April 6, 2006
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - After a five-game home stand, the Boilermaker softball team hits the road again for weekend contests against Michigan State and Michigan. Purdue will face off against the Spartans Friday and Saturday, before playing a Sunday doubleheader with the Wolverines.
Michigan State (Purdue leads the series 14-13): The Spartans won five of the first six contests in the series which began on March 25, 1995. The teams then split the next six contests, before Purdue posted a four-game win streak from April 12, 1998 to April 10, 1999. The teams then split the next six contests from 2000 to 2002. MSU then won three in a row, but the Boilermakers have taken the last three meetings, including a doubleheader sweep last season.
Michigan (UM leads the series 25-1): The Wolverines won the first nine contests in the series which began on March 25, 1995. Purdue tallied its only win of the series with a 3-1 victory on April 8, 1997. Michigan has won the last 16 contests, including two in extra innings.
A Look at the Boilermakers
The Purdue softball team brings a 22-18 record into the weekend after posting a 7-0 win over Ball State on Tuesday. The Boilermakers are 2-2 in the Big Ten after splitting conference games with Penn State and Ohio State last weekend.
The Boilermaker starters each own a batting average of better than .250, while three players are batting over .300 for the season. Senior shortstop Tricia Lilley (.357) leads the group, followed by sophomore outfielder Tiffany Krcelich (.330) and senior outfielder Staci Falzon (.328). Lilley has scored a team-best 27 runs, while also tallying seven doubles and swiping 10 bases. Falzon has recorded four doubles and 10 steals. Freshman third baseman Katie Mitchell (.294), junior outfielder DaQueta Johnson (.289), senior first baseman Becky Stone (.282), junior catcher Erika Peterson (.281) and senior designated player Kristen Schell (.253) also have contributed to the Boilermaker offense. Johnson has supplied 16 extra-base hits, including eight home runs, while Peterson has laid down a team-best 10 sacrifices. As a team, Purdue is batting .291 with 18 home runs.
Junior Brooke Baker (12-9) has struck out 94 batters in 146 innings of work, including 17 complete game efforts. Senior Diana LaRiva (8-8) has K'ed 87 batters and held opponents to a .210 average in 98 innings in the circle. Sophomore Melissa Burns (2-0) has struck out 12 in 11 innings of action.
Scouting the Spartans
The Michigan State Spartans (23-11, 2-0 Big Ten) enter the weekend after splitting a Tuesday doubleheader with Oakland. The Spartans swept IPFW and Minnesota last week.
Sophomore outfielder Nikki Nicosia leads a group of six players that are batting over .300. Nicosia boasts a .348 average and leads the team with 21 runs and 13 stolen bases. Sophomore infielder Traci Nicosia (.316), junior outfielder Nicole Mercado (.315), junior designated player Dana Rosenblatt (.306), junior first baseman Dayna Feenstra (.304), and sophomore outfielder Jessica LeFevre (.302) also average better than .300. Rosenblatt has hit three home runs, while Traci Nicosia has tallied eight doubles and 13 runs. Feenstra leads the team with 30 RBI, 11 doubles and six home runs. Freshman second baseman Gina Mondo (.272) has launched two home runs and swiped five bases, while sophomore third baseman Caitlin Mahoney has hit three home runs. As a team, the Spartans are batting .289.
Sophomore Lesley Noel (6-3) leads the MSU pitching staff with an 1.03 ERA and has struck out 36 batters in 68 innings. Freshman Megan Hair (6-3) has K'ed 37 in 54 innings, while junior Rachel Turney (10-5) has fanned 92 batters in 106 innings of work including 12 complete games. As a staff, the pitchers are limiting opponents to a .198 batting average. Michigan State is coached by Jacquie Joseph, who is in her 13th year with the team.
Words about the Wolverines
The No. 12 Michigan Wolverines (22-9, 2-0 Big Ten) swept Western Michigan in a Tuesday doubleheader before returning to conference play against the Boilermakers and Indiana Hoosiers this weekend. The Wolverines topped Bowling Green and swept Minnesota during play last week.
