Senior Weekend on Tap as Softball Hosts Illinois State
Senior Heather Duckworth set a career-high by driving in four runs at Illinois State last season.
Senior Heather Duckworth set a career-high by driving in four runs at Illinois State last season.

April 25, 2014

Illinois State Series NotesGet Acrobat Reader

MSU Seniors: Stacia Boeckstiegel, Ashley Brentz, Rachel Brisker, Kerri Cunningham, Heather Duckworth, and Ciara Flau

The Last Meeting
Missouri State1  
Illinois State9(6)
April 7, 2013
Normal, Ill.
Softball Bears Drop Series Finale at Illinois State
The Missouri State softball team (15-20, 6-5) couldn't rebound from a rough first inning and eventually fell to Illinois State (17-15, 3-3) in the series finale in six innings, 9-1.

The Missouri State softball team (25-22, 8-12) will face the Illinois State Redbirds (21-24, 13-5) at Killian Stadium in a three-game series this Saturday and Sunday. The Bears will celebrate six seniors for their outstanding career contributions in between games of Saturday's doubleheader. Missouri State is currently tied for sixth in the MVC standings with just six regular season games remaining.

Freshman pitcher Erin Struemph tosssed her team-best ninth complete game of the season at No.15/17 Missouri on Wednesday. She held the potent Tigers' offense to just six hits. In Tuesday's doubleheader against league-leading Wichita State, she earned a win and combined to strike out 11 Shockers over 6.1 innings of work.

Fellow freshman Elena Gambill came through with clutch at-bats against the Shockers. In game one, she hit a walk-off RBI single to cap a Bears' 6-5 comeback win. In game two, she hit a RBI double in the bottom of the seventh with two outs after an eight-pitch full count at-bat. Gambill's double was the Bears' 60th of the year, tied for the fifth-most by a team in a single season.

Senior second baseman Ashley Brentz drew her 23rd walk of the season to lead off game one against Wichita State on Tuesday. She now has 74 career bases on balls, sixth-most in MSU history. Brentz is the only Bear to start and play in every game this season. She leads the team in hits (44), runs scored (31) and at-bats (139).

Last Saturday, senior Kerri Cunningham swiped her 22nd base of the season, tying her for the third-best single season in school history. It is the most stolen bases in a season since Amanda Bean swiped 23 in 2003.

First baseman Bethany Sullinger has burst into the MSU record books in just her sophomore season. She drove in her 36th run of the year in Sunday's win, the fifth-highest single season total. Of her 36 RBI, she has a league-leading total of 23 two-out RBI.

Missouri State has won at least one game against Illinois State in each of the last six seasons. The teams split a doubleheader in Normal, Ill., last season to open the series. Heather Duckworth drove in a career-high four runs in the win. Illinois State took the finale and upped its all-time series lead to 64-35.

  - Freshman Erin Struemph's 11 strikeouts at UNI on Saturday were the most in a single game by any MVC pitcher this season. She added 11 more in the doubleheader against the Shockers and is second in the Valley with 124 this season.
  - Senior Ashley Brentz drew her 74th career walk on Tuesday versus Wichita State, the sixth-most in MSU history.
  - Junior pitcher Chelsea Jones has only walked 18 batters in 106.2 innings on the season. She entered the week ranked 32nd in the nation with just 1.25 walks allowed per seven innings.
  - On Tuesday, Jones became the third different Bear to home in back-to-back games this season. She hit a home run at UNI in last Sunday's finale in Cedar Falls.
  - Senior Heather Duckworth had three hits, two walks and scored twice in the DH versus Wichita State. She has consistently had fabulous seasons for the Bears nearing the top-five in doubles and assists for her career.

    Illinois State Redbirds: The Redbirds enter this weekend riding a five-game win streak, all against MVC foes. ISU has had quite the turnaraound since Valley play began. The Redbirds are 13-5 in the MVC after going just 8-19 against non-conference opponents. Sophomore pitcher Regan Romshek brings to town the second-lowest ERA at 2.83 and has tossed nearly two-thirds of the ISU innings with 183.1. Freshman Jordan de los Reyes paces the Redbird offense with a .328 average and 10 home runs. Last week, Illinois State won its 1,000th game as a Division I program. Head coach Melinda Fischer has been at the helm for an MVC-most 930 victories.

Head Coach Holly Hesse is second in all-time wins by an MVC coach with 671. 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 (930 wins).

Missouri State softball will be broadcast on radio and television again in 2014. One remaining Bears' home game can be heard on KBFL 1060 AM and All home games can be seen online via Bears All-Access, a subscription-based service through

Remaining 2014 Broadcast Schedule
Saturday, April 26 vs. Illinois State (G1) [KBFL]

Freshman pitcher Erin Struemph has been a tremendous addition to the Bears' pitching staff. She has 10 wins and is sixth in the MVC with a 3.32 ERA. She has completed nine of her 18 starts on the year, three of which have been shutouts, and has earned three saves.

Struemph struck out an MVC-best 11 in last Saturday's win at UNI. She is leads the Valley in batting average against with two outs (.211), is second in strikeouts per game (6.85) and third in overall opponent's batting average (.246). Her batting average against with runners on base (.247) is fifth-best in the league. On the season, she has struck out at least one batter in 28 of 34 outings, including two appearances of just 0.2 innings.

Senior Kerri Cunningham successfully stole her 22nd base of the year on April 19 at UNI. The speedy centerfielder is inching closer to the record books as her 22 steal total is tied for the 3rd-most steals in a season. Her 22 steals are also the most since Amanda Bean had 23 in 2003.

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 14 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.

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.

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.

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 19 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).

The Bears hit a pair of long balls in the series finale against Indiana State (April 13). Duewel went deep to pull the Bears within a run and Chelsea Jones put an insurance run on the board with her second dinger of the year. Jones also went yard in the finale at UNI (April 19) and again on April 22 versus Wichita State.

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.

Head coach Holly Hesse has commitments from five players to join the 2015 squad. Joining the Bears for the 2014-15 academic year are Kaitlin Beason (Webb City, Mo.), Molly Fields (Breese, Ill.), Chelsea Thomas (McKinney, Texas), Erika Velasquez Zimmer (Coppell, Texas) and Hailee Vigneaux (Nixa, Mo.).



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