Tough Closing Stretch
Bradley plays nine of its final 12 Missouri Valley Conference games against teams in the top half of the league standings and the three teams Bradley faces at home have combined for a 79-41 (.658) overall record and even more impressive 33-10 (.767) league mark. In fact, four of Bradley’s remaining five opponents on the slate were ranked 82 or higher in the April 9 NCAA RPI report, with three of squads in the top 63.
Becca Changstrom tied a season-high with 11 strikeouts in game one of Creighton's series with UNI. That gives her 298 punchouts in her career, enough to push her from eighth to sixth in CU history. With 11 strikeouts this week, Changstrom can move to fifth place, passing current Missouri State head coach and former Bluejay student-athlete Holly Hesse's 308 form 1979-82.
Jordan Gronewold and Rebekah Schmidt are the only two pitchers Drake has used this season. Gronewold leads the Valley in innings pitched (172.1), starts (34) and appearances (36). Schmidt is second in appearances (31) and she is first in saves (7) and the freshman has pitched 89 innings in her first collegiate season.
The Evansville pitching staff leads the Valley by leaps and bounds with 13 intentional walks this season. With a team total of 85 base on balls on the year, approximately 15% of the Aces’ allowed walks have been intentional. Illinois State is the closest team behind the Aces, ranking second in the Valley with a total of three intentional walks this year.
Starting the Rally
Jhavon Hamilton was the clutch hitter for Illinois State Sunday in its 5-4 loss to Drake. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh and the Redbirds trailing 3-1, Hamilton belted her seventh homer of the season over the right field wall to tie the game, 3-3. In the ninth, Hamilton once again sparked a two-out rally, driving a pitch into center for a single, before later coming around to score in a single by Lizzie Andrews. Of her seven homers this season, four have come with two outs.
The Indiana State softball team has been superior in clutch situations as with a 2-1 extra inning win against Bradley the Sycamores are now 4-1 on the season in games decided by one run. The Sycamores also got their first extra inning win of the season on their third try.
Losing Streak Snapped
Saturday’s walk-off win against SIU was the first Missouri State win over the Salukis since the 2008 MVC Tournament and snapped a nine-game skid against SIU.
The Panthers have remained perfect in Missouri Valley Conference play improving to 14-0 in conference play after sneaking away with a come from behind win in the 7th inning in game 1 against Creighton. Hoping to remain undefeated in conference play the Panthers will travel to Peoria, Illinois on Wednesday for a double header followed by a three game home series with Missouri State.
Streaking at Shortstop
Senior co-captain Haley Gorman has been a steady force for the Salukis in the past four seasons. Gorman currently holds 175 consecutive starts in her career, all at shortstop. She has been a consistent hitter for the Salukis as well, holding a lifetime .324 batting average and has had an average above .300 in three of her four years. She currently holds a .352 batting average, third-best on the team, leads in doubles (11) and has one home run.
Katie Armagost and Sloan Anderson combined to give up only one run in Wichita State’s three game sweep of Evansville. The one run is the fewest runs the Shockers have allowed in a conference series since UNI managed to score one run in 2005.
State Farm MVC Player of the Week
Haley Gorman, Senior, Arcadia, Calif. - Southern Illinois
Senior Haley Gorman provided a lift for the Salukis as she went 9-for-17 (.529) with two double, four RBI, five runs scored, and 11 total bases. The Saluki shortstop had four hits in Saturday’s doubleheader split with Missouri State and had a hit in all five games last week, including four multi-hit performances. The Arcadia, Calif. native also had drew a walk while holding a .647 slugging percentage and .556 on-base percentage. Gorman has started every game for the Salukis this season and in her career holding 175 consecutive starts at shortstop.
State Farm MVC Pitcher of the Week
Lindsey Beisser, Senior, Pendleton, Ind. - Indiana State
Senior Lindsey Beisser wrapped up an outstanding week on the mound for the Sycamores as she finished with a 2-1 record and an .095 ERA over her 22.0 innings pitched. Beisser gave up just three earned runs while striking out 16 batters and opponents batted just .185 against her. On the season, Beisser has a 1.86 ERA with 139 strikeouts.
Other notable performances:
Brianne Joseph, Bradley
Joseph went 4-for-5 with a stolen base and an RBI in the rain-shortened series at Indiana State over the weekend. She was 1-for-2 with a stolen base in the opener as the Braves fell 2-1 in eight inning to the Sycamores. In the final game of Sunday’s doubleheader, Joseph was a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate and capped a four-run first inning with an RBI single to help the Braves to a 4-2 win. Joseph collected hits in each of her final four at bats against Indiana State’s Lindsey Beisser and she is now collected hits in five of her last seven at bats.
Hayley Nybo, Drake
Hayley Nybo was 4-for-10 at the plate with six hits including one home run, one run scored and two RBI in the four games last week. The freshman infielder is leading Drake in hitting with a .321 average, six home runs and 27 RBI along with a .554 slugging percentage.
