Softball Concludes Regular Season with Weekend Set at Bradley
 
In four games against Bradley last season, Ashley Brentz had seven hits.
 
In four games against Bradley last season, Ashley Brentz had seven hits.
 

May 3, 2013

Bradley Series NotesGet Acrobat Reader

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.

The Last Meeting
Bradley1
Missouri State4
May 10, 2012
Carbondale, Ill.
Bears Knock Out Bradley, 4-1, in the First Round of the MVC Tournament
The Missouri State softball team (25-25, 12-14) extended it MVC Tournament winning streak to five games with a 4-1 win over Bradley (21-30, 11-15) in the first round of the State Farm MVC Tournament


The Bears have won five of the last seven Valley games to catapult into the middle of the Valley standings. During that stretch, the Bears added two double-digit run outputs to raise the season total to 218 runs, tied for the third-highest single season in school history.

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.

QUICK HITS
- Senior Kirstin Cutter had three hits against Wichita State on Tuesday giving her a team-best 53 on the season. She leads all Valley players with 32 hits in conference play this year.

- 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
Video: Bradley will provide video streams of all three games this weekend. Visit the softball schedule page for links.
Audio: None.
Live Stats: Live stats will be provided by Bradley for the three-game set. For direct links, visit the softball schedule page at MissouriStateBears.com.
Social Media: In-game updates on Missouri State softball can be found via Twitter (@MSUSoftball).

ACROSS THE DIAMOND
Bradley Braves: After taking down then-No. 13 Arizona for their first win of the season, the Braves have struggledof late dropping 15 of their last 17 games, all but one of which have been against Valley foes. Junior Bailiegh Basham tops the BU squad with a .381 average and her .532 on-base percentage is the best in school history. In the circle, junior Madeline Lynch-Crumrine is in the top-5 in the league in ERA (3.06), wins (14), innings pitched (206), strikeouts (128) and tops the league in hit batters (23). Bradley took two-of-three during the regular season last year, but the Bears knocked the Braves out of the MVC Tournament with a 4-1 opening-round win.

600 AND COUNTING
Head Coach Holly Hesse won her 634th game at the helm of the softball Bears in a 8-2 win vs. UNI (March 16) to move into second in all-time wins by an MVC coach. With an overall record of 644-637-2, Hesse is trailing only current Illinois State coach Melinda Fischer (909 wins).

PENCILED IN AT LEADOFF
Senior shortstop Kirstin Cutter is a virtual lock to be penciled in at leadoff for the Bears. She has started all 48 games this season, the only Bear to do so, and has hit leadoff in 47 games. In her career, she has been the leadoff hitter in the Bears' starting lineup 117 times, the primary leadoff hitter in each of the last three seasons.

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
First baseman Stevie Pierce has muscled her way into the Missouri State records books with a phenomenal senior season. She hit her ninth home run of the season at Wichita State on Wednesday (April 24), the third-highest single season total in school history. It was also her 17th career long ball, sixth-most in program history, more than doubling her career total entering this season.

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
The Missouri State offense has put up some of the best number in team history. Entering the weekend, MSU is hitting .287 as a team, third-best average all-time. The Bears have crossed the plate 218 times, the third-best run output. Paced by Pierce's nine home runs, MSU has slammed 26 big flies on the year already, tied for the fifth-most in a single season.

A LEAGUE OF HER OWN
Missouri State senior Stevie Pierce was honored by the league as Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week on February 11. The accolade has been scarce for MSU players as the last MVC Player of the Week honor came in 2009 when Jessie Smith won the award on March 30.

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.

FREE BASES
Missouri State's leading walkers last season are back at it again in 2013. Senior Stevie Pierce tops the Bears with 18 walks this year and has racked up 81 career walks, third-most in program history. Juniors Heather Duckworth and Ashley Brentz are just behind Pierce with 16 free passes on the year.

Last season, Brentz and Pierce tied with 29 walks each, the fourth-best single season totals in school history.

POWER-BALL
The Bears have had plenty of pop in their bats to begin the season, smashing 26 home runs, tied for the fifth-best season total in school history. Senior Caitlin Chapin has hit four long balls this season, giving her 18 big flies for her career, tied-for fourth in program 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
The Missouri State offense got off to one of the best starts in school history. The Bears have crossed the plate 218 times already this season, the third-highest run output in school history.

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
Missouri State has 52 stolen bases this season, surpassing the total of 51 amassed in both 2012 and 2011. Senior Kirstin Cutter is 13-for-16 in steal attempts to lead the squad and ninth in the Valley.

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
Some of the Missouri State players have chalked up career best performances this season.

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
Some MSU hitters got their first base knocks over the opening weekend. Junior Ciara Flau had a big first game of the season, picking up two hits against Kennesaw State (Feb. 8), the first base hits of her career. One of her hits was a bases loaded single that drove in her first run.

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
The Bears were picked to finish sixth in the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference coaches' preseason poll. Defending tournament champion Illinois State and Southern Illinois are favored with defending regular season champs, UNI, slotted third. Creighton and Drake were also selected ahead of the Bears.

 

 

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