March 11, 2009
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Boilermaker softball team wraps up its non-conference tournament season at the Florida Atlantic Parents' Weekend Classic in Boca Raton, Fla., this weekend. Purdue will face No. 18 Texas A&M, Rutgers, Liberty and Bethune-Cookman at the tournament before taking on the host Owls in a Monday doubleheader. Live statistics for all six games will be available on purduesports.com via the GameTracker feature.
The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: Purdue (11-5) looks to build on a four-game win streak this weekend at the FAU Parents' Weekend Classic. The Boilermaker squad returns 14 letterwinners from the 2008 team that earned the first NCAA Tournament berth and victory in program history and adds three newcomers to the mix. Purdue is coached by Kim Maher, who is her fourth year with the team.
Last Time Out: The Boilermakers posted a 4-1 record at the Buzz Classic in Woodstock, Ga., last weekend. Purdue started the weekend with a 6-5 eight-inning loss to Bowling Green. The team rebounded with four straight wins over Georgia Tech, Indiana State, Jacksonville State and Boston College to finish second in the tournament standings. Sophomore pitcher Suzie Rzegocki received all-tournament team honors for her efforts.
Statistically Speaking: Shortstop Candace Curtis leads a group of four players batting .300 or better. Curtis owns a .340 average with six extra-base hits, including a home run, eight runs and seven RBI. Third baseman Liane Horiuchi (.326), outfielder Beth Cinadr (.300) and catcher Shelby Krammer (.300) follow. Horiuchi has racked up a team-best 11 runs, seven extra base hits, seven RBI, while also posting a 17-for-17 effort on the basepaths. Cinadr has tallied a team-best eight RBI and three home runs. Freshman utility player Molly Garst has contributed seven stolen bases to Purdue's 37-for-41 effort on the basepaths. As a team, the Boilermakers are batting .233 with 10 home runs including three by senior Katie Mitchell.
In the circle, Suzie Rzegocki (9-2) boasts a 1.44 ERA and has recorded 56 strikeouts in 68 innings, including seven complete games and three shutouts. Dana Alcocer (2-3) has struck out 26 in 37 innings, including four complete game efforts. Ashley DiDomenico (0-0) has seen action in three games, while rookie Katie Hackney has seen action in one contest.
Texas A&M: This is the first meeting between the Boilermakers and Aggies.
Rutgers: This is the first meeting between the Boilermakers and the Scarlet Knights.
Liberty (Purdue leads the series 2-0): The Boilermakers have won both previous meetings with the Lady Flames in the series which began on Feb. 20, 1999 at the Triangle Classic in Raleigh, N.C. Purdue took the first contest 4-0 and also won the most recent meeting, a 4-1 decision, at the 2001 Triangle Classic.
Bethune-Cookman (Purdue leads the series 3-0): The Boilermakers have all three previous meetings with the Wildcats in the series which began on Feb. 8, 2002 at the Triple Crown Invitational in St. Augustine, Fla. The teams met again in 2002 with the Boilermakers topping BCC 5-3 at the UTSA Tournament in San Antonio Texas. Purdue also took the most recent meeting with a 2-1 victory on Feb. 11, 2006, at the Florida Atlantic Classic.
Florida Atlantic (The series is tied 1-1): The Owls won the first meeting in the series, topping Purdue 5-0 at the Speedline Invitational on March 9, 2002, in Plant City, Fla. The Boilermakers evened the score with a 4-3 win at the FAU Classic in Boca Raton on Feb. 12, 2006.
What a Difference a Win Makes ...
If the Boilermakers top #18 Texas A&M on Friday...
They will have beaten their second Top 25 opponent of the season, marking the first time since 2000 that the Boilermakers have beaten two ranked teams in the same year. The 2000 squad topped No. 22 Notre Dame and No. 13 Iowa. The 2009 team defeated No. 4 UCLA to start the year.
They will move to 12-5 on the year and extend their current win streak to five games.
They will move to 206-125-2 all-time when playing in the month of March, including a 5-5 mark in contests on March 14.
All About The Aggies
At First Glance: The No. 18 Texas A&M Aggies (18-9) dropped a spot in the national polls after falling to Stephen F. Austin in the final game of the Aggie Invitational last weekend. The Aggies, which posted a 57-10 record and won the Big 12 in 2008, have won 13 of their last 16 games under head coach Jo Evans, who is in her 14th year with the team.
Last Time Out: Texas A&M went 4-1 at their own Aggie Invitational last weekend. The Aggies topped Utah twice, Kent State and Louisiana Tech, before falling to SFA to end the tournament.
