LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Missouri State senior first baseman Mary Stephens
has been selected as the Louisville Slugger NFCA National Player of the Week, the organization announced Tuesday afternoon.
Stephens, who was named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week on Monday, had a stellar opening weekend for the Bears. She led Missouri State in nearly every offensive category, going 9-13 and jacking three home runs with 11 RBI over five games in Ruston, La.
She enters the week ranked fifth nationally in home runs (3), sixth in slugging percentage (1.538), seventh in RBI (11) and ninth in batting average (.692).
"It's an honor to win the award," said Stephens. "I definitely couldn't have done it without my teammates getting their jobs done around me. I'm really excited to get back out there and compete with them this weekend."
In the Feb. 10 season opener against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, the native of Sachse, Texas, went a perfect 2-for-2 while racking up three RBI. In her first at-bat of the season, she blasted a single to center field, picking up two RBI and giving MSU a 5-0 lead over UAPB. Two innings later, Stephens brought in another RBI off a stand-up double deep into left field to help lead the Bears to an 8-0 victory.
Later in the day against Incarnate Word, Stephens went 2-for-2 again, lifting the ball out of the park both times. Her first home run of the season flew well over the left field fence and her second bomb cleared even further, bringing in four runs in the Bears 9-1 victory over the Cardinals. Stephens brought in the lone run against Samford, a 2016 NCAA Tournament team, sending a sacrifice fly deep into left field to bring in a runner on third.
The first Bear to score against host Louisiana Tech, Stephens recorded her ninth RBI of the weekend late in the seventh inning. Carrying over her offensive production into Sunday's game, Stephens racked up two RBI off a double and a solo home run, ending the weekend with a team-leading .692 batting average seven runs, nine hits, two doubles, 11 RBI, 20 total bases, three home runs, three walks, a .706 on-base percentage and a 1.538 slugging percentage. Stephens also leads the MVC in home runs, walks, RBI and total bases.
The Missouri State softball team returns to action next weekend at the Texas A&M Invitational, Feb. 17-19 in College Station, Texas. The Bears will play a single game against Stephen F. Austin, as well as a pair of games against both New Mexico and No. 19 Texas A&M.
For more information on the Missouri State softball team, visit www.missouristatebears.com
or follow @MSUSoftball.