Softball Team is Kansas-Bound for Vital DH at Wichita State Wednesday

Softball Team is Kansas-Bound for Vital DH at Wichita State Wednesday

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April 23, 2013

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The Missouri State softball team (16-26, 7-10) set out for a vital twin bill at Wichita State (16-24, 7-9) on Wednesday. The two squads are battling among four teams trying to earn three of the final spots in the MVC Tournament next month.

The doubleheader on Wednesday is the result of last week's twin bill being rescheduled due to weather. The Bears and Shockers will play the single game originally scheduled for this week, next Tuesday, April 30 at Killian Stadium at 6:00 p.m.

Senior first baseman Stevie Pierce continued her climb into the MSU record books over the weekend. She hit her eighth home run of the season, tying for the third-highest single season output. That home run against Evansville also doubled her career total entering the season and put her in a tie for sixth on the career list.

Pierce also became just the third player in school history to draw 80 walks in a career. She drew her 80th walk on Sunday against UE.

Junior catcher Stacia Boeckstiegel leads all regulars in hitting with a .341 average. She has hit safely in five on the last six games, all against conference opponents.

The Bears had a four-game winning streak in Wichita snapped last season with a 2-0 setback to the Shockers. The two teams have held their own when it comes to home field advantage in the series as WSU have won 23 of 38 in Wichita while the Bears have taken 26 of 36 games played in Springfield.

- First baseman Stevie Pierce continues to be lethal at the plate, especially with two outs. She drove in run number 31 last Saturday and has 16 RBI with two outs this season.

- Pierce drilled her eighth home run of the season on Saturday, just two shy of the single season record.

- Pierce picked up her 80th free pass as a Bear on Sunday. Only two other players in school history have drawn as many walks (Ashley Meredith, 132; Katie Martin, 88)

- Senior Kirstin Cutter had a great weekend series against Evansville, recording five hits, two walks, stole a base and scored twice.

- On Wednesday, Cutter will become just the 14th player in school history to play in 200 games as a Bear.

- Junior Stacia Boeckstiegel has hit safely in five of the last six games for the Bears, all versus conference foes.

Video: Wichita State will video stream both games of Wednesday's doubleheader. Visit the Missouri State softball schedule page and click the Watch Live link.
Audio: None
Live Stats: Live stats will be provided by WSU. For direct links, visit the softball schedule page at
Social Media: In-game updates on Missouri State softball can be found via Twitter (@MSUSoftball).

Wichita State Shockers: The Shockers have dropped six of their last eight games, all against MVC teams. As a team, the Shockers are hitting a league-worst .244. No WSU player is hitting above .300 with sophomore Melanie Jaegers leading the squad with a .283 average. Jaegers also leads the Shockers with 15 stolen bases, fifth-most in the MVC. In the circle, senior Katie Armagost has tossed a staff best 144 innings, but has just a 5-15 record and has issues a league-high 82 walks on the year. Junior Sloan Anderson has also tossed more than 100 innings and has earned 11 wins for the Shockers.

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 640-635-2, Hesse is trailing only current Illinois State coach Melinda Fischer (905 wins).

First baseman Stevie Pierce has muscled her way into the Missouri State records books with a phenomenal senior season. She hit her eighth home run of the season on Saturday (April 20), tying for the third-highest single season total in school history. It was also her 16th career long ball, tied for sixth in program history, 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 80th career walk on Sunday (April 21), only the third player ever to reach that plateau.

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 eight home runs, 31 runs batted in, 66 total bases and 17 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 (21), doubles (9), stolen bases (3) and total bases. She has a team-high 10 multi-RBI games and 16 of her runs batted in have come with two outs.

Missouri State's leading walkers last season are back at it again in 2013. Senior Stevie Pierce tops the Bears with 17 walks this year and has racked up 80 career walks, third-most in program history. Junior Heather Duckworth is just behind Pierce with 16 free passes on the year. Fellow junior Ashley Brentz has 12 bases on balls this season.

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

The Bears defense is second in the league with a .968 fielding percentage. Missouri State entered the week 48th in the nation in fielding percentage. Senior Pierce has a .995 career fielding percentage, fourth in school history.

Meyer Communications will broadcast one more regular season Missouri State softball games live from Killian Stadium with game one of Saturday's doubleheader against Creighton. All broadcasts can be heard on KBFL (1060 AM) in Springfield or via the web at

The Bears have had plenty of pop in their bats to begin the season, smashing 23 home runs. Senior Caitlin Chapin hit three long balls, one against Georgia Tech (Feb. 9) another against Butler (Feb. 10) and a no-doubter at SEMO (March 7), giving her 17 big flies for her career, fifth in program history.

Fellow senior Stevie Pierce has more than doubled up on Chapin by crushing eight 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).

The Missouri State offense got off to one of the best starts in school history. The Bears have crossed the plate 183 times already this season, the ninth-highest run output in school history.

Pierce tops the Bears with 31 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.

Missouri State has 46 stolen bases this season, nearly the total of 51 amassed in both 2012 and 2011. Senior Kirstin Cutter is 13-for-15 in steal attempts to lead the squad and seventh 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.

Some of the Missouri State players have chalked up career best performances already 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).

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).

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.

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.

Head coach Holly Hesse has commitments from six players to join the 2014 squad. Joining the Bears for the 2013-14 academic year are Allie Alvstad (Tulsa, Okla.), Elena Gambill (Broken Arrow, Okla.), Madison Jones (Overland Park, Kan.), Olivia Roark (Ottumwa, Iowa), Sheridon Sprague (Ballwin, Mo.) and Erin Struemph (Meta, Mo.).

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