Statistically Speaking: Eight Aggie players boast batting averages of .250 or better led by second baseman Natalie Villarreal's .403 effort. Outfielder Holly Ridley (.346), infielder Alex Reynolds (.317), outfielder Kelsey Spittler (.293), catcher Erin Glasco (.282), first baseman/outfielder Taryn Broussard (.281), shortstop Macie Morrow (.257) and pitcher/first baseman Rhiannon Kliesing (.256) round out the group. Ridley has accounted for a team-leading 16 extra-base hits, including seven home runs, while plating a team-high 22 RBI and scoring 21 runs. Reynolds has added two home runs and scored a team-high 22 runs, while Kliesing has tallied four home runs. As a team, the Aggies are batting .298 with 22 home runs and 30 stolen bases.
Kliesing leads Texas A&M in the pitching circle with a 12-5 record, a 1.73 ERA and 112 strikeouts in 125 innings of work. Freshman Rebecca Arbino has posted a 6-4 mark with 42 strikeouts in 60 innings. Senior lefty Savana Lloyd and Reynolds have seen limited action.
Scouting The Scarlet Knights
At First Glance: The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (6-8) look to build on a two-game win streak at the FAU Parents' Weekend Classic this weekend. Rutgers, which is in its third year under coach Jay Nelson, posted a 23-32 record including a ninth-place Big East Conference finish in 2008.
Last Time Out: The Scarlet Knights recorded a 3-2 mark at the Worth Invitational in Northridge, Calif., last weekend. Rutgers split contests with Cal State Northridge and Quinnipiac, while also topping Portland State.
Statistically Speaking: Outfielder Amanda Heller paces the Rutgers offense with a .389 average and seven runs. Outfielder Lindsey Curran (.308), first baseman Mandy Craig (.286), catcher/utility player Mikelyn Messina (.286) and shortstop Mickenzie Alden (.268) also are batting better than .250. Messina has driven in a team-best four RBI, while Craig and Alden each have tallied two doubles. Alden also has accounted for three of the team's 11 stolen bases. As a team, the Scarlet Knights are batting .213 with five home runs.
Junior Nicole Lindley (5-2) leads Rutgers in the circle with 34 strikeouts and a 1.88 ERA in 44 innings. Freshman Holly Johnson (1-3) has struck out 14 in 26 innings, while senior Chrissy Yard (0-3) and freshman Noelle Sisco have combined for 11 Ks in 22 innings.
Facts About The Lady Flames
At First Glance: The Liberty Lady Flames continue their spring break trip this week with a Monday doubleheader against Jacksonville, a Tuesday twin bill with Stetson and a Thursday contest with Florida Atlantic before competing in the FAU Parents' Weekend Classic. Liberty posted a 20-40-1 in 2008 and tied for fourth in the Big South Conference.
Last Time Out: The Lady Flames went 1-3 at the Florida State Invitational last weekend. Liberty fell to Middle Tennessee State, No. 25 Florida State and Troy before wrapping up the tournament with a 5-2 win over Middle Tennessee State.
Statistically Speaking: Jenna Eatmon and Jenny Law lead the Liberty offense with averages of .273 and .270 respectively. Kaylee West follows with a .241 average including five RBI. Infielder Beth Bennett has tallied a team-best six RBI, five runs and three home runs, while batting .182. Infielder Danielle Howard owns a .217 average and has swiped two of the team's five stolen bases. As a team, Liberty is batting .185 with 16 extra base hits. The Lady Flames have scored 26 runs, while allowing 73 thus far in 2009.
Sophomore Tiffani Smith (3-3) has done the bulk of the pitching for the team, racking up 37 strikeouts in 45 innings including a shutout and a save. Senior Sarah Ellis (1-6) has added 16 Ks to the team's tally in 26 innings of work. Freshmen Allyson Hudson and Brittany Keeney also have seen limited action.
Words About The Wildcats
At First Glance: The Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (6-17) are slated to play a Wednesday doubleheader against Kennesaw State in Daytona Beach before making their way to Boca Raton for the Parents' Weekend Classic. BCC, in its third year under coach Chris Cochran, is looking to improve on its 21-36 record and fourth-place Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference finish from a year ago.
Last Time Out: The Wildcats went 1-3 at the Florida State Invitational last weekend, topping Middle Tennessee State and falling to Troy twice and No. 25 Florida State.
