Softball Bears to Face Top-Seeded Redbirds Friday in MVC Semifinal Round



No. 5 Missouri State Bears (27-23, 13-11 MVC)

at State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Softball Championship

Semifinal Round vs. No. 1 Illinois State (36-15, 21-5 MVC) - Friday, May 13 @ 12 p.m.Championship vs. TBA - Saturday, May 14 @ 12:07 p.m.
  • Site: Killian Stadium (1,200)
  • Location: Springfield, Mo.
  • Radio: KBFL FM 99.9
  • TV: MVC TV-Fox Sports Midwest (Championship Game)
  • Live Stats:
  • Live Video: MVC Live (Thursday and Friday)
  • Tickets:  (Tickets available at Killian Softball Stadium ticket window). All-Session Passes $20 adults, $10 students;  Single-day passes $10 adults, $5 students.

Tournament Overview

After posting victories over Bradley and UNI on day one of the 2011 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Softball Championship, the Missouri State Bears will be looking to advance to the title game Friday when they take on the league's regular-season champions, the Illinois State Redbirds in a noon contest at Killian Stadium.

The Bears got a pair of shutout wins from junior pitcher Natalie Rose to move into the semifinal round for the third time in the last four appearances in the tournament. With a win Friday, MSU would advance to their 10th championship game.


Tournament Quick Hits

-Missouri State advanced to the semifinal round of the MVC Tournament for the third time in its last four appearances in the Championship

-The Bears have eliminated Illinois State from the tournament three times in the last five years (2006, 2008, 2010) and bring a 7-6 overall mark against the Redbirds at the conference meet into Friday's semifinal matchup

-MSU is the fifth seed at the MVC Championship for the fifth time in the last 15 seasons and the seventh time overall, amassing a 14-11 record in that slot after its two wins Thursday; the 1997 Bears became the first Valley team to win the tournament title as the No. 5 seed

-Missouri State has amassed more wins (65) than any other Valley team at the MVC Championship; the Bears' five tourney titles are second only to Creighton's six championships over the 28-year history of the event

-The Bears have more two (10) and three-time (3) all-tourney honorees than any other MVC club; with a total of 39 MVC all-tournament selections, the Bears are the second-most decorated team (to Creighton's 45 citations) in terms of total individual honors

-In their four MVC Tournament experiences as host, the Bears are 14-6, including runner-up finishes in both 1984 and 1994; MSU has now advanced to at least the semifinal round in each of the four Championships is has hosted      

-Missouri State brings a combined 0-7 record on the season against the top three seeds into this year's tournament; the Bears are now 10-4 against the other four clubs that qualified for the Championship

-With wins over Bradley and UNI to kick-off the tournament, Missouri State took seven of eight games played this year against its first two opponents in the Championship; the Bears swept a three-game set from Bradley and took two of three from UNI during the regular season

-Head coach Holly Hesse needs just four more victories to become the fourth coach in Valley history to reach the 600 career win plateau

-Hesse's career total of 43 victories at the MVC Championship is higher than the total number of teams wins in the tournament for every other Valley club except Illinois State

-The Bears placed two players on the Valley's all-conference first team for the second straight year, as Natalie Rose and Kirstin Cutter earned MSU's 49th and 50th first-team honors on Wednesday

-MSU is batting just .190 (110-of 579) in losses this season

-Rose posted the 13th no-hitter in Missouri State history last Saturday against Evansville, marking just the second no-no this year in MVC play and the first overall in the Valley this season to go the full seven innings

-Rose led the MVC with five saves and 229 strikeouts during the regular season; the junior right-hander is fifth on the Bears' career strikeout list with 443 punchouts

-Rose has appeared in all 21 MSU home games this season, posting a 9-8 record and 1.40 ERA

-Rose established a Missouri State season record for starts, taking the circle as the Bears' starting pitcher for the 36th and 37th time in 2011 on Thursday; she surpassed the previous mark of 35, set by Kellie Becher in 1994

-Rose also tied the Bears' single-season mark for appearances by a pitcher, seeing action in her 46th and 47th games Thursday; with one more appearance, she would pass Nora Cagwin, who set the standard in 1997

-Rose needs to toss 12.0 more innings to match Terri Whitmarsh's Bears record for innings-pitched in a season, which she established in 1985 with 263.0 innings worked

-With her two victories Thursday, Rose became the first Bear pitcher to notch 20 wins in a season since Cagwin accomplished the feat in 1999; Rose currently is tied for fourth on MSU's single-season win chart and needs three more victories to catch Whitmarsh in third on the list

-Rose also improved to 5-3 with a 1.94 ERA in eight appearances at the MVC Championship, with three of those victories coming via shutouts

-Rose extended her streak of consecutive scoreless innings to 19.1, surpassing her previous career best by four full innings; she has allowed just one earned run over her last five appearances combined, a stretch of 31.0 innings

-Jenna Schwark extended her season-high hit streak to six games with her 1-for-3 performance vs. Bradley Thursday, but sustained what is believed to be a career-ending broken hand just prior to the Bears' quarterfinal game with UNI

-Ashley Knehans is batting .462 (6-for-13) on the season against left-handers and brings a .344 batting average and a .625 slugging percentage in 12 career games at the MVC Championship into Friday's semifinal

-Knehans hit .343 (24-of-70) in MVC play to rank 14th in the conference

-Left-handed batters are hitting .297 against MSU pitching; righty's are batting just .231, however; Rose has held opposing right-handers to a mere .191 (106-for-556) average this year

-The Bears have struggled with the bases loaded in 2011, registering just five hits in 37 at-bats with the sacks jammed

-Illinois State out-hit the Bears, .303 to .211 over their three-game series sweep, April 2-3 in Normal; the Redbirds hit five home runs in the series while the Bears recorded just one long ball

-Raeven Replogle hit .429 (3-for-7) against Redbird pitching in the two clubs' three-game set earlier this year







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