Game Notes 1: LSU Tiger Classic

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Purdue takes a team of 15 returning players and five newcomers to Baton Rouge, La., to begin the 2013 season.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Purdue takes a team of 15 returning players and five newcomers to Baton Rouge, La., to begin the 2013 season.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Feb. 6, 2013

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The Slate
LSU Tiger Classic - Tiger Park; Baton Rouge, La.
Tourney Central: here
Live Stats: purduesports.com

Friday, Feb. 8:
3 p.m. vs. Hampton
8 p.m. vs. #10 LSU

Saturday, Feb. 9:
10:30 a.m. vs. #22 North Carolina
1 p.m. vs. Tulsa

Sunday, Feb. 10:
11 a.m. vs. Tulsa

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: Purdue returns 15 players from its 2012 squad which posted a 31-22 mark, including a 13-10 Big Ten mark and sixth-place conference finish. Eight position starters and three starting pitchers return, while five newcomers join the roster. The Boilermakers are coached by Kim Maher, who is her eighth year with the team. Purdue is just three wins away from program victory 600.

Last Time Out: The Boilermakers entered the final weekend of 2012 just two games out of first place in the league, but dropped a three-game series to No. 22 Michigan to wrap up the year. Purdue avoided a shutout for 52 straight games until the season finale.

Statistically Speaking: The Boilermakers boasted a school record tying .313 team batting average, including seven batters hitting at a .300 or better clip. Outfielder Lindsey Rains (.361) led the way, while first baseman Ashley Courtney (.350) is second among returning players. Rains recorded 43 runs, 34 RBI, 25 stolen bases, four triples and four home runs, while Courtney accounted for 34 RBI, 13 doubles and three home runs. Outfielder Andie Varsho (.339), third baseman Tori Chiodo (.313), outfielder/pitcher Erika Petruzzi (.304) and catcher Danielle Fletcher (.302) also batted over .300. Varsho registered 35 runs, 30 RBI and 16 stolen bases, while Petruzzi put up 33 RBI and added seven home runs. Fletcher launched a team-leading eight home runs, while Chiodo and utility player Lauren Grant each posted two long balls. All told, Purdue averaged more than five runs per game with 122 extra base hits and 97 steals. The team must replace shortstop Molly Garst, who posted a .360 average with a team-best 44 runs, 14 doubles and 28 steals as a senior.

Lexy Moore (20-12) led the way in the circle, striking out 118 batters in 190 innings and posting a 3.41 ERA as a rookie. Freshman Alex Whittemore (3-4) struck out 25 in 39 innings, while junior Erika Petruzzi (1-2) struck out 10 in 25 innings. The Boilermakers must replace Katie Hackney (7-4), who issued 53 Ks in 79 innings.

Series Information
Hampton: This is the first meeting between the Boilermakers and the Lady Pirates.

LSU (LSU leads the series 3-0): The Tigers have taken all three previous meetings with the Boilermakers in the series which began on March 15, 2008, at the USF Under Armour Classic in Clearwater, Fla. LSU also won the two most recent meetings with a pair of wins at the 2011 Wilson/DiMarini LSU Tiger Classic in Baton Rouge.

North Carolina (UNC leads the series 2-1): Purdue won the first meeting in the series with the Tarheels, taking a 4-1 decision on Feb. 21, 1999 at the Triangle Classic in Raleigh. UNC took the next two contests, one in 2000 and another in 2001. All three previous contests were played in Raleigh.

Tulsa: This is the first meeting between the Boilermakers and the Golden Hurricane.

What a Difference a Win Makes ...
If the Boilermakers top Hampton on Friday...

• They will have won their season opener for the ninth time in program history and the fifth time under head coach Kim Maher (also 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2012).

• They will move to 115-87 all-time in the month of February, including a 4-4 mark on Feb. 8.

• It would move the team's record to 237-171-1 all-time in neutral site non-conference games.

Hearing About Hampton
At First Glance: The Hampton Lady Pirates open the 2013 season against Purdue on Friday. The Lady Pirates return eight letterwinners, including five starters and a pitchers from the 2012 team which posted a 25-33 mark and finished fourth in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's north division. Hampton is coached by Trena Peel, who is in her third year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Lady Pirates, which advanced to the semifinals of the MEAC Championships, ended the 2012 season with a loss to Florida A&M in the consolation bracket of the tournament. The team's 25-33 record was a 12-win improvement over its 2011 finish.

Statistically Speaking: Eight offensive players return from the 2012 team, including three who posted a .300 average or better. Catcher/shortstop Margaret Wilkins (.330), outfielder Nina Ferguson (.314) and pitcher/first baseman Jailynn Jackson (.300) make up the group. The five other returning players batted .231 or better: first baseman/outfielder Carla Trimble (.282), utility player Kerissa Burruel (.279), outfielder Adrianna Scott (.263), catcher/first baseman Shine Huwe (.241) and second baseman/outfielder Bianca Vallejo (.231). Ferguson scored a team-best 30 runs, while Wilkins led the way with 33 RBI and each posted 14 extra abse hits. Vallejo is the team's top returning base stealer, having gone 13-of-15 on the basepaths a year ago. As a team, Hampton batted .275 with 28 home runs.