Senior catcher Becky Marx leads the team with a .348 batting average including 10 home runs, six doubles and 32 RBI. Sophomore outfielder Alessandra Giampaolo (.340), sophomore first baseman Samantha Findlay (.322) and senior second baseman Tiffany Haas (.307) follow, while junior outfielder Rebekah Milian (.270) and senior third baseman Grace Leutele (.250) also are batting above .250. Giampaolo has scored a team-best 25 runs, while Haas has posted seven doubles and three home runs. Findlay has accounted for a team-best 13 extra-base hits including six home runs, while Leutele also has added four long balls. Senior outfielder Stephanie Bercaw leads the team with six stolen bases and 11 sacrifice hits. As a team, the Wolverines are batting .267.
Senior Jennie Ritter (11-4) leads Michigan in the pitching circle with a 0.84 ERA including 185 strikeouts in 108 innings of work including six shutouts. Junior Lorilyn Wilson (9-4) has fanned 101 batters in 83 innings including seven shutouts, while boasting a 1.34 ERA. Freshman Stacy Delaney also has seen time in the circle. Michigan is coached by Carol Hutchins, who is in her 22nd year with the team.
The Boilermakers in the Big Ten
Purdue is looking to build on last year's seventh place conference finish, which saw the team post a 10-10 record in league play last season and earn its first Big Ten Tournament berth since 2000. The Boilermakers matched the highest win total since 1997 in conference play with the 10-10 mark. The team also posted some milestone victories, topping a Top 25 team for the first time since the 2001 season with a 2-1 win over then No. 24 Iowa on April 9. The win over the Hawkeyes marked the first Purdue victory over Iowa since the 2000 season. Purdue also beat Ohio State for the first time since 2000.
What a Difference a Win Makes ...
If Purdue tops Michigan State on Friday...
The team will move to 23-18 on the season.
The team will extend its advantage in the all-time series with the Spartans to 15-13, including a four-game win streak.
The team will extend its current win streak to three games.
The team will move to 4-4 all-time when playing on April 7.
A Rare Sight
On Tuesday, April 4, three Boilermaker pitchers (Diana LaRiva, Melissa Burns and Brooke Baker) combined to throw a no-hitter against instate foe Ball State. LaRiva started the game and struck out four in three innings of work, before Burns took over in the circle, also striking out four in two innings of action. Baker finished out the no-no, fanning two in the final two stanzas. The Purdue pitchers faced just 22 batters, walking none and allowing only one ball out of the infield in the contest. Two defensive miscues kept the Boilermakers from serving a perfect game.
The no-hitter was the 13th in Purdue history and only the second combined no-no by Boilermaker pitchers. More impressive, however, is that it is the first of its kind in the Big Ten Conference and one of only a handful in NCAA history. Arizona, Baylor, Canisius Georgia and Mississippi State also boast the accomplishment. A listing of known trifecta no-hitters follows.
March 20, 1999 Canisius vs. Niagara Feb. 13, 2002 Mississippi State vs. Belmont Feb. 21, 2002 Baylor vs. Stephen F. Austin March 9, 2005 Georgia vs. Charlotte May 21, 2005 Arizona vs. Lehigh April 4, 2006 Purdue vs. Ball State
Sophomore left fielder Tiffany Krcelich was named Big Ten Player of the Week, Feb. 28 for her performance at the Bradley Invitational. Krcelich batted .769 with 10 hits in 13 at bats, while accounting for four RBI and six runs on the weekend. The left fielder posted a .786 on-base percentage, while tallying a .769 slugging percentage. She posted at least one hit in all four of Purdue's contests including two 3-for-3 outings and one 3-for-4 performance. Krcelich is the first Boilermaker to be named Player of the Week since Andrea Hillsey was honored on March 14, 2005.
Senior pitcher Diana LaRiva was named Big Ten Pitcher of the Week, Feb. 14 for her performance at the Florida Atlantic Invitational. LaRiva tallied three wins on the weekend, including one in relief, to bump her career win total to 43, which is good for 4th on the Purdue career list. The senior also moved into third place on the career shutouts list with 14. LaRiva posted a 0.38 ERA, striking out 13 batters in 18.1 innings, while allowing just one run and holding opposing batters to a .153 average.
