The pressure is on as each school has only seven Conference games left to play to help them secure their spot in the 2012 State Farm MVC Softball Championship. Currently UNI sits in first-place (17-2), Southern Illinois in second (14-5) and Creighton in third (13-6). This week's State Farm MVC Player and Pitcher of the Week are Allie VadeBoncouer of Southern Illinois and Jordan Birch of Illinois State, respectively.
BU Ends UNI Valley Win Streak
Bradley used a seven-run sixth inning to top league-leading Northern Iowa 9-3 Wednesday in the second game of a mid-week doubleheader at Laura Bradley Park. The loss was the first conference setback of the year for the Panthers and snapped an 18-game win streak for UNI in regular-season league games. Northern Iowa had won 17 of its previous 18 games overall heading into Wednesday’s doubleheader and was receiving votes in the latest USA Today/NFCA Top 25.
600, 601, 602
Creighton head coach Brent Vigness became the fifth coach in MVC history to win 600 games at one school with Saturday's 4-3 game one win vs. Evansville. He'll face the only two active coaches ahead of him, Melinda Fischer (872 wins at Illinois State) and Holly Hesse (619 wins at Missouri State) in the next two weekends. Fischer (393), Vigness (265) and Hesse (250) rank 1-2-3 in MVC history for league wins as well
The 602 wins by Vigness is more than any coach in Creighton history, regardless of sport.
Freshman Hayley Nybo (Minnetonka, Minn.) is having a nice start to her first season as a Bulldog. The Minnesota native is hitting a team-leading .317 and is tied for the team lead in home runs with seven and doubles with nine, she leads the team with 32 RBI and a .556 slugging percentage. Nybo is tied for fourth in the conference in doubles, fifth in RBI, tied for fifth in home runs and ninth in slugging percentage.
Do Or Die Time
The Aces’ five MVC losses this week drops them into tenth place in the Valley standings. Now a game and a half behind eighth place Indiana State, the Aces are faced with a tough task of fighting their way back in the standings to secure a bid to the MVC Tournament. A three-game series with both Drake and Indiana State and a single game against Southern Illinois represent the only Valley contests left on UE’s schedule.
As a team, Illinois State raised its team batting average by nine points in the Bradley series, as the Redbirds pounded out 37 hits in the three-game series. ILS tallied seven hits in the opener, before recording a season-high 15 base hits in both the second and third games of the set. Of the 37 hits, nine were for extra bases, as Illinois State homered four times, tripled three times and doubled twice. In that series, the Redbirds hit .363 as a team.
One Run Luck
The Indiana State softball team has been superior in clutch situations this season as, after a 7-6 win over Wichita State Sunday, the Sycamores improve to 5-1 in games decided by one run. The Sycamores are also 11-4 on the season when they have hit seven or more hits in a game.
Bears Extra Work
Sunday’s eight inning shutout win was the first extra inning shutout by the Bears since 2009 with a 4-0 nine-inning win over Tennessee Tech at the Frost Classic.
Record Win Number
With the game 2 win Saturday afternoon, the Panthers have now set a school record for most MVC wins in program history with 17. Previous best was 16 games which was set last season.
Hit Me One More Time
Not only has Allie VadeBoncouer been the Salukis go-to player in the past two weeks, she takes more hit-by-pitches than anyone else in the country. The sophomore catcher has been struck 23 times in 43 games, which leads all of Division I softball. In the past two weeks alone, she was hit by eight pitches.
Rachel Milnark has reached base in 13 consecutive games, one shy of Erin Carney’s team high 14 for the season.
State Farm MVC Player of the Week
Allie VadeBoncouer, Sophomore, Kankakee, Ill. - Southern Illinois
Allie VadeBoncouer went on a tear in action last week helping the Salukis to a 5-1 record against Evansville, Eastern Illinois and Drake. The sophomore catcher held a .529 batting average over six games going 9-for-17 with a double, home run, and 11 RBI. The righty from Kankakee, Ill. went 7-for-9 in mid week action against Evansville and Eastern Illinois including a 4-for-5 performance with five RBI in the doubleheader sweep of the Purple Aces. She also scored four runs, had 13 total bases, drew four walks, a sacrifice fly, and was hit by two pitches - a category she has led the nation in for the past week. VadeBoncouer held a .765 slugging percentage and .625 on-base percentage for the week as she started every game as the Salukis catcher.
