Sycamore Softball Set To Begin Second Half Of The Season At Illinois State Saturday
March 27, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
ISU SOFTBALL RELEASE
TERRE HAUTE, Ind.—After wrapping up the first half of their 2014 season, the Indiana State softball team will begin the second half of the season on the road against the Redbirds of Illinois State in a three-game series on Saturday and Sunday. The Sycamores enter the series with a 16-12 overall record and 1-4 in Missouri Valley Conference play while the Redbirds are 10-18 overall and 2-1 in MVC play. After playing their first five home games of the season, the Sycamores will once again hit the road for a four game road trip against the Redbirds and Hoosiers of Indiana on Tuesday, April 1. The Sycamores have been led this season by freshman Kassie Brown who is batting .422 on the season to lead the Missouri Valley Conference. Senior Morgan Allee also needs just two more stolen bases to break into the top 15 of the Missouri Valley Conference career record book, despite playing just one plus season as a Sycamore. Live stats for all three games, along with full box scores and recaps will be available online at GoSycamores.com. A free live radio broadcast will also be available online for the entire season at GoSycamores.com.
Last Time Out
The Indiana State softball team last saw the field on Mar. 21-22 when they dropped a three-game series at Price Field to the Shockers of Wichita State. The Sycamores fell 3-2 in game one of the series on Friday before falling 5-1 and 10-1 in the final two games. Junior Yvette Alvarez led the Sycamores over the week with a .556 batting average and hit her first career home run in a Sycamore uniform. Alvarez had five hits with two doubles and a home run in nine at bats for a 1.111 slugging percentage and a .556 on base percentage to lead the Sycamores.
A Little History — Illinois State
The Sycamores and Redbirds have previously met 88 times which is the most games played against any single oppenent. The Redbirds hold a 74-14 all-time series advantage over the Sycamores. The two teams first met during the 1980 season with the Redbirds defeating the Sycamores 4-1. Last season, the Redbirds swept the Sycamores in a three-game series, winning 12-4 in Normal, Ill. before defeating the Sycamores 6-1 and 5-3 in Terre Haute. This will be the first weekend series the two teams play since three-game series began in MVC play.
Scouting The Redbirds
The Redbirds enter the game with a 10-18 overall record and 2-1 in Missouri Valley Conference play, having last seen the field on Mar. 22 in a 3-1 loss to the Panthers of Northern Iowa. The Redbirds did, however, defeat the Panthers in the three-game series, sweeping a doubleheader 4-3 (8) and 9-4. The Redbirds are led this season by Kara Repp who is hitting .290 on the season. Jordan de los Reyes leads the Redbirds with 20 RBI’s and seven home runs this season. In the circle for Illinois State, Regan Romshek leads the pitching staff with a 2.69 ERA and 8-8 record with 114.1 inings pitched with 53 strikeouts.
Making Valley History
Despite playing just 78 games as a Sycamore, senior Morgan Allee is nearing a benchmark as she needs just two more stolen bases to break into the top 15 in career stolen bases in Missouri Valley Conference history. Allee currently sits in second place in ISU history with 58 stolen bases and just needs 10 more steals to break the ISU career record after setting the ISU single season record of 36 last season. Allee also fell just one short of setting the MVC single season record last season.
Moving On Up
Senior Morgan Allee is also closing in on other Sycamore records as she is currently second in on base percentage at .442, behind only Krista McFarren who held a .471 average from 1981-83. The senior is also fourth in career batting average at .340. Senior Shelby Wilson is also sixth in career RBI’s with 74, just 15 away from Katie Armour’s mark of 89 for the top spot. At the halfway point in the season, the team is also on pace to break the school record in batting average and on base percentage.
Finding Her Swing
Despite hitting just .189 in non-conference games this season, junior Megan Stone has found her swing for Missouri Valley Conference games. In the five Valley games the Sycamores have played, Stone holds a .400 batting average with three home runs, including a grand slam, and nine RBI’s for a 1.000 slugging percentage and a .444 on base percentage. On the season, Stone now has 14 RBI’s for the Sycamores.
