Feb. 27, 2002
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Tiger Softball Travel to Plant City, Fla. for Strawberry Cup
The University of Missouri softball team takes it third and final trek to a warm-weather regular season tournament this weekend. Mizzou will play in the Strawberry Cup in Plant City, Fla., which begins on Friday and runs through Sunday. The Tigers are currently 6-8 on the season after going 3-3 last weekend at the NFCA Leadoff Classic. Mizzou continues to face some of the toughest competition in the country this weekend as they take on the likes of No. 25 South Carolina and No. 8 Michigan on Saturday, Central Michigan on Friday and Ohio and Michigan State on Sunday.
Miller Contributes to The Softball Coaches Bible
Tiger softball head coach Jay Miller is considered by many to be one of the best groomers of outstanding fast pitch softball pitchers in the world. However, in Miller's contribution to The Softball Coaches Bible, the new book published by the NFCA, Miller deals with what is another trademark of his program, an aggressive run-producing offense. The book features contributions from the best coaches in America dealing with everything from making a great power hitter to drawing more fans to the ball park.
The University of Missouri softball team went 3-3 this past weekend at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga...The Tigers picked up some quality wins including a 1-0 win over No. 25 UMASS and victories over UCONN and New Mexico...The Tiger pitching staff was excellent on the weekend registering a 0.66 ERA while allowing only 12 runs during the three-day event...Freshman Erin Kalka had a great tourney slating a perfect 0.00 ERA with 18 strike outs while allowing opponents to hit only .190 against her...Senior Heather Allister had her best offensive showing of the young season recording three doubles and eight total bases...Sophomore Rachael McGinnis also continued her tear hitting two home runs, a team-best 13 total bases,and a .765 slugging percentage...The Tigers are now 6-8 on the season and travel to the Strawberry Cup in Plant City, Fla. for the weekend...The Tigers open action with a double header against Central Michigan on Friday.
A Look at the Chippewas
Central Michigan definitely has a tough row to hoe this weekend. Besides facing the Tigers in a double-header on Friday, the Chippewas are scheduled to face four teams ranked in the USA Today/NFCA Top 25 poll - No. 8 Michigan, No. 25 South Carolina, No. 20 Florida Atlantic and No. 22 Mississippi State. The Chippewas are coached by Margo Yonker and trail the all-time series with Mizzou, 2-0.
A Look at the No. 25 Gamecocks
The 25th-ranked South Carolina softball team dropped two games to North Carolina (7-5) last Saturday as they lost game one 9-8 in 10 innings and 8-1 in the second game. USC is 9-5 heading into the Cup and has won four of their last six. The Gamecocks are coach by former Missouri head coach Joyce Compton. Compton compiled a 115-77 record at Mizzou between the years of 1982 and 1986 and the led the Tigers to a Big 8 Championship and WCWS appearance in 1982-83. The Gamecocks currently hold the advantage in the all-time series with Mizzou, 2-1.
A Look at the No. 8 Wolverines
The Wolverines are currently on a huge road swing. After defeating three straight teams ranked in the top 11 nationally to win the Silver Championship Bracket this past weekend at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga., the Wolverines open up play at the Plant City Tournament against 25th-ranked South Carolina on Friday at noon. Michigan will then travel back to the great state of Florida for the Florida State Seminole Classic next weekend. Coached by 18th year head coach Carol Hutchins, the Michigan-Missouri series is currently tied at two wins a piece.
A Look at the Spartans
The Michigan State softball team split its final two games in the Elon Tournament last Sunday. MSU defeated Elon, 2-1, in game one and fell to UNC-Greensboro by the same score in game two. The Spartans went 2-2 in the tournament and are 2-6 overall for the season. MSU is led offensively by sophomore first baseman Natalie Furrow, who is batting .429 with a double and 10 total bases. They are coached by Jacquie Joseph, who is in her ninth year. The Tigers lead the all-time series with the Spartans, 2-1.
A Look at the Bobcats
Ohio is off to a 3-2 start. They have not played a contest since Feb. 17 when the Bobcats split a pair of games with George Mason and UNC-Greensboro. They are coached by Roanna Brazier (a graduate of KU, just adding fueld to the fire), who is in her sixth year at Ohio. Mizzou holds a 2-0 strangle hold on the series with the Bobcats.
Last Time Out...
Tigers Go 2-0 in Final Day of NFCA Leadoff Classic
Mizzou finishes the Classic at 3-3, third place in Bronze Bracket
Columbus, Ga.-Today was the day that everything came together. The University of Missouri softball team used clutch hitting and outstanding pitching to grab wins over Connecticut and New Mexico in the final day of the NFCA Classic in Columbus, Ga. With the win, Mizzou laid claim to the consolation prize of the Bronze Bracket of the tournament finishing action in Georgia at 3-3.