Jackson (13-14) is the team's lone returning pitcher. She struck out 120 batters in 168 innings in 2012. Burruel saw 2.2 innings of work in three appearances. The Lady Pirates must replace Travonna Byrd (12-19, 124Ks, 197.1 IP).

Lessons About LSU
At First Glance: The No. 10 LSU Tigers posted a 40-25 record in 2012, including a fifth place SEC finish and an appearance at the Women's College World Series. Twelve letterwinners return from that team, including five position starters and two pitchers. LSU begins the 2013 season against No. 22 North Carolina in Game 1 of a scheduled Friday twinbill. The Tigers are coached by Beth Torina, who is in her second year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Tiger won the College Station Regional and the Super Regional series with Missouri, but went 1-2 at the WCWS, falling to No. 1 California and topping No. 19 South Florida, before being eliminated by No. 2 Arizona State.

Statistically Speaking: Utility player Allison Falcon (.252) leads the returning Tigers offensively, including 23 RBI, 18 runs and three home runs. Seven other returning players posted a .200 or better average. Outfielder A.J. Andrews (.215) scored 18 runs and swiped a team-best 15 bases, while five other LSU players scored double-digit runs. Infielder Rikki Alcaraz (.233, 13 runs), utility player Jacee Blades (.224, 12 runs), outfielder Simone Heyward (.219, 12 runs), catcher Lauren Houston (.226, 10 runs) and infielder Dylan Supak (.202, 10 runs) make up the group. As a team, LSU batted .220 with 13 home runs and 74 stolen bases.

Senior Rachele Fico (20-13) and junior Meghan Peterson (4-0) return in the circle. Fico posted a 1.12 ERA with 221 strikeouts and 13 shutouts in 230 innings, while holding opponents to a .183 average. Peterson struck out 40 batters in 38 innings and managed a 1.83 ERA in nine appearances.

News About North Carolina
At First Glance: The No. 22 North Carolina Tarheels posted a 43-15 record in 2012, including the Atlantic Coast Conference title and an NCAA Regional appearance. Fifteen letterwinners return from that team, including eight position starters and three pitchers. UNC is coached by Donna Papa, who is in her 28th year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Tarheels won the ACC title and earned an NCAA at-large berth after posting a runner-up finish at the ACC Tournament. UNC topped Georgia Southern and Coastal Carolina int he NCAAs, but was knocked out of the regional with a pair of losses to Georgia.

Statistically Speaking: Outfielder Amy Nece leads a trio of returning players that posted a .300 or better average in 2012. Nece hit at a team-best .353 clip with 31 runs and nine stolen bases. Outfielder Tisha Mahon (.341) scored 21 runs and swiped 13 bases, while first baseman/pitcher Constance Orr (.315) added 32 RBI and eight home runs. Three others players boasted a .250 or better average: outfielder Jordan Scarboro (.265), catcher/infielder Haleigh Dickey (.264) and catcher/infielder Amber Parrish (.250). Dickey drove in a team-best 46 RBI and launched a team-leading 12 home runs, while Scarboro drove in 31 RBI and posted six home runs. As a team, North Carolina batted .288 with 67 home runs and 57 stolen bases.

The TarHeels return their entire pitching staff from 2012 led by junior Lori Spingola. Spingola posted a 33-12 record with 333 strikeouts in 269 innings and 13 shutouts to go with a 1.87 ERA. Junior Ashley Bone (6-2) added 41 Ks in 71 innings, while junior Sara Buchholz (4-1) issued 35 striekouts in 35 innings. Orr and sophomore Lauren Walker saw limited action, combining for six strikeouts in five innings of work.

Talking About Tulsa
At First Glance: The Tulsa Golden Hurricane posted a 42-14 record in 2012, including the Conference USA title and an NCAA Regional appearance. Twelve letterwinners return from that team, including seven position starters and two pitchers. The Golden Hurricane are coached by John Bargfeldt, who is in his eighth year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Hurricane earned the C-USA's automatic bid to the NCAA Regional. The team topped Oregon State in 11 innings to start the NCAAs, but fell to Oklahoma and to Oregon State to wrap up the season.

Statistically Speaking: Tulsa returns all but two of its starting offensive players, which combined for a .308 average in 2012. Infielder Jill Barrett leads the way with a .416 average, 43 runs and 29 RBI, while five others posted averages of .300 or better. Outfielder Caitlin everett (.366), infielder Samantha Cobb (.339), Cierra Hughes (.322), pitcher/designated player Lacey Middlebrooks (.306) and infielder/outfielder Shelby Blanton (.301) make up the group. Everett scored a team-best 55 runs, added six triples and swiped 35 bases, while Cobb drove in 46 RBI to go with 12 doubles and 11 home runs. Middlebrooks posted 14 doubles , five home runs and 38 RBI.

Middlebrooks (20-6) and Aimee Creger (19-6) return in the circle. Middlebrooks boasted a 2.15 ERA and struck out 146 batters in 188 innings, while Creger issued 184 Ks in 151 innings and managed a 2.54 ERA.

