April 27, 2012
Indiana State Series Notes
It's Senior Weekend as the Missouri State softball team (20-22, 8-12) hosts Indiana State (18-29, 5-15) for the final home Valley series of the season. The Bears have dominated the Sycamores with an overall 50-18 record against ISU. MSU has taken nine straight from Indiana State dating back to 2008.
The Bears dropped a single game at Wichita State on Wednesday despite a two-hit complete game by senior Natalie Rose. Ashley Brentz had a single and a walk in the game and leads MSU with a .323 batting average.
Indiana State comes in having dropped their last three games, two by run-rule. The Sycamores lost both games of a doubleheader on Wednesday at Wisconsin after losing to Illinois State on Tuesday. ISU has given up 32 runs in the last four games.
- Senior Natalie Rose entered the week ninth in the nation in fewest walks allowed per game (1.03). Rose then went out and pitched six innings against Wichita State on Wednesday without issuing a free pass.
- Senior Raeven Replogle has 12 sacrifice bunts this season, second-most in the Valley.
- Rose was the only Valley pitcher to throw two complete game shutouts last week (4/18, 1-0 vs. Wichita State; 4/22, 1-0 [8 innings] at UNI).
- Sophomore Heather Duckworth has a team-leading ten doubles this season. That total is fifth in the league.
- Second baseman Ashley Brentz has hit safely in 15 of the last 19 games.
- Sunday's 1-0 eight-inning win at UNI was the first extra inning shutout since a 4-0 nine-inning victory over Tennessee Tech in 2009.
- Missouri State has won the last nine games against Indiana State.
FOLLOWING THE BEARS
Video: Bears All-Access, visit MissouriStateBears.com/allaccess to subscribe
Audio: KBFL 1060-AM will broadcast game one of Saturday's doubleheader
GameTracker: GameTracker will be provided for all home Missouri State softball games including this weekend's three-game series against Indiana State. Fans can follow along by clicking the GameTracker link on the softball schedule page at MissouriStateBears.com.
IN THE OTHER DUGOUT
Indiana State Sycamores: The Sycamores have endured a roller coaster ride this season en route to an 18-29 record. After an eight-game winning streak in early March, Indiana State spiraled to 11-consecutive losses. ISU comes into the series with a three-game skid and nine-straight losses to Missouri State. Pitcher Lindsey Beisser leads the Sycamore staff with a 2.05 ERA. She has been named the MVC Pitcher of the Week twice this season. Offensively, Megan Stone is ISU's leading hitter with a .351 batting average, among the leaders in the MVC.
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 615 strikeouts. Illinois State's Jordan Birch is the only other MVC pitcher with more than 500 strikeouts (594).
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 619-605-2, 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 25 bases on balls this season, the fewest walks per game ratio (0.99) in the Valley and entered the week ninth in the nation in fewest walks per seven innings.
Missouri State has three hitters with 19 or more walks this season. Only Creighton and SIU have as many hitters with as many walks. Stevie Pierce leads the Bears with 22 free passes, with Ashley Brentz and Lauren Eisenreich having 20 and 19 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 38 different batting orders this season in 42 games. In the 34 games with a unique batting order, MSU is 16-18. In the eight games that the same batting order was used twice, the Bears are 4-4.
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.
The Bears are slated to play 11 games against teams from power conferences or 2011 NCAA Tournament participants. Thus far MSU has victories over Memphis, Iowa State, Illinois State and Kansas. The Bears have played Big 12 foes well, suffering tough losses to then-No. 13 Missouri, Iowa State, Kansas and Tulsa, in extra innings. In all the Bears will play 11 games against feisty foes from the Big 12, SEC or a 2011 NCAA Tournament team (Memphis, 1; Missouri, 1; Iowa State, 2; Illinois State, 3; Kansas, 2; Tulsa, 1; Arkansas, 1). The first seven games at Killian Stadium were against Big 12 opponents or 2011 NCAA Tournament participants.