Bayou Bound

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Sophomore DaQueta Johnson looks to help keep the Boilermaker bats alive at the Louisiana Classic in Lafayette, La. this weekend.
Sophomore DaQueta Johnson looks to help keep the Boilermaker bats alive at the Louisiana Classic in Lafayette, La. this weekend.

Feb. 17, 2005

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Boilermaker softball team looks to continue its opening weekend success as it travels to Lafayette, La., for the 19th Annual Louisiana Classic. The Boilermakers will face Nicholls State, Mississippi Valley State and the No. 5 Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns during the three-day affair.

Live stats for all of Purdue's Louisiana Classic games will be available on the Purdue website,

Scoping Out the Louisiana Classic
The 19th Annual Louisiana Classic, which is hosted by the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, is a round-robin event which will pit the Boilermakers against Nicholls State, Mississippi Valley State as well as the host Ragin' Cajuns. Purdue will play five games over the three-day schedule, including two contests against the No. 5 Ragin' Cajuns.

Notes about Nicholls State
Nicholls State (0-4) is looking for its first win of the season as the team plays Southern University on Thursday before traveling to Lafayette for the Louisiana Classic. The Lady Colonels lost to Missouri and Florida State on both Friday and Saturday last weekend at the Seminole Classic in Tallahassee, Fla.

Junior cat her Meghan Mulcahy leads the team with a .286 batting average, while junior first baseman Lindsay Coleman is not far behind with a .273 mark. Coleman and junior outfielder Andrea Ground lead the team with three hits apiece. Sophomore infielder Lindsey Yelverton has accounted for two of the team's three RBI and also posted one of the team's three extra-base hits. As a team, the Lady Colonels boast a .182 batting average, but have allowed opponents a .288 average and 16 extra base hits including four home runs.

Senior Nichole Wagner and freshman Jessica Barksdale have split time on the mound and accounted for 10 strikeouts. Wagner owns a 3.18 ERA, allowing five earned runs in 11 innings of work, while Barksdale has given up 11 runs in 10 innings of action. NSU has also been plagued by errors, committing 10 in the team's four contests. The Lady Colonels are coached by Jenny Parsons, who is in her first year with the team.

Musings about Mississippi Valley State
Mississippi Valley State (3-7) enters the Louisiana Classic after splitting their contests at the Southeastern Louisiana Lion Classic last weekend. The Delta Devilettes topped Alcorn State and Grambling before falling to Samford and Southern on Day 2 of the tournament. MVSU compiled a 34-16 record in 2004, including a first place finish in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

Junior Valerie Nicholson leads the team with a .520 batting average, including a team-high 13 hits, three for extra bases. Junior Thaumica Johnson owns a .500 average, while six other players are batting .300 or better. Junior Jalana Brown boasts a team-high four doubles, eight runs and five RBI, while junior Amber Stewart has also accounted for four doubles and a team-best six RBI. The two are batting .379 and .375 respectively. Juniors Cristal Holmes and Balencia Young lead the team on the basepaths with four steals each as the team is 11-for-12 in stolen base attempts.

Brown (1-2) along with sophomores Elizabeth Imbert (1-2) and Deanna Baker (0-3) have each tossed 18 innings for MVSU. Brown and Baker have each struck out 14 batters, while Imbert has K'ed nine. Sophomore lefty Nicole Henderson (1-0) has struck out five in nine innings of work. As a pitching staff, the quartet own a 8.11 ERA led by Brown's 4.50 average. The staff has allowed 35 extra-base hits, including 13 home runs thus far, while the defense has committed 23 errors behind them. The Delta Devilettes are coached by Lee Smith, who is in his fourth year with the team.

Learning about Louisiana-Lafayette
The No. 5 Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns (8-0) play host to the Louisiana Classic after posting a perfect 8-0 record at home over the past two weekends. Most recently, the team defeated Mississippi State (7-2) and McNeese State (10-0, 6-0) at the Ragin' Cajuns Invitational.

Louisiana-Lafayette has posted a .371 batting average in eight games, led by sophomore first baseman Lacy Bertucci's .542 mark. Bertucci has tallied a team-high 13 hits, 11 RBI and three home runs, while boasting a .621 on-base percentage. Junior right fielder Danyele Gomez, junior second baseman Brittany Bryant and sophomore infielder Tara Hamilton also own averages of .400 or better. Gomez and Bryant each have accounted for 10 runs, while batting .478 and .464 respectively. Bryant also has swiped two bases as the team is 4-for-4 on the basepaths. Hamilton is one of five Ragin' Cajuns that has hit a home run on the young season.

Senior Brooke Mitchell (6-0) has tossed 31 innings, while striking out 56 and owning a 0.45 ERA. Sophomore Heather Bobbitt (2-0) has not allowed an earned run in 11 innings of work, while K'ing 21. Bobbitt and junior Ashley Kirchberg each have registered one save on the season, while Kirchberg has struck out 14 in eight innings on the hill. UL is coached by Stefni Lotief who is in her fifth season with the team.

A Look at the Boilermakers
The Purdue softball team looks to carry over its success in the desert to the bayou after posting a 3-1 record at the Hilton Las Cruces Classic last weekend. The Boilermakers topped Kansas, UMKC and Utah Valley State to mark the first 3-0 start in program history, but fell to Arkansas 7-6 to close out the tournament. Senior Andrea Hillsey batted .750 on the weekend, while junior Diana LaRiva tossed the first perfect game in Purdue history as both earned all-tournament team honors. The duo also picked up Big Ten Player and Pitcher of the Week accolades for their efforts.