State Farm MVC Pitcher of the Week
Jordan Birch, Senior, Monroe, Wash. - Illinois State
Jordan Birch was a perfect 3-0 on the week, winning all three of her starts with a complete-game shutout at Indiana State. Birch allowed just three earned runs in 24.0 innings and recorded 22 strikeouts around only two walks, while limiting opponents to a .141 batting average. The Monroe, Wash., native took a no-hitter into the seventh in Wednesday’s game against Indiana State, before allowing a leadoff single, the only hit of the game for the Sycamores. Against Bradley, Birch allowed just one run on four hits in a 4-1 win and tossed all 10 innings of the series finale, recording 11 strikeouts with just one walk in a 5-3, extra-inning victory. On the season, Birch is now 17-12 in the circle with a 1.70 ERA and 179 strikeouts around just 30 walks in 173.0 innings.
Other notable performances:
Alexis Cantu, Creighton
Alexis Cantu hit .417 while helping Creighton to a 4-1 week. She had a hit in every game and went 5-for-12 at the plate with a double and two homers, while also driving in three. She also walked four times and was hit once, giving her a .588 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage.
Amy Pierce, Drake
Pierce went 5-for-15 (.333) at the plate with one home run, one double, two RBI, four runs scored and two stolen bases in the five games played last week. She hit a game winning two-run home run Sunday in the win over Southern Illinois. On the season, Pierce is hitting .295 with one home run, 21 RBI, three triples and 16 stolen bases.
Katie Sears, Evansville
Sophomore Katie Sears hit .348 on the week, notching two triples and four RBI over the seven game stretch for the Aces. The sophomore posted a .375 on-base percentage for the week, tallying one walk and just one strikeout in 23 at-bats. Sears was carrying a seven-game hitting streak into Sunday’s series finale against Creighton, but the streak was snapped by a one-hit performance by Becca Changstrom.
Lizzie Andrews, Illinois State
Lizzie Andrews led Illinois State offensively with five extra-base hits in five games this week, including her first two triples of the season. Andrews finished the week 7-for-18 at the plate with a double, two triples, a homer and a pair of RBI. The Algonquin, Ill., native tallied 15 total bases in 18 at bats for an .833 slugging percentage. In game two of the series at Bradley, Andrews went 4-for-5 and was a double shy of hitting for the cycle.
Megan Stone, Indiana State
Megan Stone capped off an impressive week in her freshman campaign as she finished the week 7-17 for a .412 batting average. Stone also hit her first career home run on Saturday in the Sycamores game against Wichita State and also finished the week with a double and a .647 slugging percentage with an RBI and four runs scored. As the lead off hitter, Stone also got the inning started off with a hit, seven times over the course of the week for the Sycamores.
Ashley Brentz, Missouri State
Brentz was pivotal to the Bears’ victories this week. Her clutch RBI single in the third inning was the Bears’ lone hit off Wichita State’s Katie Armagost and drove in the only run of the game by either team. It was Brentz’s second game-winning hit in as many games for MSU. Then on Sunday, she led off the eighth inning of a scoreless game at UNI with a single up the middle. On the week, Brentz had two RBI, two runs scored, a double, a walk and two sacrifice bunts while hitting .250.
Sydney Stuever, Wichita State
Sydney Stuever continued her impressive freshman campaign at the plate delivering five extra base hits for Wichita State. The freshman from Andale Kan. had four doubles and a three-run home run in the seventh inning of the Shockers 5-1 victory over Missouri State. Stuever accumulated a stolen base, three runs, five RBI, and 12 total bases for the week and had a .706 slugging percentage.
