Game Notes 2: Hillenbrand Invitational

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM The team looks to improve its 2-3 record in Tucson, while playing a five-game slate.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
The team looks to improve its 2-3 record in Tucson, while playing a five-game slate.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Feb. 13, 2013

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -

Hillenbrand Invitational
Rita Hillenbrand Memorial Stadium; Tucson, Ariz.
Live Stats: purduesports.com

Friday, Feb. 15:
3 p.m. vs. Utah State
10 p.m. vs. Drake

Saturday, Feb. 16:
8 p.m. at Arizona
10 p.m. vs. Southern Utah

Sunday, Feb. 17:
1 p.m. vs. Nebraska
Audio: huskers.com

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 one win away from program victory 600.

Last Time Out: The Boilermakers went 2-3 on opening weekend, topping Hampton 4-0 and Tulsa 5-0, but dropping a pair of one-run games to No. 10 LSU (1-0) and North Carolina (2-1 (9)) and a 4-1 decision to Tulsa.

Statistically Speaking: The Boilermakers posted a .231 average on opening weekend, led by a .400 effort by second baseman Ashley Burkhardt and a .389 mark for outfielder Andie Varsho. Catcher Danielle Fletcher batted .250 and drove in a team-best three RBI along with Burkhardt. Varsho scored four of the team's 11 runs. Purdue was 10-for-12 in stolen bases and also managed five doubles.

Four pitchers saw action at the LSU Tiger Classic, combining for a 1.18 ERA and holding foes to a .203 average. Sophomore Lexy Moore (1-1) posted a 0.48 ERA with four strikeouts in 14.2 innings of work, while holding opponents to a .160 average. Senior Erika Petruzzi managed a 0.78 ERA with two strikeouts in nine innings, including a shutout. Freshman Lilly Fecho (0-1) struck out five batters in 10 innings, while sophomore Alex Whittemore (0-0) issued three Ks in two innings.

In 2012, 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. Varsho (.339), third baseman Tori Chiodo (.313), Petruzzi (.304) and 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.

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. Whittemore (3-4) struck out 25 in 39 innings, while 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
Utah State (Utah State leads the series 3-1): The Aggies won the first three meetings in the series with the Boilermakers, which began on Feb. 17, 1995 at the Arizona State Coca Cola Classic in Phoenix. Purdue snapped the streak with a 4-0 win in the most recent meeting at the Capital Classic in Sacramento, Calif., on March 20, 2004.

Drake: This is the first meeting between the Boilermakers and the Bulldogs.

Arizona (UA leads the series 2-0): The Wildcats have won both previous meetings with the Boilermakers, taking a 4-2 win during the NCAA Regional final on May 17, 2009, in Louisville, Ky., and issuing a 10-0 run-rule decision at the ASU Kajikawa Classic on Feb. 12, 2010, in Tempe, Ariz.

Southern Utah (Purdue leads the series 2-0): The Boilermakers boast a 2-0 lead in the series with the Thunderbirds, winning a pair of games at the 1998 Troy Cox Invitational in Las Cruces, N.M.

Nebraska (Purdue leads the series 2-0): The Boilermakers won both previous meetings with the Huskers at the N.I.S.T tournament in Sunnyvale, Calif., in 1996 and 1999. This non-conference meeting will be Purdue's first with newly minted Big Ten foe Nebraska.

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

• They will post the 600th win in program history.

• It will give Purdue a two-game win streak in the series with the Aggies, including a March 20, 2004, win.

• They will move to 3-3 on the season, including 3-2 in neutral site games.

• They will move to 117-90 all-time in the month of February, including a 6-4 mark on Feb. 15.

• It would move the team's record to 239-173-1 all-time in neutral site non-conference games.

About The Aggies
At First Glance: The Utah State Aggies return 14 letterwinners and eight starters from the 2012 squad which 17-36, including two Preseason all-WAC players in infielder Christine Thomsen and outfielder Hailey Froton. Seven newcomers, including a transfer from Fresno State, join that group. The Aggies, which are playing their final season in the Western Athletic Conference, went 4-17 in conference play last season. Utah State is coach by Carissa Millsap-Kalaba, who is in her fourth season with the team.

Last Time Out: The Aggies went winless in five games at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah, last weekend. The team fell to No. 6 Tennessee, Colorado State, Loyola Marymount, Southern Utah and South Dakota.

Statistically Speaking: Infielder Kassandra Uchida led the Aggie bats on opening weekend with a .500 average as well as four walks. Outfielder Rachael Hunsaker (.333) managed a double and two runs, while infielder Nicole Arata (.250) followed with two RBI and two runs. As a team, Utah State batted .145 with three extra-base hits and no stolen bases. In the circle, three pitchers saw action, allowing foes a .305 average and 11 extra-base hits, but issuing 29 Ks. Freshman Noelle Johnson (0-2) struck out 13 batters in 13 innings of work. Senior Mandy Harmon (0-3) issued 12 Ks in 10 innings, while senior Shelbi Tyteca (0-0) struck out four batters in seven innings of work.