Hillsey leads the team with her stellar .750 average, including a 1.167 slugging percentage and a .813 on-base percentage. She posted a team-high nine hits, including three for extra bases and four walks. The second baseman also accounted for seven of the team's runs. Junior Staci Falzon boasted a .444 average, including a triple, while redshirt junior Kristen Schell batted .429 with three hits including a double. Senior Shelli Messer posted two doubles and scored twice, while picking up one of the team's two stolen bases. As a team, Purdue owns a .321 batting average, a .387 on-base percentage and has posted nine extra-base hits.

On the mound, junior Diana LaRiva has allowed just one earned run in 9.2 innings for a 0.72 ERA. LaRiva struck out 17 batters on the weekend, including 11 in her perfect game effort. Sophomore Brooke Baker has K'ed 10 batters in 13 innings of work, while freshman Melissa Burns struck out seven in just over three innings on the hill. The staff owns a 1.62 ERA compared to the 4.42 ERA of their counterparts.

What a Difference a Win Makes ...

If Purdue tops Mississippi Valley State on Friday...

• It will improve the team's starting record to 4-1 for the second-straight season.

• It will move the team's all-time non-conference record to 270-148-2

• It will move the team's all-time record in the month of February to 56-48.

• It will boost the team's all-time neutral site game record to 123-93-1.

Top of the Big Ten
Senior second baseman Andrea Hillsey and junior pitcher Diana LaRiva swept the Big Ten Player and Pitcher of the Week honors after outstanding performances at the Hilton Classic in Las Cruces, N.M. The duo, which were also named to the Classic all-tournament team, became the first Purdue pair to sweep the honors since shortstop Tricia Lilley and pitcher Leighann Burke garnered the recognition on March 25, 2003.

Hillsey dominated the competition in her first weekend back after suffering a season-ending ACL injury a year ago. She opened with a two-run home run in her first at-bat of the season and closed the tournament with a perfect 4-for-4 day at the plate. On the weekend, Hillsey posted a .750 average, tallying nine hits, seven runs and three RBI in 12 at-bats. She also drew a single-game record three walks in the team's contest against UMKC. The Player of the Week accolade is the second of Hillsey's career as she was also recognized on March 6, 2002.

LaRiva accomplished something no other Purdue pitcher had when she tossed a perfect-game no-hitter against UMKC on Friday. The Tustin, Calif. native struck out 11 of the 15 batters she faced and allowed only one ball out of the infield in the game. LaRiva finished the weekend giving up only one earned run, while striking out a total of 16 batters. The Pitcher of the Week honor is the first of LaRiva's career and the first for Purdue since Brooke Baker was so honored on March 29, 2004.

On the Road Again
As is customary for teams in the northern United States, Purdue will spend the first month of its season on the road in hopes of finding warmer climates and good competition. The Boilermakers began the string of road trips in Las Cruces, N.M. The cross-country trek will also include stops in: Lafayette, La.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Atlanta, Ga.; Clearwater, Fla.; and Raleigh, N.C. All total the Purdue players will log more than 9,600 miles before the conference season begins in April. During that time, the team will play teams from 18 different states and 19 different conferences. .

Rewriting the Record Books
The Boilermakers broke or tied four single-game records and two single-season records in 2004. Diana LaRiva struck out a record 17 batters against IPFW on March 27, snapping Jenn Markert's eight-year old record of 16 set on April 25, 1996. Tricia Lilley tied the single-game mark for triples with three against Villanova, February 20, while Erika Peterson and DaQueta Johnson tied the record for home runs in a game with two. Peterson's round trippers came against Penn State on May 2, while Johnson posted her dingers against Dayton on February 22. Johnson also tied teammate Staci Falzon's RBI record with seven in that game against the Flyers.

The Purdue pitching staff struck out a team single-season record 341 batters led by LaRiva's record mark of 196 Ks. LaRiva surpassed Sheryl Scheve's 1998 mark of 188 Ks with a pair against Ohio State on April 30. LaRiva and rookie Brooke Baker combined for six strikeouts that day, which helped the duo pass the 1996 team's record tally of 322 Ks in a season.

Angela Knight tallied four triples in 2004, which tied her for fourth on the single-season list. Brooke Baker ranked among the top five in four different single-season categories. The rookie hurler ranked third with seven shutouts, and fifth in innings pitched (205), complete games (20) and wins (17).

The Boilermakers also broke into the top five in several team single-season categories. The team drew 121 walks, second most all-time, as well as 31 hit-by-pitches, which also ranks them second. The squad launched 28 home runs, good enough for third place, while the team's 64 doubles ranked fourth most in program history. The Purdue pitching staff owned a combined ERA of 1.95, which ranks third all-time, and tossed 34 complete games, good for fifth all-time, including 13 shutouts, which also ranks fifth.

A trio of players put themselves among the career top five lists. Shortstop Tricia Lilley has tallied 16 home runs, good for fourth, while junior Shelli Messer is fifth with 275 assists. LaRiva ranks third in strikeouts (358), fourth in ERA (2.16) and fifth in shutouts (9).