Game Notes 6: Sam Houston State, Houston

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Purdue plays a Tuesday doubleheader at Sam Houston State and a Thursday game at Houston to wrap up non-conference play.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Purdue plays a Tuesday doubleheader at Sam Houston State and a Thursday game at Houston to wrap up non-conference play.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

March 11, 2013

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MultiMedia Information
SHSU Softball Complex ~ Huntsville, Texas
Tuesday, March 12: 5 p.m. at Sam Houston State (DH)
Live Stats: purduesports.com

Cougar Softball Stadium ~ Houston, Texas
Thursday, March 14: 7:30 p.m. at Houston
Live Stats: purduesports.com
Video ($): http://bit.ly/YNpOeh

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: Purdue (11-12) 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.

Last Time Out: The Boilermakers dropped a three-game set to No. 20 Baylor in Waco last weekend. Purdue fell 8-0 (6 innings), 1-0 and 4-0.

Statistically Speaking: The Boilermakers are batting .263 on the season, led by a group of five battters hitting .250 or better. Outfielder Andie Varsho leads the way with a .425 average, 11 RBI, 12 runs and 12 stolen bases. Second baseman Ashley Burkhardt boasts a .338 average with a team-best 16 runs, eight RBI and seven steals. Shortstop/designated player Mary Gooding (.333), third baseman CJ Parsons (.286), outfielder Lindsey Rains (.250) follow. Catcher Danielle Fletcher (.239) has driven in a team-best 14 RBI and tallied a team-leading nine extra base hits, including two home runs. Rains has scored 14 runs, and also boasts one home run and seven stolen bases. The Boilermakers are 51-for-64 in stolen base attempts.

Four pitchers are splitting time in the circle for Purdue. The group has combined for a 2.26 ERA and 93 strikeouts. Freshman Lilly Fecho (5-6) has struck out 47 batters in 69 innings, including five complete games and a save. Sophomore Lexy Moore (3-5) has struck out 31 batters in 53 innings, including a shutout, while sophomore Alex Whittemore (1-0) has struck out 11 in 14 innings and boasts a 0.50 ERA. Senior Erika Petruzzi has issued four Ks in 15 innings of work, including a shutout.

Series Information Sam Houston State:This is the first meeting between the Boilermakers and the Bearkats.

Houston (Purdue leads the series 1-0): The Boilermakers won the lone previous meeting with the Cougars, taking a 4-3 decision on Feb. 20, 2010, at the Marriott Houston Classic.

What a Difference a Win Makes ...
If the Boilermakers top Sam Houston State in Game 1 on Tuesday... • They will move to 12-12 on the season and snap a three-game losing streak. • They will move to 247-157-2 all-time in the month of March, including a 9-9 mark on March 12. • It would move the team's record to 107-73-4 all-time in non-conference road games.

A Bit About the Bearkats
At First Glance: The Sam Houston State Bearkats (10-14) kick off a six-game homestand when they play host to the Boilermakers on Tuesday. The Bearkats return 12 letterwinners, including seven starters, from the 2012 team that posted a 29-21 record and finished second in the Southland Conference. SHSU is coached by Bob Brock, who is in his 12th year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Bearkats went 2-2 last week defeating Texas State 14-13 in a Wednesday home game before going 1-2 in a weekend series at Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond, La.

Statistically Speaking: Outfielder Tori Benavidez (.400) and pitcher Cecilia Castillo (.359) pace the Bearkat bats. Benavidez has scored a team-best 16 runs and swiped a team-best seven bases, while Castillo has driven in 14 RBI, scored 12 runs and launched four home runs. Outfielder Jessica Slater (.316), infielder Hillary Adams (.309), outfielder Kim Damian (.264) and infielder Alyssa Coggins (.250) also are batting above .250. Adams has driven in a team-best 27 RBI and lifted a team-best eight home runs, while Damian has accounted for three home runs and Coggins has scored 13 runs. As a team, Sam Houston State is batting .260 with 18 home runs and 20 stolen bases.

Junior Shelby Lancaster (6-4) has done the bulk of the pitching for the team along with sophomore Haley Baros (3-7). Lancaster boasts a 2.81 ERA, has thrown three shutouts and struck out 28 batters in 79 innings. Baros has issued 24 Ks in 49 innings of work. Sophomore Meme Quinn (1-3) has struck out 20 batters in 29 innings. Three other pitchers have seen time in the circle for SHSU. The staff is allowing opposing teams a .299 average.