In 2012, infielder Christine Thomsen led the team with a .418 average, 30 runs, 22 RBI and five home runs. Outfielder Hailey Froton (.274), utility player Jolene Koons (.269) and Uchida (.254) also boasted averages of .250 or better. Froton tallied a team-leading 25 RBI and six home runs, while Uchida chipped in 26 runs and three homers. The Aggies return four of their five pitchers, including Tyteca (5-10), who struck out 70 in 107 innings and registered five saves. Harmon (7-16) issued 100 Ks in 139 innings and tossed two shutouts, while Mariah Peterson (0-1) and Kali Canelosi (0-0) combined for eight Ks in 10 innings of work.

The Dish on Drake
At First Glance: The Drake Bulldogs (4-1) return 12 letterwinners, including seven starters, from the 2012 team that went 29-28 and placed third in the Missouri Valley Conference. The Bulldogs are coached by Rich Calvert, who is in his 11th year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Bulldogs went 4-1 at the UNI-Dome Classic in Cedar Falls, Iowa, last weekend. Drake topped North Dakota State, Illinois, Wisconsin-Green Bay and UNI, but fell to No. 1 Alabama.

Statistically Speaking: Infielder Laura Brewer paced the Bulldogs with a .556 average and five RBI, while eight other players batted .250 or better. Infielder Amy Pierce (.389) tallied a team-best seven hits and scored four runs, while infielder Liz Buck (.375) chipped in three hits and an RBI. Drake batted .255 as a team with eight doubles and a 5-for-6 effort on the basepaths and outscored opponents 18-12. Junior Jordan Gronewold (3-0) and sophomore Rebekah Schmidt (1-1) split time in the circle, combining for 35 Ks and a 1.89 ERA. Gronewald struck out 23 and picked up a save, while holding foes to a .188 average. Schmidt struck out 12 batters and picked up two saves.

Infielder Hayley Nybo (.339), Pierce (.280), outfielder Nicole Randel (.273) and Gronewold (.257) return after batting .250 or better in 2012. Pierce scored a team-best 30 runs and added 25 steals, while Nybo drove in a team-leading 42 RBI and launched nine home runs. Outfielder Macie Silliman (.205) swiped 22 bases for the Bulldogs, which batted .252 and went 96-for-120 on stolen base attempts in 2012. Gronewold (20-20) and Schmidt (9-8) split pitching duties in 2012. Gronewold issued 200 strikeouts in 236 innings, served up four shutouts and added a save. Schmidt struck out 154 batters in 145 innings and picked up 10 saves.

Words About the Wildcats
At First Glance: The No. 16 Arizona Wildcats (3-2) return seven players from the 2012 team that posted a 38-19 record and advanced to the NCAA Super Regional. The Wildcats went 12-12 in Pac-12 play, good for fourth place. Arizona is coached by Mike Candrea, who is in his 28th season with the team.

Last Time Out: The Wildcats went 3-2 at the Kajikawa Classic in Tempe, Ariz., last weekend, topping Northwestern, Cal Poly and San Diego State, but falling to Bradley and No. 14 Florida.

Statistically Speaking: Seven players batted .250 or better to help Arizona to a .266 team average on opening weekend. Infielder Lauren Young led the way with a .400 average and two runs, while third baseman Bridgette Del Ponte (.3765) drove in seven RBI, scored two runs and posted four extra base hits, including two home runs. Shortstop Chelsea Suitos (.357) and utility player Alex Lavine (.357) followed. Suitos score three runs and swiped four bases, while outfielder Hallie Wilson scored a team-best four runs. As a team, the Wildcats registered 10 extra-base hits, including four home runs, and were 8-for-8 in stolen base attempts. Junior Shelby Babcock (2-2) and junior Estela Piñon (1-0) split time in the circle. Babcock struck out 18 batters in 18 innings, while Piñon issued 19 Ks in 15 innings and held foes to a .161 average.

Wilson led the UA bats in 2012, posting a .346 average with 12 doubles, 37 runs and 28 RBI. Del Ponte (.328), Suitos (.310) and catcher Chelsea Goodacre (.252) also return. Del Ponte scored a team-best 45 runs, drove in a team-high 56 RBI, launched 15 home runs and swiped 14 bases. Suitos chipped in 32 runs and 13 steals, while Goodacre lifted eight homers as Arizona batted .298 with 80 homers. Senior Kenzie Fowler (15-9) led the Wildcat pitching staff in 2012 with 180 Ks and two saves in 154 innings, but underwent offseason back surgery. Babcock posting a 21-10 record with 164 strikeouts in 197 innings a year ago.

Scouting Southern Utah
At First Glance: The Southern Utah Thunderbirds return 10 letterwinners, including seven starters, from the 2012 team that posted a 29-25 record and finished third in Summit League play. Southern Utah is coached by Kyle Magnusson, who is in his third year with the team.

