No. 13 Mizzou Faces SIU on Wednesday
COLUMBIA - No. 17/13 Missouri puts their 13-game winning streak on the line with a midweek matchup against the Southern Illinois Salukis this Wednesday, March 16, at 3 p.m. CT at University Field. The 13-game winning streak is the longest active winning streak amongst Big 12 teams.
After starting the year 1-2, Mizzou has won 13 straight and 15 of their last 16 to improve to 16-3 on the year. Missouri toppled Arkansas last Wednesday, run-ruling the Razorbacks by a 12-0 final in five innings. Ashley Fleming homered and drove in a career best five RBI, while Chelsea Thomas won her fourth straight game after giving up just two hits and striking out 10 in four innings. Thomas struck out the last eight batters she faced.
The Tigers went 4-0 at the DeMarini Invitational, sweeping both Illinois State and Illinois last weekend. Missouri won three of the four games by run-rule, and outscored their cross-state opponents by a 32-3 margin. Jenna Marston and Ashley Fleming each hit over .500, with each ripping three doubles. Nicole Hudson hit her team-leading fourth home run of the season, while Maddison Ruggeberg hit her third and Lisa Simmons and Megan Christopher each hit their first. Catherine Lee returned from a week off due to injury and hit .444 on the weekend with a pair of bombs and seven RBI.
Six of the team's last eight wins have come by the mercy rule. In the month of March, the Tigers have outscored their opponents 88-4. The staff has thrown nine shutouts, and Mizzou is averaging eight runs a game this month after averaging 3.88 in the month of February.
Thomas and Nottelmann have been absolutely lights out this year. After starting 0-2, Thomas is now 6-2 with a 0.41 ERA. She has 84 strikeouts and just six walks with a .118 opponent batting average. She collected her first career save in Mizzou's 4-3 win over the Illini on Saturday. She has not allowed a run in her last 37.2 innings pitched. Nottelmann is a perfect 8-0 with a save and a 1.09 ERA. She has 48 strikeouts to only eight walks while limiting opponents to a .155 batting average. As a team, the Tigers boast the second best ERA in the Big 12 with a 1.28, trailing Baylor's team ERA of 1.13. Thomas' ERA is best in the league, while Nottelmann's is fourth.
Fleming has been the Tigers' best hitter this year, as she currently has the second best batting average in the Big 12 (.469), along with a team best 18 RBI and tied for second on the team with three home runs. She's walked 11 times to only six strikeouts, and has stolen eight bases in as many attempts.
Abby Vock went 2-for-4 over the weekend, raising her average to .364, fourth best on the team. After struggling at the plate for much of her career, Vock is putting together a solid season with the bat to go with her outstanding glove. She also raised her on base percentage to .523, which is second best on the squad, after being hit by pitch four times last weekend and drawing two walks. This season, Vock has been hit by pitch six times and walked five times while only striking out on three occasions.
Freshman Taylor Duplechain made her collegiate debut this past weekend after sitting out the first month due to injury. In her third career at bat, Duplechain slapped a liner into left field, scoring the game winning run in Missouri's 8-0 win over Illinois on Sunday for her first career hit and RBI.
SCOUTING SOUTHERN ILLINOIS
The Southern Illinois Salukis are currently 13-8 on the season, and are 3-5 in their last eight games. The Salukis started the season with a 2-2 showing at the Houston Hilton Plaza Invitational, beating Ohio and Stephen F. Austin and losing to Michigan and Houston. They followed that up with a 3-1 showing at the Bulldog Round-Robin in Starkville, Miss., and then went 5-0 at Moe's Blue and Green Invite in Ft. Myers, Fla. They dropped three of four last weekend at the Saluki Invite, splitting with Illinois-Chicago and dropping two to DePaul.
As a team, SIU is hitting .259 with 14 home runs, 20 doubles and four triples. Cristina Trapani and Taylor Orsburn lead the offense, with each hitting over .350. Trapani has three home runs and 17 RBI, while Orsburn has four home runs and 18 RBI. The team has struggled in the circle, with three pitchers combining for a 5.18 ERA. Danielle Glosson is the team's top pitcher, as she's 8-4 with a 3.29 ERA. She has 71 strikeouts to 32 walks and limits opponents to a .210 average.
