TERRE HAUTE, Ind.—Following an offseason filled with commitment, desire and change, the 2013 edition of the Indiana State softball team is set to hit the field for the first time this weekend under second year head coach Shane Bouman at the Cyclone Invitational in Ames, Iowa. The Sycamores enter the opening weekend with six starters returning from last year’s squad and eight returning letter winners; they are joined by 10 new faces. Despite returning eight players from last year’s team, the Sycamores are a young team with 12 of the 18 players on the roster being in their first or second year of collegiate softball. Indiana State kicks off the 2013 season at 10 a.m. Friday against the Mastodons of IPFW. The Sycamores will also face off against Northern Colorado twice as well as North Dakota and host Iowa State as part of a five game opening weekend. All five games will be played inside the Bergstrom Football Complex on the campus of Iowa State University. Live stats for all games along with full box scores and recaps will be available online at GoSycamores.com and a live audio stream will be available free of charge for the game against Iowa State at GoSycamores.com.
Scouting The Mastodons
The Sycamores and Mastodons have previously met nine times with the Sycamores holding a 6-3 all-time series advantage. The two teams last met during the 2001 season when the Sycamores defeated the Mastodons, 1-0 in Fort Wayne. The first ever meeting between the two teams came during the 2001 season when the Sycamores won both games of a double header 5-2, 1-0 in Terre Haute.
IPFW returns its top four offensive players from a year ago, all four hit over .300 on the season for the Mastodons. Now sophomore Larissa Franklin led the way at .364, junior Alex Bousquet (.361), junior Brittany Kachur (.347), junior Ashleigh Bousquet (.344). On the mound, the Mastodons top returner is sophomore Miranda Kramer who finished 2012 with a 1.87 ERA over her 131.0 innings pitched.
Scouting The Bears
This will be the first ever meeting between Indiana State and Northern Colorado when they play two games against each other in the Cyclone Invitational. The Bears return their top two hitters from last season’s team that finished 25-28 overall. Northern Colorado is led by now senior Lindsey Smith who led the team with a .382 average last season and sophomore Melissa Marcovecchio with a .374 average. On the mound, the Bears return all four pitchers from last year’s squad.
Scouting Fighting Sioux
The Fighting Sioux are coming off a 2012 season in which they finished 18-29 overall. UND returns their top five hitters from last year’s squad, four who batted over .300, led by now senior Kenna Olsen who finished 2012 with a .403 average. On the mound, UND returns all four pitchers who saw significant action in 2012, led by now senior Michelle Frank who finished the season with a 4.65 ERA over her 139.1 innings pitched.
Scouting The Cyclones
This will be the fifth all-time meeting between the Sycamores and Cyclones with the Cyclones holding a 3-1 series advantage. The two teams first met during the 1988 season when the Sycamores defeated the Cyclones 6-5 in the Spring Cyclone Classic. The last meeting between the two teams came during the 2004 season when the Sycamores fell 4-3 to the Cyclones in eight innings.
The Cyclones finished 2012 with an overall record of 14-39 and 2-22 in Big 12 play. Returning for the Cyclones this season is senior infielder Erica Miller who was the lone Cyclone player to record a batting average over .300 at .364. Senior pitcher Tori Torrescano who finished with an 8-27 record and 6.11 ERA over her 173.0 innings pitched.
Sycamores vs. Current Big 12
The Sycamores have played 18 previous games against the current Big 12 membership, recording a 3-15 overall record. The Sycamores last win against a Big 12 opponent came during the 2008 season when Indiana State defeated Oklahoma State 5-2. ISU’s other two wins over Big 12 foes came during the 1988 season when they defeated Kansas by a score of 1-0 and Iowa State 6-5.
Trying To Break The Trend
When the Indiana State softball takes the field at Iowa State, they will be looking to break an opening weekend trend of starting 1-3. The Sycamores have opened the season 1-3 the past three seasons and six times in the last nine seasons. The Sycamores will also be looking to get a win in the season opener for the first time since 2009 when they defeated Creighton 4-3. Overall, the Sycamores have recorded a 15-20 record in season openers in the program’s 35 year history.
Bring ‘Em On
The Indiana State softball team will have an opportunity to test themselves throughout the early part of the 2013 season as they will take on a number of teams being nationally recognized. Going into the first weekend of the season, they are set to play the #9 team in the country in the USA Today/NFCA poll in Georgia as well as Tulsa and Illinois State who are receiving votes. The Sycamores will also play Auburn who is ranked #40 in the College Sports Madness Pre Season Top 44.
Returners Are Key
While they lost four letter winners and three starters to graduation, the Indiana State fielding alignment features much of the same as last year. The Sycamores return junior Shelby Wilson and sophomores Megan Stone and Ashley Dickerson to hold down the infield with newcomer Morgan Allee to fill the final sport. The Sycamores also return three key outfielders who spent significant time in the position during the 2012 campaign in: seniors Mackenzie Connelly and Halee Myers as well as sophomore Megan Bunting. Sophomore pitcher Ashli Scott will return to help fill the void left by Lindsey Beisser due to graduation and freshman Meredith Henriksen will look to help fill the spot left open be the graduation of Olivia Andres behind the plate.
Moving On Up
Despite a disappointing end to the 2012 regular season, the Sycamores found themselves in the ISU record book with their ability to steal bases. As a team, the Sycamores recorded the sixth highest total on the season stolen bases list with 53, just one away from fifth place.
Sophomore Megan Stone put herself in the ISU record book during her freshman campaign with her speed on the base pads. Stone finished her freshman season in a tie for seventh place on the single season list with 15, just one away from a tie for sixth place.
New Faces, New Team
While eight players return from the 2012 roster, the 2013 addition of the Indiana State softball team will feature 10 new faces. Junior Morgan Allee and sophomore Stephanie Fougerousse join freshmen Alexa Cavin, Meredith Henriksen, Halle Humphrey, Sarah Lawrence, Abbie Malchow, Kelsey Montgomery, Paige Schreiner and Mikayla Grindle.
Follow ISU Softball Online
Keep up to date with Sycamore softball all over the web this season. Full stats, box scores and recaps will continue to be available on www.GoSycamores.com. Every home game along with select road games can also be heard world wide free of charge online at GoSycamores.com and select home games will offer a free webcast. However, you can also follow the Sycamores on Facebook at Facebook.com/SycamoreSoftball with the Indiana State University Softball fan page or on Twitter at Twitter.com/IndStSoftball.
On To The Next One
Following this weekend’s tournament at Iowa State, the Sycamores will take a few days off before hitting the road again for a prime time game against the Tigers of Auburn at 7 p.m. on Feb. 14. Indiana State will then take part in the Tiger Invitational where they will face off against Kansas, Bryant, Chattanooga and Tennessee State in the weekend tournament.