Softball Concludes Regular Season with Weekend Set at Bradley
May 3, 2013
The Missouri State softball team (20-28, 11-11) travels to Peoria, Ill., to conclude the regular season with three games against Bradley (22-27, 7-15). It will be the Bears' final tune-up before heading to Omaha, Neb., next week for the MVC Tournament. MSU has clinched a spot in the Valley Tournament, but the Bears' seed is yet to be determined.
Senior shortstop Kirstin Cutter remains the only Bear to start every game this season. On Tuesday, she made her 200th career start and is currently tied for ninth all-time in games played. In Tuesday's game against the Shockers, Cutter became just the third MSU player to have 600 at-bats in a Bear uniform. Her 600th at-bat resulted in an RBI bunt single.
Pitcher Chelsea Jones has put together a solid stretch of innings. In the last week's worth of Valley games, Jones went 4-1, defeating Wichita State three times and downing the MVC-leading Creighton Bluejays. Her 13 wins on the season are the sixth-most by a Valley hurler and her 43 appearances trail only Drake's Jordan Gronewold's 46 this year.
Last season, the Bears split four games against Bradley. The Braves took two of the three games played in the regular season, but the Bears ended Bradley's MVC Tournament with an opening round 4-1 win. The all-time series is squarely in the Bears' hands at 49-26.
- On Tuesday, Cutter made her 200th start as a Bear. She has played in 205 games, tied for ninth-most in program history.
- Senior Stevie Pierce continues to put up team-leading numbers. On Wednesday at Tulsa, she doubled for the 10th time this season and drew her 18th walk of the year, both team-bests.
- Junior Stacia Boeckstiegel was hit by a pitch on Sunday, her ninth plunking of the year, one shy of the school record for a season (Brooke Kempker, 2007).
- Junior outfielder Kerri Cunningham has hit safely in five of the last six games and has a stolen base in three of the last four games.
- On Wednesday, Cunningham swiped the Bears' 52nd base of the season, the most since 2007.
- Pitcher Chelsea Jones is 4-1 in her last five MVC games. She picked up the win in all three victories over Wichita State and took down the MVC leaders, Creighton, in game two on Sunday.
FOLLOWING THE BEARS
ACROSS THE DIAMOND
600 AND COUNTING
PENCILED IN AT LEADOFF
On Tuesday (April 30), she started her 200th career game and has now played in 205 games, tied for the ninth-most of any player in school history. She also had her 600th at-bat in Tuesday's game against Wichita State, just the third player to have as many at-bats as a Bear.
PIERCING THE RECORD BOOKS
Pierce has also flashed the leather at first base. She holds a career .995 fielding percentage, fourth best in the program. She is also patient at the plate, drawing her 81st career walk on Wednesday (May 1), only the third player ever to reach that plateau.
BIG O NUMBERS
A LEAGUE OF HER OWN
She leads all Bears with nine home runs, 34 runs batted in, 72 total bases and 18 walks. Her walk against Illinois State on April 6, moved her into third all-time with 79 career free bases. Pierce has already set career highs in home runs, RBI, runs scored (24), doubles (10), stolen bases (3) and total bases. She has a team-high 11 multi-RBI games and 16 of her runs batted in have come with two outs.
Last season, Brentz and Pierce tied with 29 walks each, the fourth-best single season totals in school history.
Fellow senior Stevie Pierce has more than doubled up on Chapin by crushing nine long balls this season, a new career high for a season. Junior Stacia Boeckstiegel joined the bomb squad with her first career two-homer game at Memphis (March 12). Memphis was also kind to Heather Duckworth and Lauren Eisenreich. Eisenreich popped a grand slam to rally the Bears in game two against the Tigers. Duckworth then tacked on her second homer of the year in the first inning of game one against UMKC (March 19).
Freshman Mary Stephens got in on the party, with a birthday bash, two-run shot against Boise State (Feb. 15) and fellow frosh Bethany Sullinger hit a home run for her first career hit against Toledo (Feb. 23). Rebecca McPherson also made a big impact with her first dinger of the season, a three-run homer against UTSA (Feb. 17), snapping a season-opening slump.