Mizzou had an early beginning to their Sunday facing UCONN at 8 am EST. The Tigers would respond well to their induction into the Breakfast Club taking out the Huskies, 2-0. Junior Ingrid Werner and freshman Erin Kalka combined for a four-hit shutout in the Tigers fifth win of the season. Werner, who improved to 3-2 on the season, guided the Tigers through 4 2/3 innings giving up three hits and Kalka would come in and earn her first save of her career going 2 ½ innings striking out four.
The Tigers offense came in the fourth inning as senior Heather Allister recorded one of her two hits in the game, a one out single to center. Allister would advance to second on a passed ball and to third on a wild pitch before scoring on sophomore Rachael McGinnis' triple to right. McGinnis would go on to score later in the inning giving the Tigers the 2-0 lead and eventual win.
In the second game of the day, MU scored one run in four of the first five innings en route to a 4-0 win over the Lobos of New Mexico. Seven of the 10 Tigers that came to the plate recorded hits including junior Sara Vassmer and senior Erin Erickson, who recorded two hits a piece. Erin Kalka was excellent once again recording the complete game shutout scattering five hits while striking out four. Kalka and theTigers did make it interesting a couple of times during the game recording three errors and loading the bases in the second inning. However, the Tigers played sound defense in the clutch and squelched any comeback hopes of the Lobos.
The Arms Race
The MU softball pitching staff came into the season carrying some pretty heavy expectations and big shoes to fill. Graduated was 2001 staff ace Stephanie Falk (24-21, 1.29 ERA, 195 strikeouts) and in were two freshman hurlers with big-time credentials. After a rough opening eight games (3.10 staff ERA) the trio of Ingrid Werner, Erin Kalka and Veronica Flournoy are showing signs of being a quality staff.
The staff lowered its cumulative ERA from 3.10 heading into last weekend's Leadoff Classic to 2.02 going into the Strawberry Cup. Kalka and Werner were especially good. Kalka went 2-1 last weekend giving up no earned runs and only 16 hits in 22.0 innings of work. She struck out 18 and pitched two complete game shutouts while picking up the first save of her career. Werner's 1-2 weekend record doesn't do justice to her efforts. Werner made three appearances giving up only 10 hits in 17.2 innings of work.
This Just in From the Department of the Obvious
At risk of sounding like a complete moron, I would like to present the following note. The University of Missouri softball teams wins when it scores runs and loses when they struggle at the plate. First, the good news. Mizzou is averaging 5.2 runs per game and is limitling their opponents to 1.7 runs per game in contests that they win. Conversely, the Tigers are allowing opponents to score 4 runs per losing contest while plating only 1.65 runs per. Thanks for bearing with me on that one.
It Just Keeps on Getting Better Man
The Tigers have faced four ranked opponents and are 2-3 against those opponents. And the fun has just begun. Mizzou will face seven more opponents in 2002 that are currently either ranked in the top 25 or are recieving votes in the latest USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll, which was released on Wednesday.
If You Smell,
What the Rock,
Sophomore Rachael McGinnis, who head coach Jay Miller referred to as the "rock" of the Tigers line up has been all that and a bag of Wavy Lays (or really good in laymans terms) for Mizzou early in the season. The native of Overland Park, Kan., is off to an All-American like start recording a team-best .429 batting average on 18 hits, three doubles, two triples, two home runs and 18 total bases. McGinnis has also been solid in the field recording no errors in 52 attempts for a 1.000 fielding percentage.
A Feel-Good Kind of Fall
The Tigers were...well... perfect during their fall schedule. Mizzou recorded a sparkling 12-0 mark. Mizzou was outstanding at the plate hitting .356 at the plate while outscoring their opponents, 90-14. MU knocked the cover off of the ball recording an amazing .502 slugging percentage while collecting 158 total bases. The Tiger pitching staff was also very tough limiting opponents to a .156 batting average while registering a 0.76 cumulative ERA.
Junior Ingrid Werner, who is from Fremont, Calif., pitched only the seventh perfect game in Missouri softball history last Sunday against Rhode Island. The last perfect game by Missouri was on April 26, 1991, when Karen Snelgrove was perfect against UMKC. While Werner's pitching prowess was remarkable on Sunday, her fielding was the key to her perfecto. Of the 15 batters Werner faced, four of them grounded out to the pitcher, one of them lined out to the pitcher and Werner struck out one in the Tigers five-inning conquest over the Rams.
Missouri's official web site can be found at www.mutigers.com. The comprehensive site, which includes releases, photos, biographical sketches and audio broadcasts, is part of the FANSonly Network. FANSonly currently hosts sites for more than 100 universities, including eight Big 12 schools.
