Game Notes 2: Kickin' Chicken Classic

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Head coach Kim Schuette takes her Boilermakers on the road to Conway, S.C., for five games at the Kickin' Chicken Classic.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Head coach Kim Schuette takes her Boilermakers on the road to Conway, S.C., for five games at the Kickin' Chicken Classic.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Feb. 12, 2014

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The Slate
Kickin' Chicken Classic Classic
CCU Softball Field ~ Conway, S.C.
Tournament Central: here
Live Stats: purduesports.com

Friday, Feb. 14
10 a.m. vs. LaSalle
Noon vs. Syracuse

Saturday, Feb. 15
10 a.m. vs. Syracuse
2:30 p.m. at Coastal Carolina

Sunday, Feb. 16
10 a.m. vs. Towson

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: Purdue began a new era under head coach Kim Schuette posting a 1-2-1 record at the Louisiana Classic, including an upset win over No. 10 Texas and a tie with No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette. The team returns 17 players from its 2013 squad which posted a 21-32 mark, an 8-14 Big Ten mark and Big Ten Tournament second round appearance. Seven position starters and three starting pitchers return, while five newcomers join the roster. Schuette is in her first season with the Boilermakers after spending the last eight years as head coach at Eastern Illinois.

Last Time Out: The Boilermakers posted a 1-2-1 record at the Louisiana Classic in Lafayette, La., After dropping a pair of Day 1 contests to North Carolina (3-2) and Northern Iowa (6-3), the team rebounded with a 5-4 win over No. 10 Texas and tied No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette 7-7 after eight innings of play in a travel accomodation shortened contest. Senior outfielder Maia Monchek and junior first baseman Ashley Burkhardt were named to the all-tournament team.

Statistically Speaking: On opening weekend, first baseman Ashley Burkhardt led the Boilermaker bats with a .400 average, including two doubles and a home run, as well as a team-best three runs scored. Catcher Katy McJunkin also batter .400 with two RBI, two runs and a .625 on-base percentage. Outfielders Maia Monchek (.333) and Andie Varsho (.308) and infielder Tori Chiodo (.308) also batted over .300, while outfielder Lindsey Rains (.286) and Mary Gooding (.250) followed. Rains drove in a team-best five RBI, while Varsho swiped two bases. As a team, the Boilers batted .2854 with four home runs and three steals.

In the circle, the Purdue staff combined for 22 strikeouts in 29 innings. Sophomore Lilly Fecho (1-1) did the bulk of the pitching, striking out 12 in 15.2 innings, including two complete games. Senior Lauren Grant (0-0) struck out four in 6.2 innings of relief work, allowing just a .091 average. Junior Alex Whittemore struck out three in five innings, while junior Lexy Moore (0-1) issued three Ks in 1.2 innings.

In 2013, the Boilermakers batted .269, led by a group of five battters hitting .250 or better. Outfielder Andie Varsho led the way with a .415 average, 39 RBI, 35 runs, five home runs and 29 stolen bases. Second baseman Ashley Burkhardt boasted a .321 average with a team-best 40 runs, 13 RBI and 20 steals. Outfielders Lindsey Rains (.300) and Maia Monchek (.292) and third baseman Tori Chiodo (.264) rounded out the group. Rains scored 33 runs, drove in 19 RBI and added 25 stolen bases, while catcher Danielle Fletcher (.245) added 33 RBI and tallied a team-leading six home runs. Eight different players contributed to the Boilermakers' tally of 19 home runs. Purdue also was 120-for-148 in stolen base attempts.

Three pitchers return from the 2013 roster, accounting for all but 16 innings and five strikeouts of the staff's totals. Sophomore Lilly Fecho (8-16) struck out 107 batters in 156 innings, including nine complete games and two saves. Junior Lexy Moore (10-14) struck out 97 batters in 169 innings, including a shutout, while junior Alex Whittemore (2-0) issued 18 Ks in 28 innings.

Series Information
LaSalle: This is the first meeting between the Boilermakers and the Explorers.

Syracuse (Purdue leads the series 4-0): The Boilermakers have won all four previous meetings with the Orange in the series which began on Feb. 10, 2001 at the Auburn Invitational. Purdue also won a contest at the Golden Panther Invitational in Miami in 2007 and a pair of contests in 2008, a 10-0 win at the Getterman Classic in Waco, Texas, and a 6-2 win at the Pirate Classic in Greenille, N.C.