Statistically Speaking: Outfielder Ashton Hinds (.333) and pitcher/infielder Allison Garcia (.328) pace the Wildcat offense. Garcia has tallied two home runs and 10 RBI, while Hinds has posted four doubles, a home run and a team-best 16 runs. Hinds has swiped five bases as has utility player Simone Ceasar, who boasts a .274 average and 12 runs scored. Pitcher/utility player Taryn Hernandez (.263) and catcher/utility player Sabrina Ferguson (.262) also are batting above .250. Ferguson has managed a team-best five extra base hits and nine RBI, a tally matched by infielder Celsey Tafoya (.221). As a team, Bethune-Cookman is batting .236 with four home runs and 23 stolen bases. The Wildcats have been outscored 114 to 56.
Garcia (4-9) and sophomore Chastity Sanders (2-6) have split time in the circle for BCC. Garcia has struck out 53 batters in 98 innings and thrown 13 complete games. For her part, Sanders has issued 29 Ks in 53 innings and thrown seven complete games.
An Overview of the Owls
At First Glance: The Florida Atlantic Owls are slated to play Liberty in a single-game on Thursday before playing host to their second-straight home tournament. The Owls are coming off a 34-26 season, which also included a second-place Sun Belt finish under 14th-year coach Joan Joyce.
Last Time Out: The Owls went 2-3 at their own Miken Classic last weekend. FAU topped Columbia and Towson, while falling to Central Michigan, Stony Brook and Harvard.
Statistically Speaking: Utility player Caitlyn Bliss boasts a team-best .388 average with six doubles, three triples, 10 RBI and eight runs. Outfielder Ambar Jones (.290), shortstop Blair Bodenmiller (.288) and infielder Amy Bukovich (.254) follow. Bodenmiller has added five extra-base hits to the team's tally including two home runs, while also posting a team-best 12 runs, nine RBI and nine stolen bases. Jones has scored nine runs and added seven RBI and six steals, while Bukovich has accounted for six extra-base hits, including two triples, and seven runs. As a team, the Owls are batting .236 with three home runs and 24 stolen bases.
Four pitchers have shared time in the circle for FAU. Freshman Carrie Ann Potter (4-1) boasts a team-best 0.15 ERA with 29 strikeouts in 45 innings, including three shutouts and three saves. Sophomore Rose Gressley (3-6) has struck out 24 in 48 innings and tossed one shutout. Redshirt junior Kat Stauffer (4-2) has added 19 Ks in 41 innings and four complete games, while junior Amber Barton (2-3) has struck out 24 in 32 innings of work. As a staff, the quartet own a 2.81 ERA and have allowed opponents a .245 average.
The Boilermakers kicked off the 2009 campaign by doing something no other Purdue softball team had before, topping No. 4 UCLA 2-1 on Feb. 7. Prior to the contest, Purdue was 0-18 against Top 5 teams in program history. The victory surpasses wins over No. 7 Baylor in 2008 and No. 7 Texas in 1999 for the mark of highest ranked foe ever defeated by a Boilermaker side.
Isn't 100 Grand?
Fourth-year head coach Kim Maher reached the 100-win milestone for her career as the Boilermakers topped Pacific 8-1 on Feb. 8. Purdue is now 109-90-1 in her three-plus year tenure at the helm.
Sophomore pitcher Suzie Rzegocki was named Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week March 9 after posting a 4-0 record with a 0.64 ERA and 18 strikeouts over 22 innings of work and garnering all-tournament team honors at the Buzz Classic. The Lemont, Ill., native held opponents to a .156 average and just two earned runs, while pitching two shutouts. She struck out eight in a complete-game effort against Georgia Tech, then followed that with a five strikeout performance in a complete-game shutout of Indiana State. Rzegocki pitched two innings of relief against Jacksonville State, striking out one and holding the Gamecocks without a hit to garner her third win of the weekend. The sophomore fanned four batters in six innings against Boston College, while allowing four hits in the six-inning shutout.
After helping the Boilermakers chalk up the biggest win in Purdue softball history, a 2-1 victory over No. 4 UCLA on Feb. 7, senior pitcher Dana Alcocer was rewarded for her performance with Big Ten Co-Pitcher of the Week honors.
Alcocer earned the complete game victory as the Boilermakers topped the No. 4 Bruins 2-1, the team's first Top 5 win in program history. The senior allowed just two hits in the game, while striking out four. After working out of a bases loaded jam in the first inning, the Tucson, Ariz., native settled in, taking down 18 of the next 23 batters. Alcocer had a one-hitter going with two outs in the seventh, before allowing the Bruins a second hit.
