Game Notes 12: Valparaiso, Northwestern

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Freshman pitcher Lilly Fecho will play in her home state this weekend as the Boilermakers take on Northwestern in a three-game Big Ten series.

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Freshman pitcher Lilly Fecho will play in her home state this weekend as the Boilermakers take on Northwestern in a three-game Big Ten series.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

April 23, 2013

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The Slate
Live Stats: purduesports.com
Video (Fri.-Sun.): purduesports.com/allaccess

Wednesday, April 24; 4 p.m. vs. Valparaiso
Boilermaker Softball Complex
Radio: purduesports.com
Promotions: Student Appreciation Day - First 50 students in attendance will receive a free water bottle.

Sharon J. Drysdale Field; Evanston, Ill.
Friday, April 26; 5 p.m. at Northwestern
Saturday, April 27; 2 p.m. at Northwestern
Sunday, April 28; 1 p.m. at Northwestern

The Book on the Boilermakers
At First Glance: Purdue (21-25, 8-9 Big Ten) 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 went 2-3 last week, splitting a Wednesday doubleheader with Penn State and winning just the finale of a three-game set with No. 21 Nebraska. Purdue dropped Game 1 to Penn State 7-4, but rebounded with a 12-3 win in Game 2. Nebraska took a Saturday doubleheader 5-3 (9 innings) and 12-2, but the Boilers capped the weekend with a 6-5 win.

Statistically Speaking: The Boilermakers are batting .274 on the season, led by a group of six battters hitting .250 or better. Outfielder Andie Varsho leads the way with a .432 average, 34 RBI, 29 runs and 26 stolen bases. Second baseman Ashley Burkhardt boasts a .325 average with a team-best 38 runs, 12 RBI and 17 steals. Outfielder Maia Monchek (.294), outfielder Lindsey Rains (.281), third baseman Tori Chiodo (.273) and catcher Danielle Fletcher (.261) round out the group. Rains has scored 31 runs, driven in 18 RBI and added 21 stolen bases, while Fletcher has driven in 29 RBI and tallied a team-leading six home runs. Seven different players have contributed to the Boilermakers' tally of 16 home runs. Purdue also is 105-for-129 in stolen base attempts.

Four pitchers are splitting time in the circle for Purdue. The group has combined for a 3.27 ERA and 187 strikeouts. Freshman Lilly Fecho (8-14) has struck out 91 batters in 139 innings, including nine complete games and two saves. Sophomore Lexy Moore (9-10) has struck out 73 batters in 124 innings, including a shutout, while sophomore Alex Whittemore (2-0) has struck out 18 in 28 innings. Senior Erika Petruzzi has issued five Ks in 16 innings of work, including a shutout.

Series Information
Valparaiso (Purdue leads the series 22-5-2): The Boilermakers won the first 14 games in the series with the Crusaders from 1994 to 2002. Valparaiso snapped the streak with a 2-0 win in West Lafayette on March 24, 2004. Purdue won the next two contests. The teams tied in Game 2 of a April 19, 2005, doubleheader, in a 4-4 nine-inning draw that ended early due to darkness. Valparaiso won four of the next six meetings from 2006 to 2009. The Boilermakers have taken four of the last five, save a 4-4 five-inning tie in Game 2 of the April 7, 2011, doubleheader. Purdue is 10-3 against Valpo in West Lafayette, 10-2-2 in Valparaiso and 2-0 in neutral contests.

Northwestern (Northwestern leads the series 24-15): Purdue won nine of the first 11 meetings with the Wildcats from 1995 to 1998. Northwestern won four straight to turn the tides. The Boilermakers countered with wins in four of the next six meetings from 1999-2001, but the Wildcats have dominated the series since winning 17 of the last 19. The last Purdue win was on April 18, 2009. The teams have not played since 2010. Purdue is 7-10 in West Lafayette, 8-11 in Evanston and 0-3 in neutral games.

What a Difference a Win Makes ...
If the Boilermakers top Valparaiso on Wednesday...

• They will push their current win streak to two games.

• They will edge closer to .500 on the season at 22-25.

• It would move the team's record to 101-27 all-time in non-conference home games.

• They will move to 214-196-2 all-time in the month of April, including an 8-4 mark on April 24.

