Softball to Conclude Home Slate Wednesday vs. Arkansas
May 1, 2012
Game Notes vs. Arkansas
The Missouri State softball team (22-23, 10-13) will play the final home game of the season on Wednesday against Arkansas (25-24). The 5:00 p.m. single game marks the final nonconference game of the year.
The Bears defeated the Razorbacks last season in Fayetteville as Natalie Rose fired a one-hitter in a 2-1 victory. Lauren Eisenreich went 2-for-3 with an RBI in the game.
Missouri State completed the second Valley series win of the season and is assured of making the MVC Tournament. Rose tossed three complete games against the Sycamores and recorded a pair of 1-0 victories on Saturday.
Arkansas has beaten Valley schools four times this season, Wichita State once and Drake three times. The Razorbacks have dropped five of the last seven games since a four-game winning streak in mid-April.
- Senior Natalie Rose entered the week seventh in the nation in fewest walks allowed per game (0.92). She has 24 appearances this season with a walk.
- Four of the last seven starts by Rose has been complete game 1-0 shutout wins.
- Senior Raeven Replogle has 12 sacrifice bunts this season, second-most in the Valley.
- Sophomore Heather Duckworth has a team-leading ten doubles this season. That total is seventh in the league.
- Second baseman Ashley Brentz has 11 multi-hit games this season.
- Seniors Natalie Rose and Raeven Replogle will play their final game at Killian Stadium. The two were freshmen when Killian opened and the team has gone 34-42 at home since the March 6, 2009 opening.
- Athletic Trainer Robin Meeks will work her final home softball game on Wednesday after 24 seasons with MSU. She will retire this summer.
FOLLOWING THE BEARS
Video: MediaCom TV will be broadcast on a tape delay basis on Thursday and Saturday at 7:00 p.m. and Friday at 4:30 p.m. Bears All-Access will show the game live, visit MissouriStateBears.com/allaccess to subscribe
Audio: KBFL 1060-AM
GameTracker: GameTracker will be provided for all home Missouri State softball games including this Wednesday's game against Arkansas. Fans can follow along by clicking the GameTracker link on the softball schedule page at MissouriStateBears.com.
IN THE OTHER DUGOUT
Arkansas Razorbacks: The Razorbacks had a mediocre April after winning 11-straight in February and then dropping 10 in a row in March. Arkansas has had just two players start every game this season. Led by Devon Wallace's .352 average, UA only has three players hitting over .300. In the circle, Kimmy Beasley and Chelsea Cohen have shoulder a bulk of the pitching. Both have ERA's over 3.00. Last season, Arkansas was only able to register one hit off of MSU hurler Natalie Rose, a sixth inning double by Amanda Geile.
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 629 strikeouts. Illinois State's Jordan Birch is the only other MVC pitcher with more than 600 strikeouts (607).
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 621-606-2, 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 26 bases on balls this season, the fewest walks per game ratio (0.92) in the Valley and entered the week seventh in the nation in fewest walks per seven innings. She has appeared in 24 games in which she hasn't allowed a walk. Rose has had four different spans of at least three-straight games without a walk and had a season-high eight outing stretch from March 24 through April 3 without a base on balls.
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 and Ashley Brentz lead the Bears with 22 free passes each, with Lauren Eisenreich having 19 bases on balls. 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 ).
SEARCHING FOR A WINNING COMBINATION
Head Coach Holly Hesse has employed 40 different batting orders this season in 45 games. In the 35 games with a unique batting order, MSU is 17-18. In the 10 games that the same batting order was used twice, the Bears are 5-5.
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.