Softball Travels to SLU on Wednesday

MUTIGERS.COM
MUTIGERS.COM

MUTIGERS.COM

April 19, 2011

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LEADING OFF
-Fresh off their big weekend sweep over then-No. 14 Oklahoma, Missouri makes the quick trip down I-70 for a midweek doubleheader against SLU.  Wednesday’s action gets started with game one at 3 p.m. CT.

-Missouri moved up a spot in each of the polls this week, jumping from 14th to 13th in the USA Today/NFCA Division I Top 25 rankings and from ninth to eighth according to USA Softball/ESPN.com

-The Tigers swept an exciting two-game set over then-No. 14 Oklahoma this past weekend, taking the first game by a 3-2 final in nine inning on a dramatic walkoff by an unlikely hero in Abby Vock before taking the finale 1-0 in 11 innings.  Nicole Hudson singled in Vock in the bottom of the 11th on Sunday, ending the three hour and 13 minute marathon game.  Chelsea Thomas threw all 20 innings over the course of the weekend, allowing just one earned run and striking out 34 - 17 in each game.

-Going against one of the top pitcher’s in the country in Keilani Ricketts, Hudson had a huge weekend, hitting .500 off the Sooner ace.  She went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in game one before going 3-for-6 with the game winning RBI in the finale.

-Princess Krebs earned Sunday’s start in left field, which proved to be a good move.  The sophomore started the day with a sacrifice bunt and then rallied off three straight singles, finishing the day 3-for-4 at the plate.

-Abby Vock was the most unlikely of heroes on Saturday, as her third home run of the year, a walkoff in the bottom of the ninht inning, gave the Tigers the 3-2 victory.  Her three home runs this season is the most she has ever hit in one season, as she now has five for her career.

-With her 44 strikeouts last week, Chelsea Thomas is now tied for sixth for most strikeouts in a single season at Missouri with 241.  She’s only 46 strikeouts away from breaking the record, set by Erin Kalka in 2004 with 286.  Thomas is now seventh all-time at Missouri for career strikeouts with 480.

-This year’s team has already jumped into the top-10 in three stat categories.  With 47 home runs on the season, the 2011 squad is tied for fifth all-time in program history.  Last year’s team hit 62, the third most in a single season.  They’ve also drawn the ninth-most walks in a year at Mizzou with 146 so far this season.  The 2010 squad set a new school record with 247 walks.  The pitching staff has recorded 351 strikeouts this season, eighth-most by a Missouri squad.  The 2004 team struck out 430.

-After starting the year in an 0-for-20 slump at the plate, Lisa Simmons has emerged as of late and has been one of the best bats in the lineup for the Tigers. Since that start, Simmons is 12-for-30, good enough for a .400 batting average over that span. She’s scored nine runs for the team and a career-best 12 RBI, while also providing spectacular defense in the outfield.

-The Tigers have 15 shutouts on the year, 12 of which came the month of March. They are walking just 1.36 batters per seven innings, the best in the conference. The staff’s .176 opponent batting average is second amongst Big 12 teams. The team is second in the league in strikeouts per seven innings, as they average 9.37, and is second in the conference with a 1.28 earned run average. The team’s 0.94 ERA during conference play is the best in the league.

SCOUTING SAINT LOUIS
Saint Louis comes into the midweek set sporting a 26-17 record on the season.  They are 10-4 at home this year and 9-5 in Atlantic 10 play.  They have won five of their last six, including four in a row after sweeping Evansville and St. Bonaventure last week.

As a team they are hitting .268 on the season, with four regulars batting over .300.  Jessica Buschjost leads the team with a .366 batting average.  Kristin Nicoletti is hitting .345 and is 20-for-24 in stolen bases.  They’ve only hit 12 home runs this year as a team, with Kristain Burger leading the team with five of those.

Hannah Huebbe and Kelcie Matesa split time in the circle, while the three-pitcher staff has posted a 2.99 team ERA this year.  Huebbe is 12-6 with 101 strikeouts to 78 walks and a 2.51 ERA, while Matesa’s ERA stands at 2.62 to go with her 10-5 record.  She has 116 strikeouts to 49 walks.

Missouri is 62-2 all time against the Billikens, and have won 15 straight.  Earlier this year they toppled SLU by a 12-0 final, with Kristin Nottelmann tossing a five inning no-hitter.