With just half the season gone, the Boilermakers have rewritten the single-game record book, topping or tying three team and two individual marks. Purdue put up 18 hits against Western Illinois, Feb. 25, tying the record mark previously achieved on March 14, 1998 vs. Belmont and on April 14, 1999 against Ohio State. The Boilermakers drew a single-game record nine walks against Villanova, March 10, besting the previous record of eight, which came against IPFW on April 8, 2003. The team also swiped a single-game record nine bases against Villanova, topping the previous mark of seven, which was registered against Oregon on Feb. 18, 1995 and against Temple on March 5, 1999.
Junior outfielder DaQueta Johnson hit a single-game record tying two home runs against Villanova, tying her previous output, which came on Feb. 22, 2004 against Dayton, as well as that of seven other Boilermakers. Sophomore third baseman Ashley Hall stole a record-tying three bases against Villanova, March 10, and again vs. George Mason on March 18. The three steals tie a mark set by Jenny Schoen on April 5, 1994 vs. Valparaiso, and an effort that has been duplicated five times including Hall's two.
In A Season
The 2006 Boilermakers' attack on the record books applies not only to single game records, but also to those of the single season variety. With 40 games in the books and 21 yet to be played, both the team and individual players are inching towards the single-season top five lists in a number of categories.
Sophomore Ashley Hall has swiped 20 bases, tying the fifth-best single-season mark in school history. She ties four other players for fifth place with the 20 steals. Senior Diana LaRiva has pitched five shutouts so far in 2006, just one shy of the fourth-place mark in the category. Junior DaQueta Johnson has hit eight home runs, just one short of the fifth-place total of nine, tallied by Andrea Hillsey in 2005. Senior Tricia Lilley has registered three triples, one short of the fourth-place total of four, owned by seven other Boilermakers.
The Purdue team has recorded 19 hit by pitches, just one off the fifth-place total of 20, posted in 2000. The Boilermakers also have laid down 60 sacrifice hits, just four short of the fifth-place mark of 64 sacrifices recorded in 2001.
Taking Aim at the Record Books
Throughout the 2006 season, several Boilermakers will earn spots in the Purdue career record books. A few career records may even fall in the next few weeks.
Senior pitcher Diana LaRiva set the Purdue career strikeouts record with four against Jacksonville on March 9. She currently has 594, having surpassed Leighann Burke (2000-2003), who tallied 545 in her career. LaRiva also stands among the career top five in wins, winning percentage, ERA, shutouts and innings pitched.
Senior outfielder Staci Falzon is just two triples away from the school record in that category. Falzon has recorded 10 three-baggers, trailing record holder Katie Crabtree (1999-2002), who posted 12 in her career. Senior shortstop Tricia Lilley also has posted 10 career triples. Lilley also ranks among the career top five in home runs (5th with 16), runs (3rd with 131), RBI (4th with 109), sacrifice flies (3rd with 8), assists (3rd with 399), on-base percentage (3rd with .394) and slugging percentage (4th with .492).
Lilley trails junior DaQueta Johnson in the home run race, as the outfielder currently stands in third with 23 long balls, nine off the school record held by Crabtree and Heidi Foster (2000-2003). Johnson also ranks fifth on the slugging percentage list (.486). Junior catcher Erika Peterson is climbing the ranks in the putouts category. She is currently third with 933. Junior pitcher Brooke Baker ranks second in complete games (52), just one behind the leader, Sheryl Scheve (1996-1998), who posted 53 in her career. Baker entered the career top five in strikeouts this season, boosting her total to 363, good for fourth all-time. The junior leapfrogged Jenn Markert (1995-96) and Nicole Crouse (1999-2002), who tallied 304 and 310 respectively in their Boilermaker careers. She also ranks fourth in career innings pitched with 543 just behind LaRiva.
On the Road Again
As is customary for teams in the northern United States, Purdue spent 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 Boca Raton, Fla. The cross-country trek also included stops in: Las Vegas, Nev., Peoria, Ill., Fullerton, Calif., and Tampa, Fla. All total the Purdue players will log nearly 13,000 miles before the conference season begins in April. During that time, the team will play teams from 16 different states and 17 different conferences.