitchers with 600 strikeouts. Illinois State's Jordan Birch is the only other MVC pitcher with more than 500 strikeouts (570).
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 618-602-2, 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 17 bases on balls this season, the fewest walks per game ratio (0.82) in the Valley and entered the week fourth in the nation in fewest walks per seven innings.
Missouri State has three hitters with 17 or more walks this season. Only Creighton and SIU have as many hitters with as many walks. Stevie Pierce leads the Bears with 20 free passes, with Ashley Brentz and Lauren Eisenreich having 18 and 17 bases on balls, respectively. Pierce had 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
Two remaining Missouri State home softball games will be broadcast on radio and/or television this season.
2012 Broadcast schedule
Date - Opponent - Media Outlet
April 28 - Indiana St (game 1 only) - KBFL-am 1060
May 2 - Arkansas - KBFL-am 1060 & MediaCom TV
SEARCHING FOR A WINNING COMBINATION
Head Coach Holly Hesse has employed 35 different batting orders this season in 38 games. In the 32 games with a unique batting order, MSU is 16-16. In the six games that the same batting order was used twice, the Bears are 3-3.
The Missouri State offense has heated up with the official start of spring. 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, March 24 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.
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. She followed that up with another three RBI game against Bradley on April 6.