Rains, Courtney Receive Preseason Honors
Two Boilermakers were named to the College Sports Madness Big Ten Preseason All-Conference team on Jan. 11 as senior infielder Ashley Courtney and junior outfielder Lindsey Rains garnered second team honors. Both Courtney and Rains were named to the website's Big Ten All-Conference first team at the end of the 2012 campaign.

Courtney was a third team All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten honoree in 2012 after posting a .350 average including 13 doubles, two triples and three home runs. She started all 53 of the team's games, 44 at first base and nine at second base. The Lafayette, Ind., native ranked among the top 10 in the conference in fielding double plays (5th with 14), triples (6th), doubles (9th) and on-base percentage (9th with .457). Courtney reached base via hit or walk in 45 games and drove in a team-best 34 RBI, including eight game-winners. She capped the season with offensive co-MVP honors.

Rains, a first team All-Big Ten selection in 2011, started all 53 games, 52 in center field and one in right field a year ago. The Fullerton, Calif., native posted a team-best .361average, including eight doubles, four triples, which ranked 28th nationally, and four home runs. She reached base via hit, walk or hit by pitch in 49 games, including a team-best 13-game hit streak. Rains also stole 25 bases, second most on the team, third most in the Big Ten and ranked 39th nationally. The outfielder drove in a team-leading 34 RBI and also ranked among the Big Ten's best in triples (2nd), batting average (7th), runs (8th with 43) and hits (9th with 61).

Purdue Softball Celebrates 20th Season
The Boilermaker softball program will play its 20th season in 2013. Purdue has compiled a 597-476 record, including 17 .500 or better seasons and 14 30-win campaigns in its previous 19 seasons. The Boilermakers have been .500 or better for 14 straight seasons, while Purdue squads have reached the 30-win milestone 11 of the last 12 years. Purdue has made two NCAA Regional appearances (2008 and 2009) and taken on 172 ranked foes in program lore.

One hundred twenty-seven student-athletes have donned the Old Gold and Black in a game. Purdue softball has featured one All-American, 31 All-Mideast Region and 39 All-Big Ten selections. The Boilermakers have had at least one All-Big Ten honoree each of the last six seasons including Ashley Courtney in 2012.

Academics also have been a huge part of Purdue softball. The program boasts five Academic All-Americans and 118 Academic All-Big Ten selections. At least four Boilers have earned Academic All-Big Ten honors every year since 1995, including nine in 2012.

Road Tested: A Tough Slate
In addition to logging more than 12,000 miles during the first five weeks of the season, the Boilermakers also will face tough foes in 2013, including six teams ranked in the preseason Top 25. Purdue will take on No. 15 Michigan and No. 24 Baylor three times each, No. 17 Texas A&M twice as well as No. 10 LSU and No. 13 Arizona.

The Boilermakers will face six opponents for the first time in program history and will have a chance to play in the Big Ten Tournament for the sixth time in program history and the first time since 2008, as the event is reinstated this season.

2012 In A Nutshell
The Boilermakers finished the 2012 season with a 31-22 mark, including a program-best 10-0 start, despite having a roster with 14 underclassmen. Purdue posted a 13-10 record in Big Ten play, which was good for the second-highest conference win tally in program history and a sixth-place league finish. The team avoided a shutout for 52 games until the season finale, despite playing nine NCAA Tournament teams, while managing at least three hits in all but one game.

Head coach Kim Maher posted her 200th career win on March 14 vs. Cal State Fullerton, while the program edged within three victories of the 600 win mark. The Boilermakers secured a .500 or better record for the 14th straight season and the 17th in program lore. The team also reached the 30-win milestone, which Purdue squads have reached in 14 of the previous 18 seasons, including 11 of the last 12.

Among The Nation's Statistical Leaders
The Boilermakers ranked among the national top 50 in six statistical categories in 2012. The team was fourth in triples per game (0.34), 11th in stolen bases per game (1.83), 12th in batting average (.313), 22nd in doubles per game (1.4), 23rd in scoring (5.36 runs per game) and 34th in slugging percentage (.442). The team also ranked 51st in double plays per game (0.38). Purdue has ranked among the nation's top 15 in stolen bases each of the last four years, including a school record and national best 144 steals in 2010.

Individually, outfielder Lindsey Rains ranked 28th in triples (4) and 39th in stolen bases per game (0.47). Shortstop Molly Garst ranked 29th in stolen bases per game (0.53).

On The Honor Roll
First baseman Ashley Courtney garnered third team All-Big Ten acclaim, while shortstop Molly Garst was named to the Academic All-District team. Three Boilermaker players were honored with conference player, pitcher or freshman of the week accolades: outfielder Lindsey Rains (Player of the Week, Feb. 20), Garst (Player of the Week, Feb. 27) and pitcher Lexy Moore (Co-Freshman and Co-Pitcher of the Week, April 2).

Garst also was one of 30 candidates selected nationally for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. Courtney also was one of 24 student-athletes honored by the Big Ten Conference as Outstanding Sportsmanship Award winners. Nine Boilermakers recieved Academic All-Big Ten acclaim.