ISU (15-13, 2-1 MVC) opened conference play last weekend at Missouri
State, taking two of three from the Bears at Killian Stadium in
Springfield, Mo. Illinois State took both games of Friday night's
doubleheader, giving head coach Melinda Fischer her 900th career
win, before falling to MSU in Saturday's series finale. Sophomore
Laura Canopy earned MVC Player of the Week honors after leading the
Redbirds with six hits in nine at-bats, including a double and four
RBIs. Senior Jordan Birch led Illinois State in the circle, tossing
a two-hit shutout in the opener. Birch leads the Redbirds and ranks
fourth in the Valley with a 2.33 ERA and 85 strikeouts.
happy with the results last weekend," Fischer said. "I thought we
played very well on Friday and came out strong on Saturday, but
could not continue the scoring throughout the ballgame. I thought
(Missouri State starter) Natalie Rose pitched out of some key
situations, especially when we had the bases loaded in the seventh
inning and could not push runs across."
Offensively, junior Jhavon Hamilton leads ISU with a .341 batting
average, a .545 slugging percentage, nine stolen bases and is tied
for the team lead with 16 RBIs. Fellow junior Elizabeth Kay belted
her team-leading fourth home run of the season last weekend at
Missouri State and has also driven in 16 runs.
Wichita State (7-20, 0-3 MVC) was swept by Southern Illinois in
its conference-opening series last weekend in Wichita, Kan., and
split a midweek doubleheader with St. Louis on Wednesday afternoon.
The Shockers ended a 13-game losing skid with a 7-2 win over the
Billikens in Wednesday's nightcap. WSU returns 10 letter winners and
eight starters from last year's squad that finished 20-37 overall
and seventh in the Valley with a 12-15 league mark. Wichita State
was tabbed eighth in this season's MVC Preseason Coaches' Poll.
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"Wichita State has a new coach this season, and statistically it
looks like they are a team that is looking to steal a lot of bases
and do a lot offensively with hit-and-runs and bunt-and-runs,"
Fischer said. "Like us, they have played a tremendous nonconference
schedule. We have always had battles with them, and we have to come
out and just play our game against them."
Sydney Stuever leads the Shockers offensively with a .338 average
and seven stolen bases. Erin Carney has belted a team-high four home
runs and has tallied 10 RBIs. Melanie Jaegers and Hayley Temple are
tied with a team-best 12 RBIs and are hitting .227 and .238,
respectively. Wichita State has struggled in the circle this season
and brings a 5.83 team ERA into this weekend's series. Sloan
Anderson has been the primary starter for the Shockers and is 3-13
in the circle with a 5.29 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 80.2 innings.
The beginning of the 2012 season marks the start of free
admission to every game played at Marian Kneer Stadium. Saturday
will be "Dollar Day" with $1 hot dogs, and on Sunday fans will be
encouraged to wear red for a "Red Out." In addition to the "Red
Out," fans can bring gently used sporting goods to donate to the
Leadership McLean County Sports Drive, and kids will be able to run
the bases following the game. Two former Illinois State softball
greats will serve as Redbird ambassadors this weekend, as Cutie
Taylor will be in attendance at Saturday's game, and Nicole Kurth
Duncheon will serve as Sunday's ambassador.
[Text from file received from