April 21, 2009
The Big 12 leading Missouri softball team is down to its final midweek series of the campaign and will host Iowa State in a Wednesday, April 22, doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. (CT) on University Field. Fans are encouraged to come out and cheer on their Tigers as they look to extend their lead over Oklahoma (11-4) who stands second in the highly competitive Big 12 Conference. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for children.
Missouri's 10-2 record in the Big 12 marks the ninth time in 14 years that the Tigers have collected 10 or more conference wins in a single season. The most league victories a Missouri softball team has picked up since the creation of the Big 12 Conference in 1996 is 15, set in 1997. That same year, the Tigers captured the school's first Big 12 regular season title, followed by the first tournament title.
The midweek doubleheader marks the beginning of a six game homestand for Missouri. Following the series with Iowa State, Missouri will host No. 14 Oklahoma in a Saturday, Sunday Series and Nebraska on May 2-3. The last time Missouri closed out its regular season with six straight home games came in 1999. Missouri went 5-1 during the stretch, sweeping Texas A&M, and Nebraska and splitting with the Iowa State Cyclones on May 1.
Missouri continues to lead the league with its .337 overall batting average and 1.24 overall ERA. In Big 12 games alone, Oklahoma stands ahead of Missouri with a .324 average, to Missouri's .302. Baylor (1.25) and Nebraska (1.49) are No. 1 and No. 2 in Big 12 pitching, while Missouri rounds out the top three with its 1.94 ERA.
Four Missouri players own batting averages that rank among the top 10 in the Big 12. Sophomore Shana White, who is expected to return to action before the close of the regular season, leads with a .463 mark while teammate Marla Schweisberger falls just shy of White's average at .440. The 2008 Big 12 Freshman of the Year, Rhea Taylor, and two-time All-Midwest Region honoree Micaela Minner round out the top 10 at .420 and .368, respectively.
Holding Big 12 opponents to a .223 average, Missouri's pitching staff has combined to strikeout 69 batters in 79.1 innings. Senior right-handed pitcher Stacy Delaney
and freshman Kristin Nottelmann
have seen the most time in the circle. Both own a 5-1 record with Nottelmann having thrown just one-third more of an inning than Delaney. In her second year at Missouri, Delaney has struck out 41 Big 12 opponents in 33.1 innings, managing two solo shutouts and one combined shutout. Nottelmann, with a 1.65 ERA in league games has held her opponents to a .183 batting average, allowing only eight earned runs in 33.2 innings.
Iowa State enters the two-game series after splitting a weekend outing with Oklahoma State. The Cyclones have split three Big 12 series, the first with Texas Tech, followed by Nebraska and most recently OSU. At 3-9 in the Big 12, Iowa State is led offensively by Carleigh Berry who's notched a .313 overall batting average. Alex Johnson leads her teammates with a .446 slugging percentage that was boosted by her five home runs, eight doubles and a triple. Rachel Zabriskie serves as ISU's go-to pitcher with a 14-20 record and 2.41 ERA. Having thrown 232.0 innings, Zabriskie has struck out 189 batters and allowed 80 earned runs on 248 hits.
Missouri's Wednesday contests will be broadcast live on 88.1 FM, KCOU in Columbia. Additionally live stats will be provided through Missouri's website, www.mutigers.com, as will live video for a minimal fee.