Last Time Out: The T-birds posted a 1-4 record at the Red Desert Classic in St. George, Utah, last weekend. The team fell to No. 6 Tennessee, Arkansas, Utah Valley State and Seattle, but ended the weekend with a 4-1 win over Utah State.

Statistically Speaking: Infielder Kelsey Bryant paced the SUU bats with a .556 average, four RBI, three runs and three extra-base hits on opening weekend. Infielder Mikkel Griffin (.333) and utility player Kadi Henderson (.286) followed. Griffin chipped in two doubles, a home run and two steals, while Henderson added two runs, a double and a homer. As a team, Southern Utah batted .231 with three home runs and three steals. The Thunderbirds were outscored 31-13 and allowed foes a .366 average. Senior lefty Danielle Axe (1-1) struck out four batters in 15 innings, while junior Ariel Zimmerman (0-3) issued 19 Ks in 15 innings.

The T-birds return six players that batted .250 or better in 2012. Griffin led the way with a .404 average, 43 runs, 35 RBI, 12 home runs and 10 steals. Utility player Terysa Dyer (.372), infielder Kelsey Bryant (.316), Henderson (.312), first baseman Madison Resley (.310) and catcher Katie Olinger (.265) rounded out the group. Bryant drove in a team-best 43 RBI and launched seven home runs, while Henderson chipped in 40 RBI and 10 homers. SUU batted .303 with 47 home runs. Axe (7-5) struck out 44 batters in 71 innings of work with a shutout and two saves, while Ashley Ostler (2-2) managed 16 Ks and a save in 36 innings.

News About Nebraska
At First Glance: The Nebraska Cornhuskers return nine letterwinners, including six position starters, from the 2012 team that posted a 33-22 record, including a 14-9 mark and third place finish in Big Ten play. Nebraska is coached by Rhonda Revelle, who is in her 21st year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Huskers went 5-0 at the Hotel Encanto Invitational in Las Cruces, N.M. last weekend, topping Illinois-Chicago three times and also besting New Mexico State and New Mexico.

Statistically Speaking: Designated player Kylee Muir posted a .636 average with four RBI, three doubles and three runs on opening weekend as the Huskers batted .397 as a team. Nine other players posted averages of .250 or better, including five over .400. Catcher Taylor Edwards (.556), infielder Alicia Armstrong (.500), outfielder Jordan Bettiol (.500), pitcher Tatum Edwards (.444) and infielder Dawna Tyson (.429) make up the group. Taylor and Tatum Edwards each launched three home runs, while Taylor also drove in 15 RBI and added six runs. Outfielder Kiki Stokes (.375) scored a team-best nine runs, while outfielder Brooke Thomason (.368) accounted for nine RBI. Tatum Edwards led the pitching staff with a 4-0 record, including 12 strikeouts and a 1.94 ERA in 18 innings. Freshman Emily Lockman (1-0) issued five Ks in 12 innings.

Infielder Gabby Banda (.352), Thomason (.326) and Tatum Edwards (.301) led a group of nine players that batted .250 or better in 2012. Banda scored 39 runs and tallied 14 doubles and four home runs, while Thomason drove in a team-best 47 RBI, scored 33 runs and launched seven homers. Edwards registered 38 RBI, 30 runs and seven long balls as Nebraska batted .294 with 37 home runs. Edwards (9-5) returns after striking out 57 batters and posting three shutouts in 80 innings, while sophomore Mattie Fowler pitched just two innings a year ago.

For The Record
Senior pitcher/outfielder Erika Petruzzi tied the school record for stolen bases in a game with three against Hampton on Feb. 8. Nine players have registered a three-steal effort, marking 22 occurrences.

Tournament Honors
Sophomore second baseman Ashley Burkhardt and junior outfielder Andie Varsho were named to the nine-member LSU Tiger Classic All-Tournament team. The pair led Purdue offensively with averages of .400 and .389 respectively.

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.

Did You Know...
• The 2013 season marks the 20th in program history, a span which has seen 128 Boilermakers take the field in the Old Gold and Black and Purdue post 599 wins.

• Players from 10 different states, including California, Florida, Indiana and Washington, make up the 2013 Boilermaker roster.

• All three members of the Boilermaker coaching staff were All-Americans as collegiate softball players. Assistant coach Stephanie DeFeo earned All-America honors both on the field and in the classroom at Louisiana-Lafayette.

• Purdue has beaten 26 ranked teams in program history. Under Coach Maher, the Boilers have downed eight ranked opponents, including three ranked in the Top 10.

• Purdue is 137-51-3 all-time against teams from the state of Indiana. They will take on four in-state foes in 2013: Ball State, IUPUI, Indiana and Valparaiso.

• Since Coach Maher's arrival at Purdue in 2006, the career records for stolen bases, runs, triples, home runs and slugging percentage have fallen as well as seven pitching marks.

• Purdue led the nation in stolen bases in 2010 and has ranked among the nation's top 15 each of the last four years.