Becca Changstrom, Creighton
Becca Changstrom went 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA in three complete game victories last week. She struck out 16 batters in 21 innings, while allowing just 12 hits and three earned runs. Changstrom’s 16 strikeouts moved her into fifth place in CU history with 314, passing Holly Hesse. Changstrom saved her best work for last, throwing a complete-game one-hitter vs. Evansville on Sunday that included six strikeouts.
Jordan Gronewold, Drake
Gronewold was 2-2 with a 3.73 ERA in five starts last week. She tossed two complete games and struck out 14 batters. The sophomore leads the MVC in starts (39), appearances (41) and innings pitched (193.0) and is third in the conference with 15 wins.
Sarah Patterson, Evansville
Junior Sarah Patterson went 1-2 on the week after getting tagged with a pair of tough one-run losses in Valley play while picking up a win against Saint Louis on April 19. Patterson scattered just five hits and notched six strikeouts as she held the Salukis scoreless through the first 6.1 innings of play in the first half of Tuesday’s doubleheader. She then came back to post a complete-game victory against Saint Louis, allowing six hits while fanning four Billiken batters.
Lindsey Beisser, Indiana State
Senior pitcher Lindsey Beisser finished off a marathon of a week for the Sycamores as she threw five complete games, finishing the week with a 3-2 record. In her 35 innings of work, 553 pitches thrown, Beisser allowed just nine earned run for a 1.80 ERA on the week while striking out 22 batters. In her two losses on the week, Beisser allowed a total of just three earned runs.
Natalie Rose, Missouri State
Rose capped off a phenomenal week with a one-hit eight inning road shutout of league-leading UNI on Sunday. She held the Panthers without a hit over the final seven innings for her fifth shutout of the season, second of the week. On Saturday, she held the Panthers off the scoreboard for eight innings as well, giving her 16 shutout innings of UNI for the weekend. Rose tossed a season-high 12-strikeout complete game shutout on Wednesday against Valley foe Wichita State in 1-0 victory. On Wednesday, Rose also reached the 600 career strikeout mark, making her the only active Valley pitcher with as many strikeouts. For the week, Rose threw three complete games, two shutouts and racked up 27 strikeouts over 25 innings pitched for a 1.12 ERA. Rose was the only Valley pitcher to throw two complete game shutouts this week.
Jamie Fisher, UNI
Completing the week with a 0.58 ERA after tossing a full 24 innings allowing just 11 hits while striking out 32 batters with 2 earned runs, Jamie Fisher has put together an impressive week in the circle. Jamie started the week out on a bright note tossing a full 7 innings with the Bradley Braves picking up the win after a 3 hit shutout that included 13 strikeouts. Opening the weekend in game 1 of a double header vs. Bradley Fisher held her own in a pitching dual with Missouri State’s Natalie Rose. Fisher threw a full 9 innings allowing just 2 hits, 1 earned run, and struck out 10 in the process while getting her second win on the week. Wrapping up the weekend, Fisher started game 3 of the Series with Missouri State, although picking up the loss Fisher played outstanding tossing into extra innings again. After 8 full innings of work Fisher put allowed just 6 hits, 1 earned run, and struck out 9 in the process.
Brittney Lang, Southern Illinois
Brittney Lang continued to impress in Valley play as she went 2-0 in wins over Evansville and Drake. Lang threw 14.1 innings for the Dawgs last week as she earned two complete games, including a shutout of Drake in a game two 13-0 run-rule win. Lang appeared in three games, allowing one earned run and two runs total. She held opposing batters to a .250 average and struck out 11. She improved to 9-4 overall (3.56 ERA) and 6-1 in the MVC (1.19 ERA).
Katie Armagost, Wichita State
Wichita State junior Katie Armagost had another impressive week for the Shockers throwing two complete games with a 2.10 ERA. Armagost got her lone win of the week in the Shockers 4-1 series opening victory at Indiana State. In 20 innings pitched for the week she allowed only six earned runs and had seven strikeouts.
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