Chatting About the Crusaders
At First Glance: The Valparaiso Crusaders (23-20) continue a nine-game season ending road trip in West Lafayette on Wednesday. The Crusaders return 12 letterwinners, including six starters, from the 2012 team which went 42-19, won the Horizon League and advanced to its first ever NCAA Touranment appearance. Valparaiso is coached by Jordan Stevens, who is in his third year with the team.

Last Time Out: Valparaiso has won three of it last four games, including a 2-1 record last weekend at Detroit. The Crusaders won Games 1 and 3 of the series 12-1 and 17-0, but fell 9-0 in Game 2.

Statistically Speaking: The Crusader offense is led by a group of seven players batting .250 or better, including four with .300 averages or better. Infielder Brittany Duncan (.352), third baseman Joylyn Ichiyama (.333), catcher Janelle Bouchard (.325) and outfielder Kaitlyn Ranieri (.317) make up the latter group. Bouchard has driven in a team-best 40 RBI and launched six home runs. Ichiyama has added 28 RBI, a team-best 28 runs and five homers, while Duncan has chipped in 20 RBI, 20 runs and four long balls. First baseman Jessie Marinec (.279), catcher Tara McShane (.267) and outfielder Tori Brown (.266) also aid the offense. Ranieri and Marinec each have added 24 runs, while McShane has tallied a team-leading 11 doubles. As a team, Valpo is batting .263 with 25 home runs and 11 stolen bases.

Freshman lefty Taylor Weissenhofer (12-9) leads the Crusader pitching staff with 155 strikeouts in 115 innings, including three shutouts and three saves. She boasts a 2.56 ERA and has held foes to just a .186 average. Freshman Sierra Pico (8-7) has added 43 Ks in 76 innings with a shutout, while senior Amanda Bolton (3-2) has issued 20 strikeouts in 56 innings with a shutout. Junior Ashlyn Michalak (0-2) has added 11 strikeouts in 30 innings. The staff boasts a 3.68 ERA and has allowed opponents to hit at a .263 clip.

News About Northwestern
At First Glance: The Northwestern Wildcats (25-16, 9-5 Big Ten) play a Wednesday doubleheader at Wisconsin before playing host to the Boilermakers this weekend. The Wildcats return 15 letterwinners, including 10 starters, from the 2012 team which went 29-29, finished fourth in the Big Ten and advanced to the NCAA Regionals. Northwestern is coached by Kate Drohan, who is in her 12th year with the team.

Last Time Out: The Wildcats are on a five-game win streak, including a 4-0 effort last week. Northwestern topped Northern Illinois 11-9 on Tuesday before sweeping a three-game series at Penn State (8-3, 17-14 (8), and 2-1).

Statistically Speaking: Pitcher/first baseman Amy Letourneau (.375) leads a group of six batters with averages of .300 or better. LeTourneau has driven in 29 RBI, scored 20 runs and added nine home runs. Second baseman Andrea DiPrima (.355), outfielder Mari Majam (.348), outfielder Kristin Scharkey (.338), third baseman Marisa Bast (.338) and shortstop Anna Edwards (.336) round out the group. Bast has driven in a team-leading 41 RBI and scored 40 runs, while launching 11 home runs. Edwards has added 36 RBI and seven home runs. Scharkey has scored 24 runs and swiped 12 bases, while Majam has scored 31 runs and stolen nine bases. As a team, Northwestern is batting .313 with 42 home runs and 36 stolen bases.

Letourneau (17-9) has done the bulk of the pitching for the Wildcats, striking out 231 batters in 166 innings, including 21 complete games and three shutouts with a 2.23 ERA. Senior Meghan Lamberth (8-4) has added 46 Ks in 73 innings and four shutouts. Freshman Kristen Wood (0-3) has struck out 31 batters in 20 innings, while junior Sammy Albanese has added six strikeouts in 11 innings.

In The National Statistics
In the NCAA softball statistical rankings, the Boilermakers boast a spot among the Top 50 as a team. Purdue has swiped 2.24 stolen bases per game, ranking fourth nationally.

Individually, junior outfielder Andie Varsho ranks 27th in batting average (.432) and 42nd in stolen bases per game (0.5). Junior outfielder Lindsey Rains ranks 55th in hit by pitch per game (0.2) and 60th in stolen bases per game (0.46). Freshman Lilly Fecho ranks 52nd in walks allowed per seven innings (1.6) and 55th in saves (2).