In conference play, Eisenreich popped a two-run shot at Indiana State (March 23) her fifth-straight home run with at least one runner on base. In the series finale at Drake on March 30, McPherson and Braxton Coil each blasted two-run bombs. Coil's dinger was the first of her career. Duckworth continued to build on her career high with her third long ball of the season at Illinois State (April 6).
BIG BANG THEORY
Pierce tops the Bears with 34 runs batted in this year, more than any MSU player in all of 2012. She drove in at least one run in seven of the first eight games of the year.
Not to be outdone, Chapin had an RBI in each of the first six games of the season. It marks her career high for consecutive games with an RBI, besting a feat she attained from March 26 through April 2, 2010 of five consecutive games with an RBI.
STEALTHY ON THE BASES
The base running has been stellar for MSU as well. Twice on opening weekend, and again at Memphis (March 12), Bears' runners eluded the tag at the plate to score on bang-bang plays.
CAREER DAY 2013
There isn't much senior Stevie Pierce hasn't accomplished to date in her career. However, in the game at Chattanooga on February 24, she set career bests with three hits and three runs scored.
Shortstop Kirstin Cutter had a career high four hits against UNI in game two of the doubleheader (March 16). All told, she had five hits on the day and reached base in eight of her nine plate appearances in the twin bill.
Junior Heather Duckworth drove in four runs in gmae two at Illinois State on April 6. She became the second Bear with a four RBI game this season. Duckworth's other impressive plate performances include a three-hit outing against Iowa State (Feb. 16) and she scored three runs versus UTSA (Feb.17), both career-bests.
Fellow junior Stacia Boeckstiegel brought her A-game against ACC opponent Georgia Tech (Feb. 9). She pelted the left side of the field with her first multi-hit game, going 3-for-3 with two singles and a double, all to the left side. She continued to come up big at the plate with her first three-RBI game at Chattanooga on Feb. 24. Then at Memphis, Boeckstiegel jacked two home runs in game one and scored twice in each game of the twin bill, both career bests.
In the circle, sophomore pitcher Chelsea Jones fanned six Chanticleers in the season opener (Feb. 8), besting her five-strikeout performance from last season at EIU (March 22).
Ali Trickey crossed the plate twice against Kennesaw State on Friday, February 8. She had 11 runs scored in her freshman campaign, but the game at KSU was her first multi-run game.
Junior Kerri Cunningham had a break-out weekend at the UTSA Classic. She had a career-best two stolen bases against Boise State (Feb. 15). She also had her first career multi-RBI games, accomplishing the feat against Iowa State (Feb. 16) and UTSA (Feb. 17). Then on April 28, Cunningham scored three runs in the game two win over Creighton, the first three-run game of her career.
Rebecca McPherson's home run against UTSA (Feb. 17) not only ended a season-opening slump, but the three-run shot was a career best RBI performance. McPherson then had a career high two runs score at Memphis (March 12).
GETTING THAT FIRST HIT OUT OF THE WAY
Sophomore Ali Trickey also singled against Kennesaw State on opening day. She scored twice in that game as well, a career high.
It didn't take long for freshman Mary Stephens to get comfortable with collegiate softball. She laced a two-run single down the third base line in her first game against Coastal Carolina on Friday, February 8. She followed that up with her first two-hit performance against the Chanticleers on Saturday, February 9, including a double, her first extra-base hit. Then for Stephens' encore, she blasted her first career home run, a two-run shot, against Boise State on February 15.
Freshman Bethany Sullinger didn't take long to make an impact either. In her first career start against Toledo (Feb. 23), she laid down a perfect squeeze bunt for an RBI. In her next at-bat, she blasted a two-run home run the first of career hit.
Fellow freshman Braxton Coil became the second Bear this season to begin her career with an extra-base hit. Coil roped a double to right-center at SIU Edwardsville (March 13) for her first MSU base knock.
MVC PRESEASON POLL