Each game will have live stats and play-by-play through GameTracker. Links to each game's GameTracker can be found at mutigers.com.
Missouri hosts North Dakota State, Western Michigan and Minnesota for the Wilson Classic at University Field. Action starts on Friday, March 18.
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.
TAYLOR BREAKS SCHOOL HITS RECORD, BIG 12 STOLEN BASE RECORD
Senior Rhea Taylor has rewritten the record books again week, as she set a new school record for hits in a career and broke the Big 12's career stolen base mark. Taylor picked up three hits in a doubleheader against Drake, moving her within two of tying Mary Babb's 14 year old record of 262. Over the weekend, Taylor moved ahead of Babb with six hits in four games. The record-breaking hit came in her final at-bat against SLU, as she roped a triple to right-center field to put herself on top of the record book once again.
She also went 5-for-5 in stolen bases at the Missouri Breast Cancer Awareness Tournament, tying her for the most stolen bases in Big 12 history. She broke Texas A&M's Sharonda McDonald mark of 153 stolen bases, who set the record in 2007, with a stolen base in the first inning against Arkansas on Wednesday.
Here's a look at what records she's tracking down this season:
-Batting Average: Already the all-time leader at Mizzou with a .418 career batting average, a record that is theoretically impossible for give relinquish before the end of the season (Jenna Marston is second all-time at .359, two others are tied for third all-time at .352), Taylor should also graduate as the Big 12 Conference's record holder as well. She currently holds that mark, ahead of former Husker Ali Viola, who hit .409 from 1996-98.
-Hits: Taylor is now tied for sixth all-time amongst Big 12 hitters with 270 hits. If she matches her three season average of 82 hits a year, she would find herself tied with Norrelle Dickson of Oklahoma, the conference's all-time hits leader at 328.
-Runs: Entering the season as Missouri all-time runs leader and eighth in the conference, Taylor is expected to flirt with the Big 12's all-time record as well. Dickson, who played for OU from 2004-07 and also holds the league's hits record, is the current record holder at 234. Taylor scored twice this past weekend, giving her 201 for her career and bumping her up to fourth all-time in the Big 12. If she matches her yearly average of 61 runs, she'll find herself ahead of Dickson with 244 career runs scored.
EARLEYWINE BREAKS 200 WINS MARK
With Missouri's win against Illinois State on Saturday, head coach Ehren Earleywine has become the second head coach in Missouri history to surpass the 200 win mark as a Tiger. Already the second winningest coach in Tiger history behind Jay Miller (556 wins in 15 seasons), Earleywine has the highest winning percentage for a Missouri head coach at .747, ahead of Barb Wright, who went 91-32 (.740) in two seasons for the Tigers, and Miller, who had a .643 winning percentage at Mizzou. Earleywine entered the season as the 14th winningest active coach in NCAA Division I softball with a career winning percentage of .734.
TIGERS SWEEP DEMARINI INVITE
The Missouri Tigers finished the DeMarini Invitational with a perfect 4-0 record, as they swept two games against both Illinois and Illinois State, winning three of the four games by run-rule. On Saturday, the team hit three home runs to run-rule Illinois State and rallied past the Illinois Fighting Illini on the first day of the DeMarini Invitational on Saturday. Missouri blew past the Redbirds in five innings, winning by a 9-0 score, and then rallied back against Illinois, winning 4-2. Illinois held a 2-0 lead on Mizzou before the Tigers came back.
On Sunday, a pair of solid pitching performances plus a day of high powered offense lifted the No. 14 Missouri softball team to a pair of run-rule victories on the last day of the DeMarini Invitational. The Tigers opened the afternoon with a 10-0 win in five innings over Illinois State and followed that up with an 8-0 win in six innings over Illinois. Missouri's 18 runs on the day came on 23 combined hits, while the Tiger pitchers held their opponents to just three hits overall.