Game Notes 4: Easton Crimson Classic

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM The Boilermakers will face stiff competition at the Easton Crimson Classic, taking on three 2013 NCAA Tournament teams and two among the Top 15.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
The Boilermakers will face stiff competition at the Easton Crimson Classic, taking on three 2013 NCAA Tournament teams and two among the Top 15.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

Feb. 26, 2014

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The Slate
Easton Crimson Classic
John & Ann Rhoads Softball Stadium ~ Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Live Stats: purduesports.com
Video (Alabama):< href="http://bit.ly/1mCYulj">here

Friday, Feb. 28
2:30 p.m. vs. Florida State
5 p.m. at Alabama

Saturday, March 1
Noon vs. Florida State
7 p.m. vs. Houston

Sunday, March 2
Noon vs. Houston

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: Purdue (5-7-1) will head to the state of Alabama for the second straight weekend, when it makes it way to Tuscaloosa for the Easton Crimson Classic. 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. Head coach Kim 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 1-3 record at the Wilson/DeMarini Classic in Auburn, Ala., last weekend. Purdue fell to Samford (6-3) and Jacksonville State (2-1) on Saturday and split contests with Mississippi Valley State (W 12-0) and Auburn (L 0-8) on Sunday. The win over MVSU featured a no-hitter by junior Alex Whittemore, the 16th in program history and first since 2010.

Statistically Speaking: First baseman Ashley Burkhardt (.450) and outfielder Andie Varsho (.421) lead the Boilermaker bats, while four other players are batting .250 or better. Burkhardt boasts a .450 average, including seven doubles and four home runs, as well as a team-best 18 RBI and 12 runs scored. Varsho has added 12 runs and nine stolen bases. Catcher Danielle Fletcher (.306), outfielder Maia Monchek (.296), outfielder Lindsey Rains (.289) and catcher Katy McJunkin (.278) follow. Fletcher has driven in eight RBI and launched three home runs, while Rains has added four doubles, two home runs and 11 RBI. As a team, the Boilers are batting .307 with 11 home runs and 24 stolen bases.

In the circle, the Purdue staff has combined for 67 strikeouts in 80 innings. Sophomore Lilly Fecho (3-4) has done the bulk of the pitching, striking out 42 batters in 42 innings, including six complete games. Junior Lexy Moore (1-3) has added 11 Ks in 15 innings, while senior Lauren Grant has struck out seven batters in 11 innings. Junior Alex Whittemore has issued seven Ks in 11 innings, including a complete-game no-hitter, and owns a 1.27 ERA.

Series Information
Florida State (FSU leads the series 3-1): The Seminoles have won three of the previous four meetings in the series which began on Feb. 13, 1998 at the Coca-Cola Classic in Phoenix, Ariz. The team faced off three times in 1998 with FSU taking the first two and Purdue winning the third, a 1-0 decision at the FSU Tournament in Tallahassee. The Seminoles won the most recent meeting, a 8-0 victory at the Sunshine Classic on Feb. 15, 2009 in Tallahassee.

Alabama (Alabama leads the series 2-0): The Crimson Tide won both previous meetings with the Boilermakers at the Hampton Inn Bama Bash in 2008. Then No. 4 Alabama took a Feb. 8 contest 8-0 and a Feb. 9 game 11-0.

Houston (The series is tied 1-1): The Boilermakers and Cougars split the previous two meetings of the series. Purdue took a 4-3 win at the Marriott Houston Classic on Feb. 20, 2010, while the Cougars won a 3-1 decision on March 14, 2013.

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

• They will move to 6-7-1 on the season.

• They will have defeated their second Top 25 foe of the season (alongside No. 10 Texas) and the 31st in program history. (9 top 10 teams)

• They will move to 126-103-1 all-time in the month of February, including a 4-3 mark on Feb. 28.

• It would move the team's record to 251-181-1 all-time in neutral site non-conference games.

Scouting The Seminoles
At First Glance: The No. 9 Florida State Seminoles (13-1) will play a Wednesday game at Auburn before travelling to Tuscaloosa for the Easton Crimson Classic. The Seminoles return 14 letterwinners, including eight starters and three pitchers, from the 2013 team that went 44-19 including regular season ACC title and an appearance in the NCAA Super Regionals. FSU is coached by Lonni Alameda, who is in her sixth year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Seminoles went 2-0 last weekend, topping Charleston Southern (8-2) and UC Santa Barbara (5-2) at FSU's own Unconquered Classic. The team's Sunday games were cancelled due to rain.

Statistically Speaking: Shortstop Maddie O'Brien leads the FSU bats with a .486 average, six home runs, 25 RBI and 14 runs. Seven other players are batting .250 or better. Outfielder Courtney Senas (.417), outfielder Stephanie Hartness (.391), second baseman Tiffani Brown (.383), catcher Celeste Gomez (.292), third baseman Briana Hamilton (.273), utility player Ellie Cooper (.267) and first baseman Victoria East (.250) make up the group. Brown has scored a team-leading 23 runs and swiped 11 bases. Senas and Hamilton each have added two home runs, while Senas also has scored 16 runs and driven in 16 RBI. As a team, FSU is batting .345 with 11 home runs and 24 stolen bases.