Elizabeth Kay, Illinois State
Elizabeth Kay hit .357 for the week with a pair of doubles and two RBI to lead Illinois State. The junior third baseman also scored three times for the Redbirds and slugged .500 with seven total bases in 14 at bats. Kay hit safely in three of four games for ILS, with a 3-for-3 performance against Drake in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader. In that contest, the Bartlett, Ill., native doubled twice, scored three runs and drove in two more to lead Illinois State to a 7-0 win over the Bulldogs.
Shelby Wilson, Indiana State
Sophomore Shelby Wilson finished the week with a .444 average for the Sycamores, going 4-9 at the plate with two RBIs and four runs scored. Out of her four hits, she recorded two doubles and her first career home run against Bradley. Wilson finished the week with a slugging percentage of 1.000, on base percentage of .583 with two sacrifice bunts and a perfect fielding percentage.
Kirstin Cutter, Missouri State
Cutter hit a team-leading .429 last week in three games. She was pivotal to the Bears’ rally in the walk-off win against SIU in game two on Saturday. With two outs in the inning, she lined a single up the middle in a tie ball game. After a walk moved her to scoring position, she raced home on an Ashley Brentz double with the winning run.
Whitney Plein, UNI
Northern Iowa senior third-basemen Whitney Plein put together some impressive numbers after starting all three of the Panther’s games this week. Connecting for 5 hits in her 9 at bats Whitney had a pair of home runs and a triple that contributed to her 3 RBI on the week. Whitney finished the week with a 1.444 slugging % and a .600 on base %.
Melanie Jaegers, Wichita State
Melanie Jaegers hit .333 and had two RBI to lead Wichita State to a 3-2 record for the week including a three-game sweep of Evansville. The freshman from Mesquite, Texas had five hits in 15 at-bats including a double and a stolen base. Jaegers was equally impressive in the field committing no errors and recording 11 putouts, primarily at third base.
Mackenzie Camp, Bradley
Camp picked up her second straight victory, tossing a complete game, four-hitter against Indiana State Sunday to help Bradley salvage a split in the series with the Sycamores. She held Indiana State to a .174 batting average in her only appearance of the week and limited the Sycamores to one hit over the final four innings, retiring the final nine batters she faced in order to close out the victory.
Rebekah Schmidt, Drake
Freshman Rebekah Schmidt was 1-0 with a 1.31 ERA and one save in the four games last week. She pitched 10.2 innings and struck out 16, allowed just two earned runs and issued just four walks. The Cottage Grove, Minn. native is 5-6 with a 2.99 ERA on the season.
Jordan Birch, Illinois State
Jordan Birch finished 1-1 on the week, recording 23 strikeouts around just one walk in 18.0 innings. The senior righty moved into second place on Illinois State’s all-time strikeout list by fanning 12 Drake hitters in an 11-inning loss Sunday afternoon. The Monroe, Wash., native allowed just two runs on a pair of solo homers in a 3-2 win Saturday, the first two homers she has given up in Valley play this season. On Sunday, Birch went the distance, tossing a career-high 11 innings with 12 strikeouts and a walk in a 5-4 loss.
Chelsea Jones, Missouri State
Jones tossed a complete game victory against SIU in game two on Saturday. She scattered six hits while giving up just a single earned run in the win. Jones has been the pitcher of record in the last three MSU wins, all coming in game two of doubleheaders. For the week, she had a 0.81 ERA in 8.2 innings with a complete game to go 1-0.
Jamie Fisher, UNI
Sophomore pitcher Jamie Fisher took the circle against No. 9 Missouri late in the game on Wednesday afternoon. After 2.1 innings of work Fisher allowed no hits, no runs, and struck out 4 Tigers in the process. Sunday afternoon Jamie tossed a complete game against Creighton picking up her 15th win on the season improving to 15-1 on the season. Through her 7 innings Fisher allowed just 7 hits, 3 earned runs, and struck out 14 batters in the process.
Katie Bertelsen, Southern Illinois
Freshman Katie Bertelsen went 2-1 in action last week for the Salukis with wins over Saint Louis and Missouri State. She tossed a complete game in the 4-2 game one win over the Billikens and also earned the victory in the Dawgs 7-2 win over the Bears. The Alexis, Ill. native threw two strikeouts in 12.2 innings of work and held a 2.76 ERA.
Katie Armagost, Wichita State
Wichita State junior Katie Armagost earned two wins and threw 11.1 shutout innings in a weekend sweep of Evansville. The Wichita, Kan. native struck out six Evansville batters and allowed only one extra base hit. Pitching in pressure situations throughout both, 1-0, weekend victories, Armagost had an answer for every Evansville rally stranding runners in scoring position on numerous occasions.