The Player of the Week accolade is the first for Alcocer, who posted a 19-14 record for the Boilermakers in 2008, while tossing 138 strikeouts and 17 complete games in 198.2 innings.
And The Honor Goes To...
Outfielders Christina Trauger and Ashley Barr received all-tournament team honors at the Auburn War Eagle Classic, Feb. 21-22. Each batted .333 to lead the Boilermaker offense as it posted a 3-1 record. Trauger added a double, three RBI, two runs and a stolen base to the team's tally, while Barr managed three hits, a run and a stolen base.
Pitcher Suzie Rzegocki earned all-tournament team honors at the Buzz Classic, March 13-15. The sophomore posted a 4-0 record at the tournament with a 0.64 ERA, 18 strikeouts and three complete games in 22 innings of work.
A Tough Slate
In 2009, the Boilermakers are slated to face 12 NCAA Tournament teams, including UCLA, which advanced to the 2008 Women's College World Series. Based on the preseason NFCA rankings, Purdue will take on No. 4 UCLA in non-conference play, and No. 8 Michigan and No. 9 Northwestern during Big Ten play. Four other Purdue opponents received votes in the preseason poll.
Senior infielder/designated player Katie Mitchell is just four home runs away from the career record of 32 owned by Katie Crabtree (1999-2002) and Heidi Foster (2000-2003). The Crown Point, Ind., native also ranks among the career top five for slugging percentage (2nd with .545), on-base percentage (5th with .378) and walks (5th with 65). Mitchell also is set to earn a spot in the career rankings for doubles, runs and RBI, needing just five RBI, six doubles and nine runs to enter the top five listings. In 2007, the infielder set the Purdue single-season records for runs (54), RBI (54), home runs (14) and slugging percentage (.697).
Senior shortstop Candace Curtis has tallied 18 home runs in her career, ranking her fifth on the career top five list. The Danville, Calif., native also is approaching the career walks top five, having posted 54 thus far, just 11 behind Mitchell's fifth-place tally. By season's end, Curtis also is on pace to break into the career assists top five.
A trio of Boilermakers are within striking distance of the career listings for sacrifice bunts. Senior second baseman Kelly Miller, junior outfielder Ashley Barr and Curtis are nearing closer to the fifth-place mark of 40 sacrifices posted by Mandy Smart from 1996-99. Miller currently has 35, while Barr has recorded 31 and Curtis has added 30. Miller set the single-season record for sacrifices in 2008 with a team and Big Ten leading tally of 25, which ranked third nationally.
Pitcher Katie Hackney and infielders Molly Garst and Liane Horiuchi join the Boilermaker ranks in 2009. Horiuchi sat out the 2008 season after transferring from Tennessee, where she played on the Lady Vols' Women's College World Series team in 2007. Hackney, a freshman from Huntington, Ind., was Indiana's Gatorade Player of the Year in 2008. Garst, a rookie from Webb City, Mo., was a four-time all-state selection as a prepster.
Senior Alicia Spack has filled a variety of roles since transferring to Purdue following the 2006 season. The West Lafayette, Ind., native, has seen time at designated player, first base, second base, left field and right field during the last two years. Spack, however, is returning to her natural position and will battle for the catcher's position in 2009. The senior played catcher in high school and was recruited to Florida as such before returning home to West Lafayette following her freshman season.
Junior Kaity Stratten is making the transition to full-time pitcher following a 2008 campaign which saw her in mostly an offensive role. Stratten acted as a pinch hitter or designated player on occasion in 2007 and 2008, tallying two hits, a solo home run and a grand slam, in 17 at-bats. Stratten joined the team's pitching corps midway through 2008 in a limited role, tossing a scoreless inning against No. 10 Stanford.
The Boilermaker coaching staff of head coach Kim Maher, assistant coach Linda Garza and assistant coach Boo Gillette was honored by its peers with NFCA Mideast Region Coaching Staff of the Year accolades. The honor was announced by the NFCA following the 2008 season, which was an historical one for the Purdue side.
A Look Back at 2008
The 2008 Boilermakers earned the first NCAA Tournament berth in program history, making an appearance in the Los Angeles Regional in May. Purdue not only played in the Regional, but garnered the program's first NCAA Tournament win with a 4-3 victory over Cal State Fullerton in an elimination game. The win was yet another highlight of a season which included a victory over No. 7 Baylor, marking the highest ranked opponent a Purdue team had beaten in program lore. The Boilermakers also posted their ninth straight 30-win season, reaching the milestone victory in record time, in just 44 games. The team's final tally of 35 wins was the most for a Purdue team since 1997 (41-25).