Junior Lacey Waldrop and redshirt freshman Jessica Burroughs have done the bulk of the pitching for the Seminoles. Waldrop (7-1) boasts an 0.57 ERA with 57 strikeouts and a shutout in 49 innings of work. Burroughs (6-0) has issued 29 Ks in 27.2 innings and owns a 1.27 ERA. Redshirt senior Jessica Nori (0-0) has added six Ks in seven innings with a save, while junior Bailey Schinella has tossed three innings. The staff has held foes to a .172 average.

Chatting About the Crimson Tide
At First Glance: The No. 11 Alabama Crimson Tide (13-3) played a Tuesday game at UAB before returning home to playing host to their second straight tournament. The Tide returns 14 letterwinners, including eight starters and two pitchers, from the 2013 team which went 45-15, finished seventh in the SEC and advanced to the NCAA Super Regionals. Alabama is coached by Patrick Murphy, who is in his 16th year with the team.

Last Time Out: Alabama went 4-1 at its own Easton Bama Bash last weekend. The Tide topped Virginia Tech (8-0, 14-5) and UCF (8-3, 1-0) twice each, but fell to McNeese State (5-3) in the tournament finale. The Crimson Tide topped UAB 5-0 on Tuesday.

Statistically Speaking: Outfielder Haylie McCleney paces the Alabama offense with a .595 average, 25 runs, 18 RBI, 10 stolen bases and five home runs. Infielder Kaila Hunt (.410), infielder Danielle Richard (.348), utility player Kallie Case (.333), utility player Jadyn Spencer (.286) and infielder Danae Hays (.267) follow. Hunt has driven in 11 RBI and launched three home runs, while Case has added 12 runs and seven stolen bases. Hays has lifted a team-best five homers and driven in 14 RBI. As a team, Alabama is batting .347 with 18 home runs and 32 stolen bases.

Junior Leslie Jury (6-1), senior Jaclyn Traina (3-2) and freshman Sydney Littlejohn (4-0) have split time in the circle. Jury boasts a staff best 1.55 ERA with 34 strikeouts and five shutouts in 40 innings, while holding foes to a .177 average. Traina has added 39 Ks in 30 innings with a 2.10 ERA, while Littlejohn has struck out 25 batters in 26 innings with one shutouts and a 2.13 ERA. The staff is holding opponents to a .188 average.

Hearing About Houston
At First Glance: The Houston Cougars (9-2) play their first game away from home on Wednesday at Texas A&M before continuing on to Tuscaloosa. The Cougars return nine letterwinners, including six starters and three pitchers, from the 2013 team which went 41-20, finished second in Conference USA play and advanced to the NCAA Regionals. Houston is coached by Kyla Holas, who is in her 14th year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Cougars have played their first 11 games at home, posting a 4-1 record at their most recent tournament, the Houston Hilton Plaza Invite. The took a pair of games from Columbia (17-0, 5-4) and Nicholls State (15-1, 12-4), but fell to North Dakota State (1-3).

Statistically Speaking: All nine Cougar starters are batting .273 or better. Utility player Selena Hernandez (.488) leads the way with 14 RBI, 14 runs and nine extra base hits, including three home runs. Outfielder Katie St. Pierre (.417), catcher Haley Outon (.414), utility player Kayla Holland (.410), infielder Jamie Edwards (.371), infielder Kris Davila (.346), outfielder Tiffani McKnight (.300), outfielder Sydney Gerbracht (.292) and infielder Kenda Cullum (.273) round out the group. Outon has driven in a team-best 18 RBI, while adding 14 runs and five home runs. St. Pierre also has scored 14 runs and added four stolen bases, while Holland has accounted for 13 runs and 11 RBI. Davila has launched three home runs. As a team, Houston is batting .371 with 18 home runs and 11 stolen bases.

Senior Diedre Outon (4-1), junior Summer Groholski (3-0) and sophomore Julana Shrum (2-1) have divided time in the circle. Outon boasts a team-best 0.44 ERA with 15 strikeouts and two shutouts in 31 innings. Groholski has added 15 Ks in 25 innings and Shrum has chipped in three strikeouts in 13 innings. The staff is allowing opponents a .246 average.

Whittemore Throws No-Hitter vs. Mississippi Valley State
Junior pitcher Alex Whittemore tossed the 16th no-hitter in program history and first since 2010 in a 12-0 victory over Mississippi Valley State on Feb. 23. Whittemore issued four strikeouts in the contest and allowed just one walk. A throwing error accounted for MVSU's only other base runner in the game.