Finding Her Swing Pt. II
After starting her Sycamore batting career 0-9 at the plate, junior Yvette Alvarez has begun to get more comfortable as she has since went 5-9 at the plate with two doubles and her first career home run against Southeast Missouri State on Mar. 19. In her last four games, Alvarez holds a .556 batting average and 1.111 slugging percentage to lead the Sycamores.
Not Afraid To Sacrifice
Freshman Rylee Holland as made an immediate impact for the Sycamores and been superb at advancing runners. In 27 games played, Holland has nine sacrifice bunts and two sacrifice flies to lead the Missouri Valley Conference and ranks 16th in NCAA Division 1. Holland also leads the MVC in runners advanced with 16. Sophomore Alexa Cavin is also fourth in the MVC in runners advanced with 13. As a team, the Sycamores have 37 sacrifice bunts to lead the MVC. Indiana State has also added six sacrifice flies.
Advancing Those Runners
Not only has the team been efficient at getting on base, they have also been able to advance runners already on base. The Sycamores lead the MVC in sacrifice bunts with 37 and lead the Valley in runners advanced with 102, 14 more than Wichita State who ranks second in the leage. Just as they did last season, the Sycamores also lead the MVC in stolen bases with 64 in 28 games, ranking them fiftth nationally.
Through their first 25 games of the season, the Indiana State softball team has been quick to get on the scoreboard. The Sycamores have scored first in 18 of their 28 games played. When scoring first, the Sycamores are 14-4 on the season. The Sycamores have also scored in the first inning 11 times and hold a perfect 11-0 record when doing so. The Sycamores have also been outstanding at holding teams to two or fewer runs as they have done so nine times and hold an 10-1 record when doing so.
Fielding It Clean
After finishing near the top of the league in fielding percentage last season, the Sycamores are once again doing a superb job of not beating themselves and are currently second in the MVC and 61st nationally in fielding percentage at .970. The Sycamores 25 errors is also the second fewest in the MVC to date. In addition, the Sycamores have also turned 12 double plays which ranks third in the MVC.
Stone Hits A Milestone
After hitting eight home runs during her sophomore campaign, junior Megan Stone hit a milestone on March 15 against Evansville as she cleared the bases with her first career grand slam. With no outs in the top of the fifth inning, Stone crushed a ball over the left field wall to tie the game 6-6 against the Purple Aces. It was also the first home run of the season for the junior.
Taylor Lockwood In MVC Player Of The Week
Sophomore Taylor Lockwood has gotten off to a hot start to her Sycamore career and for the second time this season, she has been named Missouri Valley Conference pitcher of the week. Over the five games at the USF-Under Armour Showcase, Lockwood held a 1.95 ERA with a 1-0 record in three appearances with one complete game over 14.1 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts. Lockwood also earned the honor after her outstanding performance at the Tiger Classic. Lockwood is the first Sycamore player to earn an MVC weekly award in 2014 and the first since Megan Stone was named player of the week on March 25, 2013. Lockwood is also the first Sycamore pitcher to earn Pitcher of the Week since Lindsey Beisser won the award twice during the 2012 season.
Playing Small Ball
Despite having the fewest extra base hits in the MVC through their 28 games played with 31, the Sycamores are averaging nearly eight hits a game and are second in the Missouri Valley Conference in batting average at .295 . While they have been superb at putting the ball in play, the Sycamores have also found other ways on base as they are third in the MVC in On Base Percentage at .380. The Sycamores also rank fifth in the MVC in walks and hit by pitch with 85 and 16, respectively. Three Sycamore players have also received double digit walks in Allee, Crissman and Stone.
Dominant In The Circle
The pitching staff has led the Sycamores through the early part of the 2014 season and currently holds a staff ERA of 3.37 which ranks third in the Missouri Valley Conference. Junior pitcher Yvette Alvarez ranks 7th in the MVC in ERA at 3.09 and ranks first in wins with nine. As a staff, the Sycamores also rank second in the MVC in saves.