Coastal Carolina (Purdue leads the series 2-0): Purdue won the two previous meetings with the Chanticleers, sweeping the March 11, 1994 doubleheader 7-0 and 2-0 in Conway, S.C.

Towson: This is the first meeting between the Boilermakers and the Tigers.

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

• They will move to 2-2-1 on the season.

• They will move to 122-98-1 all-time in the month of February, including a 4-7 mark on Feb. 14.

• It would move the team's record to 248-178-1 all-time in neutral site non-conference games.

Learning About the LaSalle Explorers
At First Glance: The LaSalle Explorers (16-31, 3-19 Atlantic 10) open their 2014 season against Purdue at the Kickin' Chicken Classic on Friday. The Explorers return 12 letterwinners, including seven starters and three pitchers, from the 2013 team that went 16-31 including a 12th place A-10 finish. The Explorers are coached by Ron Shoemaker, who is in his first year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Explorers wrapped their 2013 season with a pair of losses to Charlotte (8-4, 7-0) to finish the Atlantic-10 season.

Statistically Speaking: The Explorers return three of their top five hitters from the 2013 season, led by outfielder Kendra Heyer, who batted .342 with 22 runs, 16 RBI, eight doubles and seven stolen bases. Utility players Megan Hodgson (.287) and Emily Morgan (.245) also are back. Hodgson drove in a team-best 39 RBI and managed 16 extra-base hits, including 10 home runs, while also contributing 22 runs and a team-best eight stolen bases. Pitcher Alicia Aughton (.213) added four home runs and 15 RBI in addition to her contributions in the circle. As a team, LaSalle posted a .228 average with 26 home runs and 28 stolen bases.

Sophomore Mary Cate Scott (8-10), Aughton (8-17) and junior Alyssa Bitsimis (0-3) return in the circle for the Explorers. Scott struck out 60 batters in 126 innings, including two shutouts, while Aughton recorded 76 Ks in 130 innings with four shutouts. Bitsimis added nine Ks in 38 innings.

Opening Up About the Orange
At First Glance: The Syracuse Orange (2-3) will be competing in the ACC this season and were picked to finish seventh in the their inaugural year by the league's coaches. The Orange return 10 letterwinners, including six starters, from the 2013 team which went 23-29, including a 10-12 mark in Big East play. Syracuse is coached by Leigh Ross, who is in her ninth year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Orange posted a 2-3 record at the Mardi Gras Tournament in Mobile, Ala., last weekend. Syracuse topped Austin Peay 9-0 and No. 21 UAB 3-2 in nine innings, but dropped a pair of games to No. 20 South Alabama (2-1, 8-0) as well as a 12-3 decision to McNeese State.

Statistically Speaking: Second baseman Julie Wambold led a group of five hitters with .250 or better averages on opening weekend. Wambold (.429) scored a team-best three runs, while adding a triple and a home run. Shortstop Corinne Ozanne (.400), catcher Nicole Lundstrom (.357), first baseman Jasmine Watson (.286) and utility player Sydney O'Hara (.250) round out the group. Ozanne drove in a team-leading foiur RBI, while Watson launched a team-best two home runs. As a team, the Orange posted a .238 average with four home runs and four stolen bases.

In the circle, junior Lindsay Taylor (1-2) struck out 10 batters in 15 innings of work with a 1.83 ERA. O'Hara (1-1) added 13 strikeouts in seven innings, including a complete-game shutout, while limiting foes to a .143 average. Freshman Christina Clermont added seven Ks in nine innings.

In 2013, Watson led a group of three players with averages of .250 or better. Watson, who batted .296 with 34 RBI, 11 doubles, 11 homers and 22 runs, and Ozanne (.292), who added a team-best 42 RBI and 11 home runs, return. Wambold checked in with a .244 average, eight home runs and 18 RBI. In the circle, Taylor is the top returner, having posting a 4-12 record, a 2.56 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 104 innings. Danielle Chitkowski (1-0) struck out one batter in 15 innings.

Chatting About the Chanticleers
At First Glance: The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers (2-0) will play at home in the newly renovated CCU Softball Stadium for the second straight weekend, as they play host to the Kickin' Chicken Classic. CCU returns eight starters, three pitchers and each of its six All-Big South honorees from the 2013 team that went 37-22 and won the conference's regular-season championship. The Chanticleers are coached by Kelley Green, who is in her fifth year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Chanticleers won a pair of games against instate foe College of Charleston to open the 2014 season last weekend. CCU topped the Cougars 9-1 (6) and 3-2 (8).