Tigers on the Radio
Tiger softball can be heard throughout the season on two different radio stations. KCOU 88.1 FM will kick off the coverage with the Mizzou Round Robin (Feb. 16-17), the Missouri Classic (Mar. 8-10) and the Missouri Invitational (Mar. 15-17). 1580 KTGR AM will then take the reins and cover the remainder of the Tigers schedule starting with the Tigers March 19 matchup with Connecticut.
All Tiger softball games can also be heard at the official web site of Missouri Athletics, www.mutigers.com. Once at the site, go to the softball page, click on the schedules and results section of the page, scroll down to the desired game link, and click on the live broadcast link.
Mizzou Softball Finds Success in Caribbean
Curacao, NA-With the 2002 softball season quickly approaching, the University of Missouri softball team had the opportunity to prepare in a very unique way. The Tigers traveled to the island of Curacao from Jan. 10-17 to train and compete with the Netherlands Antilles National Team. Curacao is an island located 50 miles north of Venezuela.
The Tigers finish action in the Caribbean at 3-1. MU came from behind in two of the wins. One run decided three of the four games in the series and two of Mizzou's wins came in the final inning of the game.
The Tigers played in front of large crowds throughout the trip. The team embraced the opportunity to experience a different culture and also developed a stronger sense of unity. Their hosts were warm, friendly people and treated them very well.
Tiger Softball Wraps Up 2002 Recruiting Class
Mizzou signs four of the top recruits in the state Missouri
Columbia, Mo.-University of Missouri softball coach Jay Miller announced the four members of the Tiger softball 2002 recruiting class on Wed., Nov. 21. Kendra Power (Kansas City, Mo.), Samantha Fleeman (Pleasant Hill, Mo.), Devon Francy (Pleasant Hill, Mo.) and Stephanie Standley (Lamar, Mo.) make up the class.
Power (2B/SS) will help sure up the Tiger middle infield for the 2002-03 season. A versatile player who can play both second base and short stop, Power was a member of the Park Hill South squad that reached the final four this fall in Class 4A. Power was named to the State All-Tournament team and also was a member of the "KC Lasers" summer traveling team that finished in the top 16 at the ASA Gold Nationals. Miller said that Power is a complete player and will make things happen in the Tiger line up.
Fleeman (P/1B) was considered by many to be the best pitcher in Missouri this year. She will also play first base for the Tigers. Fleeman was a vital member of two Pleasant Hill State Championship teams during her time at PHHS and set the Missouri high school record for strikeouts in a game with 44 in the State Final Championship game that lasted a record 21 innings this past fall. Fleeman was featured in the Nov. 19 issue of Sports Illustrated in recognition of her record, setting outing in the "Faces in the Crowd" section.
She sported a 22-0 record last season and allowed opponents to hit only 0.96 against her. For her efforts, she was selected to the Missouri All-State squad. Fleeman is also a member of the "KC Shockwaves" summer traveling team, that finished second in the nation at last summer's ASA National Tournament.
Francy (C/OF) was Fleeman's catcher at Pleasant Hill. She was one of the top hitters on the Pleasant Hill squad, which won two state championships and was a two-time all-state selection. Francy drove in the game-winning run in the 21st inning of the Missouri State Championship game, the same game in which her teammate, Fleeman set the single-game strikeout record. She was also a member of the "KC Shockwaves" summer traveling team.
Standley (OF/Middle Inf.) will also provide depth and versatility for the Tigers. Her ability to play multiple positions will be key for the Tigers as they look to solidify their lineup. She was named first team All-Big 8, all-district, all-sectional and all-state this past fall. She also is a pole vaulter and plays basketball at Lamar High School.
Three Tigers Named All-American Scholar Athletes
Columbia, Mo.-Three members of the 2001 Missouri Softball team were named All-American Scholar Athletes by the National Fast Pitch Softball Coaches Association on Tuesday. Karen Williams, Stephanie Falk and Ingrid Werner each were named for the second time in their careers.
Williams, who completed her eligibility with the 2001 season, was also named NFCA All-American following last season. She is only the second player in Missouri softball history to be named to both teams in the same season, the other being Karen Snelgrove in 1991. Williams led the Tigers in batting average (.429, the ninth-highest average in the nation last season) and stolen bases (24) in 2001.
Falk, who also completed her eligibility in 2001, was one of the most prolific pitchers in MU history. She holds the MU record for innings pitched (1006.1), games started (144) and appearances (176) and ranks second on the charts in strikeouts (865), complete games (117) and career wins (89).
Werner is the elder member of the 2002 pitching staff as a junior and looks to continue her success. She has been named to the NFCA Academic All-American squad each of her fist two years at MU. The native of Fremont, Calif., was also named Academic All-Big 12 and received Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors for week of February 22. She carried a 1.63 ERA through the Tigers fall season and 11 runs in 34.1 innings of work