Chatting About the Cougars
At First Glance: The Houston Cougars (13-7) begin a four-game homestand when they play host to the Boilermakers on Thursday for their Striking Out Breast Cancer game. The Cougars return 14 letterwinners, including five starters, from the 2012 team that posted a 35-24 record, finished third in Conference USA play and advanced to the NCAA Regionals. Houston is coached by Kyla Holas, who is in her 13th year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Cougars swept a three-game series at Southern Miss by scores of 7-0, 5-3 and 10-2 (6) over the weekend.

Statistically Speaking: Infielder Holly Anderson leads the Cougar bats with a .413 average, including a team-best 15 runs, 13 RBI and five stolen bases. Five other players are batting .250 or better. Outfielder Katie St. Pierre (.320), outfielder Reina Gaber (.318), catcher Haley Outon (.327), utility player Kayla Holland (.317), and outfielder Taylor Duplechain (.255) make up the group. Outon has driven in a team-best 15 RBI, scored 15 runs and launched five of the team's 11 home runs. St. Pierre has scored 13 runs and Gaber has added 12. Duplechain boasts a team-best six steals. As a team, Houston is batting .279 and has stolen 21 bases.

Redshirt junior Bailey Watts (6-2) and sophomore Summer Groholski (5-2) have split pitching duties for the Cougars. Watts boasts a 2.26 ERA, has struck out 44 batters and thrown two shutouts in 55 innings.Groholski owns a 1.65 ERA and has struck out 26 batters in 42 innings. Freshman Julana Strum (1-1) and junior Diedre Outon (1-2) also have seen time in the circle. Strum boasts a 2.39 ERA and has struck out six batters in 14 innings, while Outon has issued 10 Ks in 16 innings.

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. Junior outfielder Andie Varsho also reached the feat, swiping three bases against Texas A&M - Corpus Christi on March 2. Ten players have registered a three-steal effort, marking 23 occurrences.

Varsho tallied the 10th triple of her Purdue career against North Texas, March 2, moving her into a tie for fourth on the career triples list. Five other players have been credited with 10 triples.

Fletcher Joins Elite Group with Grand Slam
Junior catcher Danielle Fletcher launched a grand slam in the team's March 3 contest against Texas State, marking the second of her career and just the 22nd in program history. Eighteen different players have lifted a grand slam, but just four, including Fletcher, have done so more than once.

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. No all-tournament team was named at the Hillenbrand Invitational or Texas A&M Invitational.

Rains, Courtney Receive Preseason Honors
Two Boilermakers !were named to the College Sports Madness Big Ten Preseason All-Conference team on Jan. 11 as senior infielder Ashley Courtney and junior outfielder Lindsey Rains garnered second team honors. Both Courtney and Rains were named to the website's Big Ten All-Conference first team at the end of the 2012 campaign.

Courtney was a third team All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten honoree in 2012 after posting a .350 average including 13 doubles, two triples and three home runs. She started all 53 of the team's games, 44 at first base and nine at second base. The Lafayette, Ind., native ranked among the top 10 in the conference in fielding double plays (5th with 14), triples (6th), doubles (9th) and on-base percentage (9th with .457). Courtney reached base via hit or walk in 45 games and drove in a team-best 34 RBI, including eight game-winners. She capped the season with offensive co-MVP honors.

Rains, a first team All-Big Ten selection in 2011, started all 53 games, 52 in center field and one in right field a year ago. The Fullerton, Calif., native posted a team-best .361 average, including eight doubles, four triples, which ranked 28th nationally, and four home runs. She reached base via hit, walk or hit by pitch in 49 games, including a team-best 13-game hit streak. Rains also stole 25 bases, second most on the team, third most in the Big Ten and ranked 39th nationally. The outfielder drove in a team-leading 34 RBI and also ranked among the Big Ten's best in triples (2nd), batting average (7th), runs (8th with 43) and hits (9th with 61).

Purdue Softball Celebrates 20th Season
The Boilermaker softball program will play its 20th season in 2013. In the last 19 years, 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.