Good Speed Aboard
Just as it was last season, speed is the name of the game for the Sycamores as they have 64 stolen bases in 28 games to rank first in the MVC and fifth nationally. Senior Morgan Allee leads the team with 22 stolen bases after finishing 2013 ninth in the NCAA with 36 stolen bases. On Feb. 22 against Dayton, Allee stole four bases for a team and career high. As a team the Sycamores stole nine bases against Quinnipiac on March 7. Now 25 games into the season, 13 different Sycamore players have stolen a base with freshmen Kassie Brown, Erika Crissman, Rylee Holland and Brooke Riemenschneider along with sophomores Kelsey Montgomery, Abbie Malchow and Alexa Cavin and juniors Aubre Carpenter and Megan Stone also stealing multiple bases for the Sycamores. The Sycamores also rank third in the NCAA in total stolen bases.
Getting On Base
After hitting .237 during her freshman campaign, sophomore Kelsey Montgomery has broken out in her sophomore season as she has led the Sycamores and the Missouri Valley Conference for the majority of the first part of the season and now holds a .390 average. At the second release of NCAA Statistics, her batting average also ranked her 39th in NCAA Division 1.
Scoring Those Runs
After scoring 121 runs in 28 games, the Sycamores are fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference in runs scored and sixth in runs scored per game at 4.32. The Sycamores are second in the MVC as they hold a .528 percentage of runners advanced. Sophomore Kelsey Montgomery leads the team with runners in scoring position as she holds a .455 batting average with 10 hits in 22 at bats with runners in scoring position. Freshman Erika Crissman also leads the team in success advancing runners with a .629 average with 22 advancements in 35 opportunities.
Inside The Park
For the second time in as many seasons, the Indiana State softball team has recorded an inside the park home run. On March 1 against Western Kentucky in the Hilltopper Classic, sophomore Alexa Cavin hit a ball to center field and sped around the bases for her first career home run, an inside the park home run. Last season, now senior, Morgan Allee hit an inside the park home run at Northern Iowa.
Lockwood Is Tiger Classic MVP
Sophomore Taylor Lockwood was a force to be dealt with in the Tiger Classic in Nashville, Tenn. on Feb. 22-23 when she pitched 13.2 scoreless innings en route to a 2-0 record while striking out 11 batters. For her efforts, Lockwood was named MVP of the tournament while freshman Erika Crissman and senior Morgan Allee each earned All-Tourmant honors.
Wilson & Allee Earn All-MVC Honors
After both received postseason recognition last season, seniors Shelby Wilson and Morgan Allee each earned 1st Team Preseason All-Missouri Valley Conference honors for the 2014 season. This marks the first time in school history that two players have received preseason honors. Last season, Wilson was named 1st Team All-MVC and 2nd Team All-Region while Allee was named 2nd Team All-MVC and Newcomer of the Year.
New Faces, New Team
While the name on the front of the jerseys is the same, the 2014 edition of the Indiana State softball team is much different than last season’s team. This years team has just eight returners who are joined by nine newcomers. New faces include: juniors pitcher Yvette Alvarez and infielder Aubre Carpenter, sophomore pitcher Taylor Lockwood, and freshmen outfielder Rylee Holland, utility player Leah Salmon, utility player Kassie Brown, outfielder Erika Crissman, catcher Brooke Riemenschneider, and catcher Madison Booe. Also new to the team this year is assistant coach Lucas Hileman who will work primarily with the outfielders and Sycamore hitters.
Follow ISU Softball Online
Keep up to date with Sycamore softball all over the web this season. Full stats, box scores and recaps will continue to be available on www.GoSycamores.com. Every home game along with the majority of road games can also be heard world wide free of charge online at GoSycamores.com and select home games will offer a free webcast. However, you can also follow the Sycamores on Facebook at Facebook.com/SycamoreSoftball with the Indiana State University Softball fan page or on Twitter at Twitter.com/IndStSoftball. Highlights and interviews will also be available at Youtube.com.
On To The Next One
Following the weekend series with Illinois State, the Indiana State softball team will take a break from Missouri Valley Conference play whent they travel to Bloomington, Ind. on Tuesday, April 1 for a single game, before hosting North Dakota in a doubleheader on April 3 at Price Field.