A Look Into the Softball Record Book - Part One

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Since I'm somewhat of a stat geek, and with a little more than one-third of the regular season now behind us, I thought it'd be fun to take a look at the all-time softball record book for my first blog entry.  We've had plenty of players make their move into or up the all-time team rankings, while we also have a handful of players just outside the top 10 in numerous categories who could break through before the year ends.  With this first entry, we're just going to dive into the offensive side of the record book.  We'll evaluate the pitching and fielding side later this week.

Career Batting Average
The all-time career batting average has belonged to junior Rhea Taylor for some time now, and she maintains a firm hold on that title.  Taylor entered the year with a .403 career batting average, and that's where she currently sits.  This year, she's hitting exactly .400 in her 16 games.

However, there is a new face joining Taylor in this list.  Junior Marla Schweisberger has hit the 200 at bat minimum that is required, so her career .355 batting average puts her into second all-time, just slightly ahead of former Tiger slugger Michaela Minner's .352 career average.

Career Runs Scored
Taylor entered this season with 118 runs scored, good for 10th all-time here at Mizzou.  However, after being driven in 15 times so far this season, Taylor has jumped up to seventh-most runs ever with 133.  She sits just five behind Stacy Gemeinhardt for sixth place.  However, this is a record we want to keep an eye on.  Mary Babb, who played with Mizzou from 1994-97, scored 164 runs in her career, the most in school history.  Taylor has averaged 59 runs scored a season in her first two years as a Tiger, and with a similar output this season we'll see her coast past Babb's all-time record.  Sitting just 31 runs behind Babb, this is definitely a record that has a chance of falling this year.

Career Slugging Percentage
Once again, we're highlighting Mizzou leadoff hitter Rhea Taylor with this category.  The Buford, Ga., native entered the season slugging .504 in her career, ninth all-time at MU.  With four doubles and two home runs this season though, Taylor's slugging percentage has risen to .517, putting her alone in eighth place.

However, Marla Schweisberger is the one to watch for this list.  With only 200 career at-bats, she is 50 shy of the 250 needed to require for this top-10 list, but her career slugging percentage currently sits at .580.  As of now, that'd be fourth-best all-time.  Schweisberger will reach the minimum requirements later this year, so we'll check in then to see how she stacks up once she enters the list.

Career Stolen Bases
Not surprisingly, we're talking about Taylor again.  However, now we're talking about a record that will fall at any moment, and could happen as early as this weekend at the Demarini Invitational.  Taylor sits at 105 career stolen bases, second all-time, and just five behind Julie Link's program-leading 110.  Taylor entered the year in second with 93, and she swiped her 100th career base at the 2010 NFCA Leadoff Classic at the end of February.  With seven games this week, we could definitely be crowning a new all-time stolen base leader at Missouri.

Other Career Stats to Watch
-Career Hits: Rhea Taylor currently has 176.  There's a three-way tie for ninth all-time with 184.  Taylor should close on them within the next couple of weeks.
-Career Triples: Taylor has seven in her career, while five are tied for 10th at Mizzou with 10.  While no Tigers have recorded a triple this season, with Taylor's speed, you can't count her out.

Season Stats to Watch
While many of the season stats won't match up with the all-time list until we reach the end of the season, there's a few we can start keeping our eye on now.

-Batting Average: For the third time in as many years, Taylor is hitting around the .400 mark.  As a freshman she hit .402 and as a sophomore .404, good for fifth and fourth all-time, respectively.  This year she's sitting at an even .400.  We'll see if she can hit .400+ for the third time in her career as the season progresses.
-Slugging Percentage: Don't just assume that all Taylor does is hit singles.  If the season were to end today, her .650 slugging percentage would be the 10th highest in Mizzou history.  In just 16 games, Taylor has four doubles (her career high is nine) and two home runs (her career high is four).  Freshman Nicole Hudson has arguably the most power on the team, and she is currently slugging .647.  .650 is the magic mark to get into the top-10, so we'll keep an eye on her numbers are her first season moves along.  Currently, she has three doubles and a team-high four home runs.

So there you have it, the offensive side of the record book.  Later this week we'll look into the pitching side and see who is climbing the charts and who could be close to entering what lists.  With the team out to a red-hot start and ranked higher than they've ever been, we're sure to see this team break numerous records as the season progresses.  Check out the No. 3 ranked Tigers in action tomorrow in a doubleheader with Wichita State, beginning at 3 p.m. CT at University Field.

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