Statistically Speaking: Third baseman Kory Hayden (.500) led the team in the series with College of Charleston, posting three hits, with two home runs, three RBI and three runs. Outfielder Brooke Donovan (.500) had two hits, with one home run, three RBI and two runs. Three other players - shortstop Jessie Winans (.400), outfielder Bri Chiusano (.333) and infielder Amanda Daneker (.333) - also posted two hits on the weekend. Chiusano stole two bases. As a team, Coastal Carolina batted .271 with three home runs and three steals.

Junior Kiana Quolas (2-0) struck out eight batters in eight innings with a 0.88 ERA and held CofC to a .143 average. Senior Ashley Bagwell and redshirt sophomore Morgan Mastriania each tossed three innings, striking out three and one respectively.

In 2013, the Chanticleers batted .268 with 70 home runs and 77 steals. Five players return from that squad after batting .250 - Chiusano (.330), Quolas (.313), Hayden (.271), Donovan (.265) and catcher Morgan Noad (.250). Chiusano scored a team-best 47 runs and stole 29 bases, while Quolas drove in 28 RBI and posted 14 doubles and 11 home runs. Hayden drove in 41 RBI and scored 30 runs, while lifting 15 home runs. Noad also managed 15 home runs and 39 RBI. In the circle, Quolas (22-10) struck out 151 batters in 206 innings with a 1.94 ERA. Bagwell (12-8) added 151 Ks in 135 innings and Mastriania (3-4) struck out 42 batters in 54 innings.

Talking About Towson
At First Glance: The Towson Tigers (3-1), which were picked to finish fifth in the Colonial Athletic Association, return 13 letterwinners, including six starters, from the 2013 team which went 30-28-1 and advanced to the CAA Tournament. The Tigers are coached by Lisa Costello, who is in her 19th year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Tigers went 3-1 at the USC Upstate Classic in Spartanburg, S.C., last weekend. Towson beat Youngstown State (7-3), Eastern Michigan (8-7 (9)) and North Carolina Central (18-6 (5)), but fell to USC Upstate 7-1.

Statistically Speaking: The Tigers batted .361 with four home runs and three stolen bases on opening weekend, with help from five hitters that boasted a .400 or better average. Outfielder Maureen Hepner (.538), pitcher/outfielder Missy McComick (.533), outfielder Olivia Yarbrough (.500), and infielders Nicole Delgado (.455) and Hailey Balk (.438) make up the group. McCormick drove in a team-leading 13 RBI and added five runs and two home runs, while Hepner accounted for eight RBI, four runs and four extra-base hits, including two homers. Balk scored a team-best eight runs and added three doubles, while Delgado also chipped in three doubles. Yarbrough accounted for two of the team's three steals.

McCormick (1-1) struck out six batters in 13 innings with a 2.69 ERA, while sophomore Ambar Hickman (2-0) added seven Ks in 11 innings. Freshman Megan Chocallo (0-0) also saw time in the circle, striking out three batters in three innings.

In 2013, third baseman Delanie Dunham led the team with a .311 average, followed by Balk (.297), Yarbrough (.257) and infielder Macie McGeehan (.254). Dunham racked up 41 RBI, a team-best six home runs, 34 runs and 19 stolen bases. Balk scored 28 runs and added eight doubles and seven steals. Yarbrough accounted for 32 runs and three triples, while McGeehan posted 14 extra-base hits, including 11 doubles, and 31 RBI. As a team, Towson batted .239 with 29 home runs and 57 stolen bases. In the circle, the Tigers must replace Katie Lingmai (197 Ks, 221.2 innings, 18-16), but return McCormick (5-7) and Hickman (7-5), who added 39 and 36 strikeouts respectively in a combined 160 innings.

Boilers Post Win Over #10 Texas
The Boilermakers posted the eighth top 10 victory in program history when they defeated No. 10 Texas 5-4 on Feb. 9 at the Louisiana Classic in Lafayette, La.

The victory was Purdue's first over a Top 10 foe since defeating No. 10 Northwestern on April 18, 2009. The Boilermakers have faced off with 68 Top 10 ranked opponents in the program's 21 seasons.