FOLLOW LIVE
Live stats and play-by-play will be available via GameTracker, found on the Softball schedule page at mutigers.com.  Fans can also follow @MIZLive on Twitter to get updates.

WHAT’S NEXT?
Missouri takes on the Nebraska Cornhuskers for the last time in the Big 12 this weekend.  Due to Easter Sunday, the first game will take place at 6 p.m. on Friday, with game two being played at 4 p.m. Saturday.

FOLLOW MIZZOU SOFTBALL ON TWITTER AND FACEBOOK
Tiger softball fans can follow along with the season through many of the program’s social media options. On Twitter, Mizzou fans can follow the entire athletic department at twitter.com/mutigersdotcom. Assistant Coach Pete D’Amour is also on Twitter at twitter.com/MizzouSBcoach. On Facebook, fans can search “University of Missouri Softball Team” to track down the team’s official page.

MIZZOU’S HOME WINNING STREAK LONGEST IN NATION
Missouri’s dramatic two-game sweep over Oklahoma last weekend was not only big for the Big 12 standings, but it also kept the nation’s longest home winning streak alive, as the Tigers pushed that streak to 32 straight games dating back to last season.  Here’s a look at the top-five.

1.    Missouri – 32
2.    Hofstra – 22
3.    Alabama – 20
4.    Texas A&M – 19
5.    Tulsa – 18

Playing at University Field has been a major advantage for the Tigers since head coach Ehren Earleywine took over in 2007. In 121 games played at home under Earleywine, the Tigers have won 104 of them for an .860 winning percentage on their home field. Of their 17 losses, 13 of them came in two combined seasons. In Earleywine’s first year the Tigers went 17-7 at home, and in 2009 they went 17-6. In 2008, Mizzou finished 22-1 at home while last year they went 31-3, winning their last 15 home games of the season. So far this year the Tigers are 17-0.

HUDSON, THOMAS SWEEP BIG 12 WEEKLY HONORS
For the first time since May 11, 2004, the Missouri softball team has swept the Big 12 Player and Pitcher of the Week honors, as announced Tuesday afternoon by the league office.  Sophomore Nicole Hudson has been named Player of the Week for the first time in her career, while redshirt sophomore Chelsea Thomas has been dubbed as the league’s Pitcher of the Week for the second straight week, fourth time this season and sixth time in her career.

Hudson helped lead the offense to a sweep over then-No. 14 Oklahoma this past weekend, as she went 5-for-10 against Sooner ace Keilani Ricketts, while doubling once and driving home two RBI.  After going 2-for-4 with an RBI on Saturday, Hudson drove in the lone run on Sunday, driving home the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the 11th inning.  She opened the week by going 3-for-4 with a three run home run at Northern Iowa, tying her for the team lead with nine homers this season.  After batting .571 for the week, Hudson raised her season batting average from .258 to .299.

Already named Big 12 Pitcher of the Week more times than any Tiger in program history, Thomas now becomes the first Missouri player to ever win a Big 12 weekly award in two consecutive weeks.  The redshirt sophomore pushed her record to 20-3 with a perfect 3-0 week in which she allowed just two earned runs while striking out an astounding 44 batters while walking only four in 24.0 innings pitched.  

TIGERS SWEEP SOONERS IN THRILLING SERIES
Facing a pivotal conference series against No. 14 Oklahoma, the Tigers came through with two huge wins to improve to 35-5 overall and 9-1 in the Big 12 Conference.  Missouri took game one by a 3-2 score in nine innings before winning the finale in front of 1,712 fans on Sunday, winning 1-0 in 11 innings.

It was an unlikely hero who delivered the game-winning, walk off home run for the Tigers in a 3-2 victory in the series opener on Saturday, as Abby Vock homered off Keilani Ricketts on a 3-2 pitch, sending it over the wall in left field for a walkoff home run.  

One day after a nine inning battle, the No. 9 Tigers and No. 14 Sooners were back at it as Missouri pulled out another dramatic victory, this one coming in the 11th inning. Nicole Hudson delivered a base hit back up the middle, scoring Saturday’s hero Abby Vock, as the Tigers completed their first sweep over the Sooners since 2006.  Redshirt sophomore Chelsea Thomas struck out 17 batters in both games.


 

 

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